Defiant Arc Entertainment

The Defiant Arc International Short Film Festival (DAISFF) is an annual short film festival for short films of any genre up to 30 minutes.  There will be two overall winners annually, for Best Short and Best ‘Defiant’ Short, as well as additional Category Awards.

**Due to COVID-19, the live screening this year has unfortunately been cancelled. Please check back for updates.**

Festival Description & Overview

DAISFF’s name is derived from its mission: to defy the traditional Hollywood arc, where it is exceedingly difficult for those not already ingrained in the industry to find success, and to provide resources and access to talented filmmakers to help them make their mark on the world.

All short films submitted to DAISFF will be scored by at least two judges using DAISFF’s scorecards.**

During round one, two judges will separately score each submitted short film. The two scores will be averaged, and all films in the 75th percentile will advance as Official Selections. In round two, all Official Selections will then be separately scored by two judges. The two scores will be averaged, and all Official Selections in the 75th percentile will advance to the Semi-Finals. In the third round, all Semi-Finalists will be scored by two judges. The two scores will be averaged and the top 8 scores will advance to the Finals.

In the fourth round, Category Award Winners will be selected based on which short film had the highest average score in the respective category.  All Official Selections, Semi-finalists, and Finalists whether they advanced to subsequent rounds or not, will have all of their score cards reviewed and averaged as potential winners.

The final round takes place during the live screening.  All Finalists and Category Winners will be screened in two separate blocks, one block for the Category Winners, and one block for the Finalists. In the Finalist block, the audience will vote and select two overall winners: (1) Best Short and (2) Best ‘Defiant’ Short. Best ‘Defiant’ Short is a category unique to DAISFF in that it is specifically for short films geared at defying stereotypes, or featuring characters or a narrative with a commentary on living outside the beaten path.

** For an additional fee, all entrants can request copies of their score cards emailed to them after the conclusion of the live screening.

Submissions are exclusively accepted on FilmFreeway.

Awards & Prizes

Best Short will receive, in addition to the Finalist prizes, a $250 cash prize.

Best ‘Defiant’ Short will receive, in addition to the Finalist prizes, a $250 cash prize.

Finalists will receive laurels and a complimentary ticket to the live screening.

Official Selections and Semi-finalists will receive laurels.

In addition, all submissions are eligible for the Category Awards, which receive laurels and a print-ready digital certificate in PDF.  Category Awards depend solely on the results of the judge’s score cards and will be announced at the same time as the Finalists.

The Category Awards are as follows:

Best Director
Best Actor/Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Production Design
Best Screenplay

2021 Festival Winners
Best Short

Alina – Rami Kodeih


“As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risks everything to smuggle their friend’s three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events. Starring Alia Shawkat (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, SEARCH PARTY), Edin Gali (MAD MEN), Dorota Puzio, Rebeca Robles (BETTER THINGS), Erika Soto (VIDA), and Mark McCullough (LOGAN LUCKY).”

Best “Defiant” Short

Better than Neil Armstrong – Alireza Ghasemi

“Four kids start their journey to the moon with the mission of finding a mysterious place called The Redland but the gates of Redland are being guarded by a mischievous snake.”

Best Director

Wooden Sword – Behzad Alavi

“Two little boys meet each other in a green space, and make friends. On the other hand, their fathers have a big problem.”

Best Cinematography

Pathfinder- Life Beyond Fear – Adam Rubin and Dan Lior

Cinematographers: Adam Rubin, Dan Lior, and Kfir Amir

“Pathfinder is a tale about the human spirit.
The film follows six world-class slackliners (Highliners) on a mission deep into the Norwegian mountains to attempt something that’s never been seen before: Walking a thin line, elevated in the vastness between two colossal cliffs, illuminated only by the mystical northern lights.

The yearning that drives adventurers and explorers to climb the highest peaks, sail endless oceans, and cross vast deserts in the name of progress, is the same passion that drives these slack-liners to attempt what has still been unclaimed.

Through the extreme conditions and endless challenges, we learn about their elemental desire to explore the limits of humankind.”

Best Actor/Actress

Guise – Ali Jalali

Actress: Faezeh Bakhtiar

“In Iran’s society, because of religious prejudices, people always face restrictions and gender discrimination’s to work. Guise is story of a girl’s life living in poverty and come from a lower social class. She is captured with absurd prejudices and baseless religious beliefs in a family in Iran…. She has to wear menswear and make men’s makeup to go to work.”

Best Screenplay

Alina – Rami Kodeih

Screenwriter: Nora Mariana Salim

Best Production Design

Better than Neil Armstrong – Alireza Ghasemi

Rules & Terms

* What we’re looking for? Story-based films, which can be in the form of narrative (fiction), music video, documentary (non-fiction), or animation.

*You must submit your screener via a private link. DVD submissions are not accepted.

* All films must include English subtitles (unless the spoken language is English)

* By submitting your film, take note that:
– You agree to use parts of your film (including trailer/teaser/film poster/screenshots) for promotional purposes.
– You must own all the rights to the video.
– Fees are not refundable.

DAISFF does not accept the following:

1. Amateur videos
2. Extremist or propaganda content from religious or political organizations
3. Films made before 2013
4. Political films
5. Films with a poor production standard (bad sound, lack of subtitles/captions for non-English films, video resolution less than 720p HD)
6. Films produced by Defiant Arc Entertainment


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