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253 Short Film Competition

COMPETITION DATES: April 23–26, 2020

The 253 Short Film Competition welcomes emerging and established filmmakers of all ages to compete and create short films over a 72 hour period (April 23–April 26) that will be celebrated with hundreds of people at a viewing party on May 8, 2020. Stay tuned for more event details.

Registration opens March 1, 2020. Join our email list if you would like to hear about the next competition.     

How it works: 

  • Register your team (or sign up as a solo filmmaker competitor) at The Grand's box office before spaces run out (only 31 teams can participate). 
  • All teams meet at The Grand to receive the year's four required criteria and the green light to begin filming.
    • Teams have 72 hours to write, shoot, and edit a short film.
    • Films must be no more than two-hundred and fifty-three seconds long (a nod to our area code).
    • Films must incorporate all four required elements.
  • Finalized projects are due at The Grand Cinema box office on the following Sunday night.
  • Judges review all films to determine multiple awards.
  • All submitted films are screened at the 253 Short Film Party on May 8, 2020.
  • Prizes are awarded for Jury and Audience favorites.


Team registration fee: $50 

What you get: 

  • Four tickets to the screening party 
  • Recognition at the screening party
  • Visibility for your creation before an audience of several hundred people
  • The opportunity to compete for the following additional recognition and prizes: 
    • Jury Award & $500 cash prize
    • Audience Choice Award & $500 cash prize
    • "Best Use" of one of the (4) required elements & $100 gift card to a local restaurant 
    • Best Emerging Filmmaker to a team/filmmaker participating for the first time
  • The opportunity for your challenge team to enter one film for free submission to the 2020 Tacoma Film Festival
  • Opportunities to win additional prizes when you share snippets of your filming progress on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #253Seconds  
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