Now accepting Submissions for our 2022 festival!

Click here for our 2021 Program

3 Days. Dozens of Films. 1,000s of Film Lovers.

The Rochester International Film Festival is one of the longest running short film festivals in the world! Voted “Best Local Film Festival,” by readers of CITY newspaper time and again, our fest is produced and presented by Movies On a Shoestring, Inc.


Filmmakers appreciate the thoughtful feedback, audience reception and warm welcome we offer them!

Our 100% volunteer-run, 501(c)(3) nonprofit is funded by grants, sponsorship, program advertising and generous donations from attendees.

See short films of ALL genres from filmmakers worldwide!

Are you a fan of narrative film? Documentaries? Animation? Foreign language? Suspense? Whatever it is you love most about short film, we’ve got it!
Each Spring 1,000s of film lovers join us at George Eastman Museum’s famed Dryden Theatre in Upstate NY.
That includes filmmakers from around the globe, who submit a wide variety of films of all genres of 30 minutes or less.

Our selection process begins with a Call for Submissions.

Our Call for Submissions is open to filmmakers of all ages and at all career levels. Every single submission is then reviewed by a dedicated team of screening committee members, who move the best into Final Judging.

The committee also decides which films, among those which don’t proceed to Final Judging, have earned a Certificate of Merit for excellence in cinematography, storytelling, etc. Each filmmaker receives insightful feedback in the form of a critique letter.

Films destined for Final Judging are viewed again, in the late Winter months, when we determine which will be shown at our festival before near-capacity crowds. Filmmakers who attend thank us for our efforts and for the warm reception they receive while in Upstate New York.
Each film screened at the fest is awarded our distinctive Shoestring Trophy. We also provide winners of Certificates of Merit, Honorable Mentions and Shoestring Trophies with badges they’re able to proudly display on social media, in the form of jpg or png images.

MOAS was founded by film enthusiasts who gave independent filmmakers a venue for their cinematic creations. The name is a double entendre, as amateur filmmakers of the time often shot on 8mm stock with a narrowness that dubbed it the “shoestring gauge.”

Entrants continue to astound us, creating magic while sometimes operating on shoestring budgets themselves!

Rochester Int’l. Film Festival Milestone Moments:

  • 1959 – 1st public exhibition held at Rochester Public Library
  • 1960 – A film from Toronto makes the cut, taking us international
  • 1960 – We move to The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House
  • 1964 – Films are received from across the U.S. & 5 foreign countries
  • 1965 – Our name changes to the Rochester Int’l. Movie Film Festival
  • 1965 – Charter membership, Int’l. Assoc. of Amateur Film Festivals
  • 1971 – We’re recognized as a leader of amateur film fests worldwide
  • 1971 – Name change to the Rochester Int’l. Amateur Film Festival
  • 1972 – Debut, “Best of the Fest” traveling library of audience picks
  • 1983 – Graduation from 8mm, Super 8 & 16mm; 1st video entries
  • 1996 – The “amateur” act is dropped: Rochester Int’l. Film Festival
  • 2000 – We continue to receive films on precious 35mm film stock
  • 2015 – The 1st ever, all-digital program
  • 2016 – Record number of attendees, filmmakers & advertisers
  • 2017 – MOAS unofficially kicks off its 60th Anniversary year
  • 2019 – RIFF’s 6th straight “Best Local Film Festival” honors
  • 2020 – Our first Online Streaming Festival!


Would you like to make a donation?

Your support means the world to us, in any amount!
…and it’s tax-deductible!!!

Send checks or money orders to: MOAS, Inc. | P.O. Box 17746 | Rochester, NY 14617

Worldwide growth of film schools and the film industry has increased the number of professional-quality short films which are produced and vie for spots in our festival. If you’re a filmmaker, submit your short film of 30 min. or less today. If you know a filmmaker, urge them to submit.

Join us! All (4) distinct screenings are FREE to attend.


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