Guidelines for Submitting to Film School Shorts

In the spirit of expanding our commitment to diverse voices and viewpoints, and our belief in the power of independent film to educate, entertain and enlighten audiences, KQED has created Film School Shorts, an exciting showcase for the best short films from film school students across the country.

Our taste is eclectic: Film School Shorts seeks films that cover a broad range of topics, filmmaking styles and genres. Comedies, dramas, character studies, science fiction/fantasy, thrillers and sociopolitical films are all welcome. We look for well-executed films with compelling characters, pleasing and/or interesting aesthetics and well-crafted stories. Our YouTube channel will give you a sense of our expectations.

U.S Film School Students Only: Films must have been made by students at film schools in the United States. That said, the films do not have to be shot in the U.S. and foreign students at U.S. film schools are eligible, as are students at U.S. schools with campuses abroad. The filmmaker may have already graduated, as long as the film was made while s/he was a student.

Fiction, Documentary & Animation: We primarily focus on animated and live-action fiction, but we are open to reviewing documentary works for the future.

Independents Only: Filmmakers must have artistic, editorial and budgetary control of their projects and must own the copyright.

Completed Works: Submitted works must be completed films. Please note that filmmakers must be able to commit to broadcasting their films within 2 to 6 months of being accepted to the series.

Rights, Releases and Insurance: Filmmaker will be solely responsible to obtain, at filmmaker’s expense, all rights, clearances, and releases with respect to all creative elements, appearances and third party materials contained in the film before applying to Film School Shorts. In addition, all music, photos, and acquired footage must be licensed before applying. Proof of releases and licenses may be required.

Length: Films we are seeking are generally in the 1 to 15 minute range, but we will consider films as long as 25 minutes. Filmmakers must be willing to have their films edited for time constraints and for public television content standards.

License Fee: A license fee will be negotiated prior to contract.

Format: Our general standard for acceptance is broadcast quality, HD 1920×1080. (Selected films must be submitted on HDCam tape or QuickTime file via FTP or hard drive. Avid DNxHD or Apple ProRes codecs preferred.)

Funding: All projects must comply with PBS’ funding and underwriting guidelines, which can be found at

Fees/Rights: Filmmakers are required to grant KQED U.S. public television broadcast and streaming rights. All third-party material included in the films (archival footage, newspaper or magazine headlines/articles, music, photographs, etc.) must be cleared for these same rights. Additional terms and details will be discussed upon acceptance and contract.


Deadline: Submissions for Season 6 are due by March 1, 2018. Early submissions are preferred.

Fee: None.

Submit Electronically: Via Film Freeway.

Submit via Mail — Please note that digital submissions are preferred.

If submitting by mail, please provide the following materials:

Application Form: All submissions must include a completed copy of the application form. Please do not leave any questions blank.

Standard Release Letter: All submissions must include a signed release letter.

Screening Copy: A link to an online screener must be provided or a DVD must be submitted instead.

Supplementary Materials: Please include a one-page synopsis, a bio or resume and any relevant reviews or press coverage.

Mailing Address:
Film School Shorts
2601 Mariposa Street
San Francisco, CA 94110


QUESTIONS? Email Film School Shorts at:

Tweets by @FilmSchoolShort


Film School Shorts is made possible by a grant from Maurice Kanbar, celebrating the vitality and power of the moving image, and by the members of KQED.

Film School Shorts is a production of KQED.



Series Producer
Lisa Landi

Associate Producer
Julia Shackelford

Peter Borg

Zaldy Serrano
Christina Zee White

Original Music
Written and Produced by

John Andrieni

Kevin Cooke
Marie K Lee

Social Media Specialist
Aldo Mora-Blanco

Sarah Hoffner

On Air Promotion
Bridget Louie

William Lowery
Abby Staeble

Director of TV Production
Sandy Schonning

Executive Producer
Scott Dwyer