Festival History

2012: Inauguration year
The initial idea for WSFF_ was something of a whim that Festival Director John Hayes decided to explore. In its inaugural year, 2012, the WSFF was only open to Hampshire based filmmakers. It boasted only 3 award categories and prizes were two sessions of mentoring from award-winning Directors Jonah Weston and Lawrence Walford of Form Films.

2013: Baby Steps
WSFF_2013 remained small scale, open only to Hampshire based filmmakers, but still managed to attract BBC & ITV Series Producer Alison Martin who donated her time to present the awards. Everyman Cinema also agreed to screen one of the winning films before their main feature.

2014: Giant Leap
BOOM! In 2014 the WSFF_ snowballed. Winchester Film & Art CIC was incorporated to run the festival, with WSFF founder and WFA director John Hayes remaining at the helm. High-profile sponsors offered prize money, an esteemed panel of judges coalesced to adjudicate and provide critiques, the City & County Councils reached into their pockets, highly trained volunteers gave their time, and the black-tie awards ceremony was moved from to the Performance Hall at Winchester Discovery Centre, housing nearly 200 attendees. All this attracted a staggering 152 entries from Hampshire based filmmakers alone! The 2014 awards ceremony was once again presented by Alison Martin, with Producer Caroline Sax presenting the keynote speech.

2015: Going National
On the back of the 2014 success, WSFF_2015 opened up the competition to filmmakers from across the UK. It boasted 13 Award Categories, a £2000+ cash prize fund , a new festival DVD featuring a collection of the short listed films, and a bespoke designed Award Trophy. There were packed short film screenings for the officially selected films, and the glitzy black tie award ceremony was streamed live worldwide to over 500 viewers. The WSFF_ Filmmakers Hub was also published, which provides advice on filmmaking, opportunities for mentoring, masterclasses, and chances to collaborate on both short and feature length films, plus a platform for actors and directors looking for work.

2016: Going International
WSFF_2016 is now open to filmmakers throughout the world, with special categories for Foreign Films and British Films. There is a cash prize fund of £2,500 as well as opportunities to win camera equipment and on-set experience with professional filmmakers. Once again, our panel of judges comprises of esteemed industry professionals, the black tie award ceremony will be streamed live worldwide and, if previous years are anything to go by, short film screenings will be packed to the hilt.

“It would appear that the WSFF is one of those rare projects that has a life of its own, perhaps simply because it happens to have been born at the right place at the right time, though I suspect it also has something to do with the fact that the festival’s life force is entwined with the energy and dedication of the inspired filmmakers who enter.”
John Hayes

A little bit about our Parent Company, Winchester Film & Art CIC.

As a not-for-profit organisation, we are always interested in hearing from potential sponsors. If you like what we do and would like to find out more about sponsoring the festival, please email us – enquiries@winchestershortfilmfestival.com.

The Winchester Short Film Festival is run by WFA, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. While we do everything in our powers to self-fund through revenues from entry fees and ticket sales to ensure that the festival reaches the exceptional standards that we set ourselves, we rely largely on the kindness of strangers, benefactors and inspired individuals. Any amount, no matter how large or small, will make a difference to us.

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Winchester Short Film Festival is run by Winchester Film & Art CIC.

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