Submissions Guidelines for the 2019 Festival




  • All films must have a total running time of 20 minutes or less.

  • All films must either be in English, or submitted with English subtitles. Any non-English language films with dialogue which have been submitted without English subtitles will not be considered.

  • All films must have completed production no earlier than April 2017. Resubmissions are not permitted. You may, however, enter an additional film for consideration. We will not accept more than two films from one entrant per year.

  • All entrants must be at least 18 years of age.

  • In order for a film to be eligible for a Watersprite technical award, the person responsible for that particular technical aspect of the film must have been a student at the time of the film’s production, with the exception of the Performance category, for which the actor must be an amateur in a student-directed film. 'Student' is taken to mean those in, or having spent no more than a year as a graduate from, education. Proof of enrolment will be required at the submissions stage. Please see the Awards section below. Please note that if your film is nominated it is expected that a member of your team attend the Awards Ceremony on 9 March 2019.  Travel bursaries will be offered to all nominees from around the world. We will also do our best to assist with visas and find free or affordable accommodation for all nominees, although we are not under any obligation to do so. The chance to meet a host of international filmmakers, from newcomers to Oscar-winning professionals is, we believe, the best way to reward filmmakers for their work and talents.

It is essential that you read through the following guidelines and recommendations carefully before submitting your film to Watersprite. If you still have any questions once you have read the information on this page, please do not hesitate to contact us.




  • Submissions open on 9 July 2018 and will remain open until 17 September 2018, or until we reach our submissions limit.

  • If our submissions limit is reached before 17 September, we reserve the right to close the submission platform. We therefore recommend submitting your film as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

  • If the cap is not met sooner, submissions will close at 23:59 GMT on 17 September 2018.

  • The filmmakers themselves must submit their films, and not agents acting on their behalf. This is to avoid large numbers of bulk entries which can affect the entry distribution and judging process.


Online submissions


  • Submissions should be made by via online upload on FilmFreeway. If this is a problem for you, please contact us.

  • Films should be uploaded onto Watersprite’s FilmFreeway page with all the required information.

  • All entrants must specify the year in which their film was made.

  • Entrants will be asked to upload a copy of the film’s poster onto the project page on FilmFreeway, if available. This will be used by the festival for marketing purposes.

  • For a film to be eligible for a technical award, the director, writer and producer must upload some form of photographic proof that they were a student at the time of the film’s production. Student ID, a copy of a student finance bill or a letter from the university/institution are all valid forms of proof.

  • Please ensure you have read the section 'Recommended Video Settings’ further down this page and that your film is submitted in the correct format. Any films received that do not correspond to the required format will not be considered.

  • Your video file may not exceed 10GB.

  • NB: You are not required to provide a screening quality copy of your film at this stage, as films will initially be judged online. You are, of course, welcome to submit films at the maximum of 10GB.




  • All films must be entered for a genre award. Every genre will automatically be considered for the Watersprite Film of the Year and the Watersprite Impact Award

  • On the festival’s FilmFreeway page, entrants must enter their film into a genre category, choosing from one of the following: 

    • Animation

    • Documentary

    • Fiction

  • Technical aspects of the film worked on by students will automatically be considered for an award during the judging process.  

  • Watersprite awards the following technical categories:  

    • Directing

    • Cinematography

    • Performance

    • Editing

    • Production Design

    • Screenplay

    • Original Film Music

    • Sound Design

  • Please note, however, that some genre films cannot be considered for certain technical awards: Documentaries cannot enter the Performance or Screenplay categories; Animations cannot enter the Performance category.

  • If a film’s screenplay was worked on by a student, you will be asked to upload a copy of the film’s screenplay in English when you upload your film for judging purposes.  If you neither have a copy of your screenplay in English nor want your film to be considered for this category, you will have the opportunity to opt out of doing so.

  • For a film to be eligible for the Original Film Music category, the film’s entire score must be a piece of original work. For a film to be considered for this category it must be submitted both in the appropriate genre category and the Original Film Music category on FilmFreeway.

  • The Watersprite Impact Award category is awarded to a film with a clear humanitarian subject matter, which can range from the local to the global and from the social to the environmental. The film should critically engage audiences, raise awareness about an issue and allow viewers to reflect on the importance and social impact of the topic that is presented, serving either as a call for change or a way of highlighting the details of a current problem.This prize consists of sponsorship from IEFTA for the winning filmmaker to partake in IEFTA’s Mentorship Programme and the Producers’ Workshop of the Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival.


Recommended video settings


Below are the recommended settings for online upload. By accepting Watersprite's terms and conditions on the Online Submissions form, entrants agree to provide a screening-quality DVD if they are nominated.




  • Codec: H.264 A codec is the format in which your video will be encoded. Different codecs have different features and varying quality. For best results, we recommend using H.264 (sometimes referred to as MP4)

  • Frame Rate: 24, 25 or 30 FPS If you know at which frame rate you shot, it is best to encode at that same frame rate. If you are uncertain at which frame rate you shot, please set to either "Current" or 25 FPS. If there is an option for keyframes, use the same value as you used for the frame rate.

  • Data Rate: 2000 Kbps (SD), 10,000-20,000 Kbps Kbps (HD )This setting controls both the visual quality of the video and the file size. In most video editors, this is done in terms of kilobits per second (Kbps). Use 2000 Kbps for standard definition or 5000 Kbps for high definition.

  • Resolution: 720x576 (SD), 1280x720 (HD), 1920x1080 (HD)720x576 for 4:3 SD video, and 1280x720 or 1920x1080 for HDIf you have the option to control the pixel aspect ratio (not the display aspect ratio) make sure it is set to "1:1" or "1.00", sometimes referred to as "square pixels".


Field Order


If you are shooting on an older camera, enable this option.

Otherwise, you may get bizarre horizontal lines appearing in your video. With newer camera models this will not matter, so this option can be left unchecked. (Use progressive).




Codec: AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)

Data Rate: 256 Kbps

Sample rate: 44.1 kHz

Recommended free converters: MPEG Streamclip (Mac & PC), Handbrake (Mac & PC)