• Only $8 to submit, no late fees.

  • Alumni pay $3 - request a promo code if you've screened previously at IndieWorks!

  • Why we've started charging. (As of Year 3)

Guidelines & General Info

*Films do not have to have been shot in New York, but MUST be by current New York State based filmmakers who can attend the event. If someone is Tristate area based and works frequently in NY or is looking to work with NY collaborators, then submissions is allowed if someone on the team is currently NY based.

*Films may not exceed 20 minutes in length, though exceptions can be made in extraordinary circumstances. (In 5 years, the longest film we have ever screened was 23 minutes. That was once; after that was 20 minutes. We truly mean extraordinary when we say it.) 

*Filmmakers whose work is accepted must have someone integral to the film's production attend the event and participate in the Q&A.

*Films completed prior to 2009 are not eligible.

*All films must be in English or have English subtitles.

*Please note that submission does not guarantee acceptance. If your film is not accepted, it unfortunately does not mean just for the upcoming month. It is a hard no. Alternatively, if you have not heard back regarding acceptance for over a month, it could be that we are holding your film for a later month. In Year 6, we accepted approximately 29% of eligible submissions.

*We typically only screen narrative films, though occasionally accept documentaries that have a New York City resonance. Music Videos and Experimental work are welcome as long as there's a clear story being told. Our rule about music videos is that the visuals must be able to function as a story without the music. 

*We're a series devoted to integrity and transparency. We never screen our own work. We do not screen work we helped produce in competition. (Work made by our sponsors can screen, but not in competition, and must still be submitted and go through the screening/programming process as all submissions.) We do not invite films ever. (We did in our first year when trying to get off the ground. Since Year 2, we exclusively program through submissions.) We do not offer any individual filmmakers waivers. We have offered waivers as a reward for support of our crowdfunding campaigns or to group initiatives supporting the local film community; but we do not provide waivers to any individual filmmakers that reach out. We keep our fees low for this reason. Every film goes through the same screening process and no one (not even a friend or past collaborator) is guaranteed acceptance, as we aim to create a fair and equal environment with programming we and our audience can be proud of each month regardless of names and connections. 

*We don't require any kind of premiere status, nor do we restrict films that are already online.

*As of Year 7, we no longer do a Web Series Special in September. We’ve found it harder to program over the last couple years, as filmmakers have largely stopped submitting webisodes and seem to be making more of actual pilots that exceed our runtime limit. If you have a webisode that could work as a standalone film, feel free to submit it as a short (as long as it meets all other requirements).


Screening Process and Award Selection

We judge films for acceptance by rating them from 1-10 in terms of 8 categories.

The scored categories are: Story, Dialogue/Writing, Direction, Acting,  Cinematography, Sound, Editing, and Production Value (with budget constraints considered- more in terms of art direction and those little touches that show pre-production efforts). That scoring system determines whether or not a film gets put in a definite yes, maybe, or definite no list. We try to notify the filmmakers asap, as we know what it's like to wait months and months just to hear disappointing news. The maybe's get held and discussed to see how they fit in with the thematic patterns we're finding for each month as we program the definite yes films. Originality, inclusion and representation play a large role in these discussions, as we are a series devoted to highlighting story and mission over flashy names and budgets. All accepted filmmakers get featured in our Insider SeriesWe want to help YOU reach an audience! Each month, one film wins the Silver Whiskers Award, our version of the 'Best of Fest' award, and another wins the Audience Choice Award. The Silver Whiskers winner is selected by CongestedCat Productions team members through a combination of our scoring system and extensively nuanced discussion.

Audience Choice is voted upon by the audience in attendance at each series. If the planned Silver Whiskers winner also wins Audience Choice, the Audience Choice award will be given to the film that had the second highest audience votes. Each Silver Whiskers winner will go on to screen at our Best of Fest annual screening and be eligible for the Golden Whiskers Award & other Category Awards, which come along with monetary prizes.