Short Films: Now in its 21st year, the HBO® Short Film Competition is regarded as one of the most prestigious short film showcases in the country. Five filmmakers are selected as finalists and receive a trip to the American Black Film Festival in Miami Beach, FL (including airfare and hotel accommodations) to screen their film. One of the five films will be selected at the festival to receive the HBO® Short Film Award and $30,000 total cash prizes.

Submissions Criteria:

  • 20 minutes maximum run time inclusive of credits.
  • Films must have been directed and/or written by a person of African descent
  • Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Competition is open to U.S. and international entries.
  • Films must be in the English language or contain English-language subtitles.
  • Films must have commenced principal photography on or after January 1, 2017.
  • Films must not have been previously submitted to the HBO Short Film Competition under its current or any former title, or in any form that is, in HBO’s opinion, substantially similar to, or derivative of, the current film.
  • Films must not have had any previous exhibition on broadcast or cable (by means of any method or medium) or online.
  • Films submitted to the HBO Short Film Competition for the 2018 American Black Film Festival must not have been previously exhibited on, or licensed for exhibition on, any form of television (i.e., free TV, basic or pay cable, pay-per-view and/or subscription programming services) and, prior to the scheduled ABFF screening date within June 13-17, 2018.
  • FILMMAKER/OWNER/ENTRANT shall not permit the film to be exhibited, or enter into a license or make any agreement to exhibit the film, on any form of television. These conditions apply to exhibitions or licenses under the film’s current title or any other title, or in any form that is, in HBO’s sole opinion, substantially similar to, or derivative of, the current film.
  • Employees of Home Box Office, Inc. (“HBO”) and any other Time Warner entity (including all permanent and temporary employees) and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household are not eligible to participate in the HBO Short Film Competition.
  • Each entry must be submitted via, where you must upload your film and completed submission form, including signed competition release, by no later than the deadline of February 15, 2018.

Award Eligibility:

  • HBO Short Film Award ($30,000 total cash prizes)

Submission deadlines and fees:


No later than


Early Submissions:

December 31, 2017


Regular Submissions:

February 15, 2018


Withoutabox logos are trademarks of Withoutabox, a DBA of Inc. or its affiliates.