Swim Shorts Film Festival

The Swim Shorts Film Festival seeks to celebrate Northeast Florida's waterways through the lens of your camera. We invite filmmakers of all ages and ability levels to send us short films featuring Northeast Florida's waters and/or their favorite water activities. All proceeds from the festival, including ticket sales and donations, will go to the St. Johns Riverkeeper organization for use in their public awareness and conservation efforts.

A panel of volunteer judges will select the best entries from each age group, and we will screen the finalists at the festival showcase at Sun Ray Cinemas on August 16, 2017. An additional Viewers' Choice Award will be selected by the audience during the festival showcase.

How to participate

Gather Your Team

Gather a team to make a five-minute short film about a Northeast Florida waterway and/or your favorite water activity. You team can be just you, or any number of friends and family.

Be sure you come up with a fun name for your team!


Select An Age Group

There is no limit to the number of people who can be on your team. You may select from:

  • Elementary School at least one member of your team must be in elementary school
  • Middle School at least one member of your team must be in middle school
  • High School at least one member of your team must be in high school
  • College at least one member of your team must be enrolled in college
  • Professional for teams that do not qualify for any of the above age groups


Create Your Video

Please make your video 720p or 1080p and 24 frames per second (23.976 or 23.98 is fine). Your video must not greatly exceed 5 minutes (a few seconds here or there won’t count against you).

Do not use copyrighted materials. Be creative! Look around for royalty free sound effects or music, or better yet, create your own! Is there a local band you love? Reach out to them, they might let you use their song!

Remember, water can be dangerous! Do not try anything you are not comfortable with or that is beyond your skill level. Water can irreparably damage cameras and other electronic equipment. Be careful. You are responsible for your own actions.

Do not harm or harass people or animals for your video. Do not harm any environments while filming. Any submissions which appear to engage in such behaviors will be automatically disqualified. You are responsible for knowing and following Florida laws and guidelines in this matter. We reserve the right to disqualify any video.


Upload Your Video

Upload your video to Vimeo.com and submit it to us by July 30th.

You will need to create a vimeo account if you do not already have one. They are free and the website has many instructional videos to help you out.


Finalists will be decided on by August 7th.

A volunteer panel of judges will review the submissions and select finalists on August 7th. Judges will be from multiple fields and backgrounds and will use a predetermined rubric as a guide.

The Video Showcase will be held on August 16th at Sun Ray Cinema beginning at 6:30pm.

All ticket sales of the showcase will be donated to the St. John’s Riverkeeper to aid in their efforts to keep our river clean and healthy. If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact the administrator at submissions@swimshortsfilmfest.com. All sponsorship donations will be awarded to the St. John’s Riverkeeper as well.

Submissions will be judged on creativity, writing, filming, acting, sound, and editing among other things. Show us something fun, interesting, and perhaps even educational!

The best three films in each age category will receive trophies made by a local artist. First place prizes for each age group include a gift basket with goods and gift certificates from local businesses. Participating business can be found in our sponsors section below.

Toward the end of the showcase, the audience will select a film for the Viewers' Choice award by popular vote.

Terms and Conditions

The Swim Shorts Film Festival accepts submissions from all interested participants with the following terms and conditions:

  1. Limit one entry per team
  2. Total runtime of the film must not exceed 5 minutes and must be at least 720p resolution
  3. Teams must enter into one of the following age groups: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College, and Professional. At least one member of a team must be in the team's elected age group.
  4. Submissions must be about a Northeast Florida waterway or a recreational water activity.
  5. All elements of the film must be the intellectual property of the submitter, and may not contain any elements that infringe on another person or organization's copy rights
  6. Films must be submitted on Vimeo.com
  7. Films should not include advertisements, overlays not part of the film, or popups. These elements distract from the videos, and we will not be able to screen any films with these elements during the festival showcase.
  8. Films must include a credits roll at the end giving everyone who worked on the project credit.
  9. All entries must be submitted by July 30, 2016, to be considered by the judges. We will announce the finalists on August 8, 2016.
  10. Submitters retain ownership of their videos, but grant Swim Shorts Film Festival the right to display them to an audience during the festival showcase at Sun Ray Cinemas on August 16, 2016, and on the Swim Shorts Film Fest Web site indefinitely.
  11. Swim Shorts Film Festival will not accept submissions from organizers of the festival, employees or volunteers for Sun Ray Cinemas or St. Johns Riverkeeper, festival judges, or immediate family memebers of anyone within the aforementioned groups

Advisory: Many water activities can be dangerous. Do not engage in activities that are beyond your skill or comfort level. Swim Shorts Film Festival is not liable for injury to persons or damage to property that occurs during the creation of your film.

Submit Your Film

Fill out this form to submit your film

I have read and accept the terms and conditions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does this festival exist?

We love the Florida springs. We love Floridian beaches. We love the St. Johns, Black Creek, and Little Pottsburg. We know we're not the only people who love these blue, green, and coffee colored jewels. By highlighting their value and spreading awareness about issues that threaten them, we can help protect these treasured places. The more people that know and care about our waterways, the safer these places will be for us and for future generations to enjoy.


What can my film be about?

Documentary, fake documentary, sports video, action film, thriller, science fiction, creature feature, horror, drama, love story, spy movie, think outside of the box!

Do you enjoy sports? How about swimming, boating, fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle board yoga, body surfing, tubing, you name it!


What if I don't have any fancy film equipment?

You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to make a video these days (although it can help). Most smartphones will take very high quality video. And there are a number of free video editing apps for your phone or computer as well!


2017 Sponsors

2016 Sponsors