HBO® Short Film Award

Submissions Now Closed

The HBO® Short Film Award is regarded as one of the most prestigious short film showcases in the world. Five filmmakers are selected as finalists, one grand prize winner will be presented with the HBO Short Film Award.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. 20 minutes maximum runtime inclusive of credits.
  2. Entrants must be 18 years old or older.
  3. Films must have been directed and/or written by a person of African descent.
  4. Showcase is open to U.S. and international entries.
  5. Films must be in the English language or contain English-language subtitles.
  6. Films must have completed post-production on or after January 1, 2022.
  7. Films must be submitted by its Director, or an individual or company authorized by the Director and writer (if applicable) to submit the film.
  8. Films must not have been previously submitted to the HBO Short Film Award Showcase under its current or any former title, or in any form that is, substantially similar to or derivative of the current film.
  9. Films must not have any current or any previous broadcast, cable, or online exhibition.
  10. Films must not have been previously exhibited on, or licensed for broadcast, cable, or online exhibition prior to the scheduled ABFF, June 14-18, 2023.
  11. Entrant shall not permit their film to be exhibited or enter into a license or make any agreement to distribute their film for broadcast, cable, or online exhibition.
  12. Employees of ABFF Ventures, HBO and any other WarnerMedia entity (including permanent and temporary employees), their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household are not eligible to participate.
  13. Filmmakers working on any upcoming or existing projects within the WarnerMedia entity are not eligible.
  14. Filmmakers selected as a finalist in a previous ABFF HBO Short Film competition are not eligible.
  15. Each entry must include a signed competition release form with acknowledgement of WarnerMedia Privacy Policy by no later than the deadline of February 28, 2023, at 11:59 PM PST.

Submission Materials:

Each submission entails the following:

Submit your film and information online via Your entry must include the following:

  1. Film synopsis
  2. Photo still from the film
  3. Director & Writer bio
  4. Director & Writer headshot
  5. A PDF of your completed Submission Form. Please download and fill out all fields.
  6. A PDF of your executed HBO Short Film Award Showcase Release downloadable from Please download, sign, and scan a digital copy to be included with your submission.

Payment of the submission fee online is required at the time of submission.

Please note: Applicants will be notified of the festival’s decision by May 1, 2023.

If Your Film is Selected:

  1. You agree that on or before August 31, 2023, HBO shall have the exclusive option to license the exclusive rights to exhibit the film by any and all means or media, and you acknowledge that you will negotiate in good faith exclusively with HBO during such period.
  2. If your film is selected as a semi-finalist or finalist, you will be required to provide HBO one (1) high resolution downloadable digital copy of your film to be delivered promptly following notification of your selection, but no later than May 15, 2023.
  3. Immediately after notification of your selection, you must deliver to ABFF and HBO one (1) photo still from the film, one (1) photo still of the qualifying filmmaker(s) (jpeg. format) and any additional requested materials (press, etc.).
  4. HBO shall have the option at its sole discretion to provide state-of-the-art finishing resources to enhance the color and sound of your film, if selected. If such resources are available, you are required to either opt-in or opt-out of this resource upon selection. NOTE – should you opt out, the viewing experience of your film during the Festival could be jeopardized.
  5. HBO will reach out to you directly to provide round-trip air and hotel accommodations and festival credentials for you (if there is more than one filmmaker, one (1) must be selected to represent the film) and one (1) guest.