APRIL 26-28, 2018

3 Days. Dozens of Films. 1,200+ Film Lovers.

The Rochester Int’l. Film Festival is the longest running, continually held, short film festival … in the world! Voted “Best Local Film Festival,” by readers of CITY magazine time and again, our fest is produced and presented by Movies On a Shoestring, Inc. 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? Short-form animation? Whatever you love 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 films of all genres which must clock in at under 30-min. in length.

Our selection process begins with a Call for Submissions.

Late Summer to early Fall, we open up our Call for Submissions to filmmakers of all ages and at all levels in their filmmaking careers. 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. Still, each filmmaker receives insightful feedback in the form of a critique letter.

Films which are destined for Final Judging are then viewed once again, in their entirety, in late Winter. That’s when we determine which films will screen at the festival for near-capacity crowds.

Filmmakers who attend thank us for our efforts and for the warm reception they receive at the Rochester Int’l. Film Festival. Films screened at the fest are awarded our distinctive Shoestring Trophy.

We also provide Certificate of Merit, Honorable Mention and Shoestring Trophy winners with a badge they can proudly display on social media, in the form of a jpg image.

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 run from a MacBook Pro
  • 2016 – Record number of attendees, filmmakers & advertisers
  • 2017 – MOAS unofficially kicks off its 60th Anniversary year

Celebrate our 60th anniversary with us … in 2018!

MOAS was founded by 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 on a shoestring!

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 today. If you know a filmmaker, urge them to submit.

All (4) distinct screenings are FREE to attend, so join us!

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