International Short Film Competition

The International Short Film Competition annually encourages and showcases the creation of short films exploring themes of justice, human rights, and the law by independent, emerging filmmakers from around the world. Finalist films are screened at the FOLCS Annual Awards Night.

About the ISFC

The FOLCS International Short Film Competition (ISFC) was created in 2011 to encourage the creation of short films exploring themes of law and justice. Expanding in reach each year, independent and aspiring filmmakers from around the globe are invited to submit their original shorts. Entrants have the chance to have their work screened before a New York audience and their shorts viewed by distinguished professionals from the legal and entertainment fields. Each year, ISFC features renowned filmmakers, actors, writers, journalists, public intellectuals, and members of the legal profession. ISFC also attracts overflowing and diverse crowds of film enthusiasts, which provides a great platform for showcasing your winning work!

The 10th FOLCS Annual Awards Night is produced in partnership with the New York Film Academy (NYFA).

Annual Awards Night

The FOLCS Awards Night plays host to emerging filmmakers, screening a diverse set of legal, social justice, and human rights-themed shorts from around the world. This FREE event is the closing night of the competition and includes a red carpet and an awards presentation. Additionally, audience members can vote on which short will receive the Audience Favorite Award. In keeping with the FOLCS Film Series tradition, the finalist filmmakers participated in a post-screening discussion about their films at this red-carpet event.

FOLCS Annual Awards Night is produced in partnership with the

New York Film Academy

ISFC 2024

11th Annual Awards Night

The 11th Annual Awards Night of the FOLCS International Short Film Competition, held on April 25, 2024, at the New York Film Academy, was a spectacular success. The event celebrated a diverse array of short films that powerfully addressed social justice, human rights, and the influence of law through cinema.

The evening started with a lively reception featuring live music and refreshments, followed by finalist film screenings that highlighted the festival’s global scope. A discussion with the filmmakers provided insights into their creative processes and the motivations behind their impactful works.

The awards ceremony was the evening’s highlight, recognizing exceptional contributions to filmmaking. This year also saw the introduction of the Bob Hollweg Memorial Award, honoring the legacy of the late board member’s dedication to justice through film.

We thank all participants for making this event a milestone in international short film and look forward to future celebrations of film, justice, and society. For more details, please visit our here.

FOLCS believes that film is a powerful way to address issues of injustice and human rights. Movies and documentaries, beyond being entertaining, can be enlightening; they can be a catalyst for conversation and a call for social change. The International Short Film Competition seeks to give a platform to these emerging voices.

Forum on Life, Culture and Society


Best Short, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, Best Screenplay, Best Female Filmmaker, Best Young Filmmaker (18 years and younger), and Audience Favorite Awards are announced each year after a series of rigorous evaluations by jury members. Award Winners will receive a certificate and FOLCS’ unique glass-made trophy, FOLCS-Y.

Past Jury

William Fichtner, Actor (Contact with Jodie Foster; The Perfect Storm with George Clooney; Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down); Margarita Levieva, Actress (The Deuce, In From The Cold, Diary Of A Teenage Girl, Sleeping With Other People); Isaiah Sheffer, co-founder of Symphony Space; Annette Insdorf, film historian and director of undergraduate film studies at Columbia University; Daniel Anker, Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker; Miguel Cruz, Director, producer, and writer (Emmy nominated Disney show Bunk’d, the #1 Spanish Sitcom Aida); Ali Fakhrmousavi, Award-winning filmmaker, writer, and producer; Federico Torrado, Award-winning director and producer; Neo Li, Award-winning screenwriter and director; Herschel Faber, Chair of Filmmaking Department, New York Film Academy (South Beach Campus); Crickett Rumely, Director, Film Festival Department, New York Film Academy (LA Campus); Henry Bean, director/screenwriter; Piero Basso, Chair of Cinematography, NYFA; Randall Dottin, Chair of Screenwriting Department, NYFA; Andrea Swift, Chair of Documentary Filmmaking, NYFA; Jonathan Whittaker, Chair of Short-Term Intensive Programs, NYFA; Ronald Guttman, film and TV actor; Nikzad Nodjoumi, art critic and fine art painter; Mark Ethan, actor and film professor; Sandy Gotham Meehan, Producer/Director/Writer; Larry Gross, producer/screenwriter; Dahlia Lithwick, Slate senior editor, and legal correspondent; Veleka Gray, director/actress/Emmy judge; Sara Nodjoumi, producer/screenwriter.

Explore FOLCS Past Competitions

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"Independent short films give us perspective, ground us, take us outside of the realm of our day-to-day, connect us with people we otherwise would not encounter and inevitably inspire us to reflect on our own values and the values of the society within which we live."

Shervin Abachi - Director of the FOLCS International Short Film Competition

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