Sunderland Shorts s a three-day film festival that celebrates filmmaking talent from all over the world.

What is Sunderland Shorts Film Festival?

Sunderland Shorts is a three-day film festival that celebrates filmmaking talent from all over the world.

Films are shown at pop-up screenings in venues around the city. Each screening is around 90 minutes in length.

Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi, and Art/Experimental are all represented.

Our History

In 2006, Sunderland became the first and only non-capital city to sign a Friendship Agreement with Washington DC. Since then, the two cities have been working in partnership to develop economic, educational and cultural relationships, providing the people of Sunderland with new experiences and opportunities.

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is one of many creative industry initiatives that have been developed through this partnership and has seen creative professionals from both DC and Sunderland participate in exhibitions and academic exchange visits.

Established in 2014 and now in its third year, Sunderland Shorts was conceived and developed in collaboration with DC Shorts, a film festival with a thirteen year history, which has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the most respected film festivals in the USA.

To learn more about DC Shorts, please visit their website, or click here to read more.

Our Aims

To create a Film Festival which celebrates the art of short film.
To provide a platform for regional and emerging filmmakers to showcase their work.
To generate opportunities for regional filmmakers to launch their work internationally.
To increase the knowledge and skills of emerging filmmakers through networking and development opportunities with experienced sector professionals.
To foster a strong film and media business sector in Sunderland.
To become a major contributor to the cultural calendar of Sunderland.

What is a Short Film?

Technically, a short film is any film that isn’t long enough to be considered a ‘feature film’ – like what we see in the cinema. But for our festival we feature films that are shorter than 20minutes.

To tell a story, and tell it well, in under 20 minutes is a real talent. The result of talented filmmakers telling epic stories in short periods of time is the bite-sized blockbusters you can experience at Sunderland Shorts Film Festival.

If you have ever left the cinema feeling underwhelmed after sitting through a tale that didn’t live up to the expectations and left you with nothing but a numb bum, then short films could be exactly the entertainment you’re looking for.

Why focus on Short Films?

Short films can also be more accessible to new talent, or to seasoned filmmakers that want to try new ideas. They can be made on small budgets (though they certainly don't have to be!) which allows independent filmmakers, amateurs, students, and anyone else a more affordable way into filmmaking.

As our aim is to support and encourage young, emerging, and local filmmakers, providing the most accessible platform for them is an effective way to do this.

Our Team

Sunderland Shorts is organised by Sunderland Council, supported by a team of part-time volunteers from Sunderland-based businesses or organisations.

  • Festival Director: Anne Tye, Sunderland City Council
  • Programming Team: Kristian Foreman, MAC Trust; Hannah Booth; Lianne Bower
  • Design: Matthew Tye and Beth Dowd, Bureau
  • PR and Communications: Creo Communications, Courtesy of Sunderland Business Group
  • Volunteers Manager: Hannah Matterson, MAC Trust
  • Festival Mentor: Jon Gann, Reel Plan