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film categories


This category showcases First Nation's filmmakers, stories and their teams or films with clear, strong First Nation's themes. 

We welcome First Nations filmmakers from around the world to share their stories. We're seeking stories made by and/or about indigenous peoples and their culture(s), as well as films that explore First Nation themes and issues.



This one is for the next gen - films made by filmmakers and schools students who are under 18 years of age. Short, sharp, visual storytelling and bold personal visions that are not longer than 10 minutes.


The National category is for films from Australia, in any genre that runs under 20 minutes and was produced in the last 18 months. Our judges look for the most interesting, touching or exciting films. We encourage high-quality films with clever screenplay, tight editing and shorter running times (5 to 10 minute films are great!)


Drawing inspiration from avant-garde and counter-cultural cinema traditions, this category invites entries that disrupts mainstream film-making approaches, themes and conventional viewing experiences.

Entries might incorporate narrative experimentation, poetic approaches, the use of techniques such as shifting focus and rapid editing that are designed to abstract images, or perhaps employ sound in unusual ways. Or perhaps use of mediums such as analogue film, perhaps scratched or over-painted, intersect with other art forms or rely on new techniques in animation. Surprise and challenge us!

Entries must be a maximum of 8 minutes.


Smith's Alternative is the best, funky venue in the heart of Canberra. They are also a long term sponsor and event partner of CSFF. Last year Smith's came to us with an idea - they are looking for films of all genres/styles, that are at least 50% shot within the boundaries of Smith’s licensed area and are between 30-seconds and 3-minutes.

Be it a comedy, documentary, music videos or experimental, are all film styles are welcome. All entries will be screened at Smith's Alternative during CSFF** And to add to the competition, the Top 5 Films will receive equal prizes of $200ea !!

Please note - Ideal shooting at Smith's is between 12-5pm, by appointment. Shooting at other times by negotiation, please get in touch with  the team at Smith's for further information.

**exemption - grounds of obscenity, slander, discriminatory, degrading to human spirit.


The Canberra category celebrates local filmmaking - any film produced, directed or with string connection to the ACT that runs under 20 minutes is welcome.


We look for the best storytelling and production quality in films, made in the past 18 months.


Open to any documentary, produced anywhere in the world, running under 20 minutes and produced within the past 18 months. An independent judging panel, selects the most intriguing and well produced stories. We encourage new and innovative approaches to this important genre of film making.


2-minute films can be experimental, surprising, quick, sharp and quirky. We encourage first-time film makers as well as the more experienced to tell a story in 2 minutes or less. We look for innovation, good story telling, the ability to move an audience and clever use of non-traditional film making technology such as phones and tablets.


Music Videos enhance the song's musical qualities by the cinematic translation of the music into visuals. This is such an innovative and creative genre bringing together artists from different fields.  Wonderful to see music videos from a range of countries and cultures too.


We look for music videos made for original songs, produced in the last 18 months.


Animation is another really exciting and innovative genre. We love all forms of animation, stop motion, 3D, puppets, hand drawn. It is a genre where the imagination can run wild and free.

We admire strong technical work, innovative use of the animation technique, use of sound and, of course, a strong story to move an audience makes for a great animation. Animated shorts should be less than 10 minutes in length. We look for short, sharp, high-quality work.


The International category is for filmmakers coming from outside Australia, that run under 20 minutes, and have been produced in the last 18 months. Films with the high production quality, great storytelling and an interesting insight into life and culture from overseas.


The Spiritus Award is an initiative of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture - judges are looking for films that encompass themes of: wisdom for the common good, human & planetary flourishing, universal impact and inventive expression.

Wisdom for the Common Good - stories which lend expression to a human viewpoint, raise consciousness of the transcendent dimensions of life and/or portray spiritual values

Human & Planetary Flourishing - depicting human values that contribute to human well-being concerning - respect, solidarity with all peoples, support for the ideals of liberation & peace and preservation of the environment

To find o
ut more about the Spiritus Film Prize < Click here

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