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Where to Win Film Festival Cash Awards: A Guide to Festival $$

Where to Win Film Festival Cash Awards: A Guide to Festival $$

Filmmakers know that finding cash is one of the hardest parts of filmmaking. While some film festivals offer prestige and exposure as their only rewards (think Sundance, Toronto), many smaller festivals offer prizes with cash or in-kind awards — often the first financial return for the filmmakers’ hard work.

With that in mind, indieWIRE has collected information from some of the world’s most important film festivals on what cash prizes they offered in association with their film awards.

By no means is this list exhaustive and as festival budgets and priorities change, so do their prizes and awards. (If you have an update, contact us at

What follows is an extensive resource highlighting the past 12 months of film festival cash prizes.

Abu Dhabi International Film Festival

Best Narrative Film: $100,000
Special Jury Award: $50,000
Best Director from the Arab World: $50,000
Best Producer from the Arab World $25,000
Best Actor: $20,000
Best Actress: $20,000
Best Documentary: $100,000
Special Jury Award: $50,000
Best New Director: $50,000
Best Director from the Arab World: $50,000
Best Producer from the Arab World: $25,000
Best New Horizons Competition Film: $100,000
Special Jury Award: $50,000
Best Director from the Arab World: $50,000
Best Producer from the Arab World: $25,000
Best Actor: $20,000
Best Actress: $20,000
Best Narrative Short: $25,000
Best Documentary Short: $25,000
Best Animated Short: $20,000
Best Film from the Arab World: $25,000
Special Jury Award for a Narrative Short: $15,000
Best Producer: $10,000
Best Producer from the Arab World: $10,000
Short Emirates Narrative Competition: 1st Prize: 30,000 AED; 2nd Prize: 25,000 AED; 3rd Prize: 20,000 AED
Special Jury Award: 25,000 AED
Best Emirati Film: 25,000 AED
Best Script: 10,000 AED
Best Cinematography: 10,000 AED
Short Documentary Competition: 1st Prize: 30,000 AED; 2nd Prize: 25,000 AED; 3rd Prize: 20,000 AED
Special Jury Award: 25,000 AED
Student Short Narrative Competition: 1st Prize: 20,000 AED; 2nd Prize: 15,000 AED; 3rd Prize: 10,000 AED
Student Short Documentary Competition: 1st Prize: 20,000 AED; 2nd Prize: 15,000 AED; 3rd Prize: 10,000 AED
What in the World Are We Doing to Our World? Competition: $15,000
The Showcase Audience Choice Award: $50,000

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival: $3,000
Jury Awards: $2,250 each
Stan Brakhage Film at Wit’s End Award (Creative and Independent Vision): $1,000
Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film: $1,000
Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film: $1,000
Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative Film: $1,000
Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film: $1,000
The Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award for Emerging Experimental Video Artist: $1,000
Prix DeVarti for Funniest Film $1,000
Art & Science Award (Scientific Subjects): $750
Peter Wilde Award for Most Technically Innovative Film: $500
autFILM Award for Best LGBT Film: $500
Award for Best Sound Design: $500
Kodak/Grace & Wild Imaging Award for Best Cinematography: $3,000 ($1,500 of film plus $1,500 processing)
Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker: $1,000
George Manupelli Founder’s Spirit Award (Filmmaker Who Reflects Festival founder’s Spirit): $500
The Eileen Maitland Award (Women’s Issues): $500
The No Violence Award (Peace Themes): $512
Award for Best International Film: $500
Award for Best Music Video: $500

Aspen Shortsfest

International Competition: Best Animation: $2,500
International Competition: Best Comedy: $2,500
International Competition: Best Documentary: $2,500
International Competition: Best Drama: $2,500
International Competition: Best Student: $1,000
International Competition: Best Short Short: $1,000
Audience Favorite Award: $1,000
The Ellen Award (Most Whimsical and Original Film): $1,000
Youth Jury Prize: $500


Best First Feature: €50,000 shared between the producer and director of the awarded film.
Prizes of the Ecumenical Jury: Main Prize (Amount unspecified) and two prizes, both worth €2,500 each, for a film in the Forum and Panorama competitions.
Caligari Film Prize (Forum Competition): €4,000, half of which is given to the director, the other half is meant to fund distribution. Peace Film Award: €5,000
Amnesty International Film Prize (Competition, Panorama and Forum Sections): €5,000
Femina Film Prize (Outstanding Contribution of a Female Technician in a Feature Film from a German-speaking Country): €2,000.
The “Tagesspiegel” Readers’ Jury (Forum Competition): €3,000

Cleveland International Film Festival:

Nesnadny + Schwartz Documentary Film Competition: $5,000 in cash.
Central and Eastern European Film Competition: $10,000 cash prize.

Dallas International Film Festival

Target Filmmaker Award (Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary): $25,000 for each winning film.
Grand Jury Prize – Texas | MPS Studios Texas Filmmaker Award: $20,000 in cash, goods and services from MPS Studios for best film in the Texas Competition.
Silver Heart Award (Film or Individual): $10,000 cash to an individual or film for their dedication to fighting injustices and/or creating social change for the improvement of humanity.
TXU Energy Light Up the Red Carpet (Texas Student Video Competition): $30,000 in prizes for the winning schools and students.

Dubai International Film Festival

Muhr Prize (Features): Best Film: $50,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Special Jury Prize: $40,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Best Actor: $8,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Best Actress: $8,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Best Scriptwriter: $8,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Best Editor: $8,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Best Composer: $8,000
Muhr Prize (Features): Best Cinematographer: $8,000
Muhr Prize (Documentary): First Prize: $40, 000
Muhr Prize (Documentary): Special Jury Prize: $30, 000
Muhr Prize (Documentary): Second Prize: $20, 000
Muhr Prize (Shorts): First Prize: $30, 000
Muhr Prize (Shorts): Special Jury Prize: $20, 000
Muhr Prize (Shorts): Second Prize: $10, 000
Muhr Emirati Awards: First Prize: AED 35, 000
Muhr Emirati Awards: Special Jury Prize: AED 25 ,000
Muhr Emirati Awards: Second Prize: AED 15, 000

Cannes International Film Festival

Nespresso Grand Prize for La Semaine de la Critique: €8,000
SACD Prize (best screenplay in Semaine de la Critique):
ACID/CCAS Support Award (for French distribution of a film in the Semaine de la Critique competition): €8,000 (€4,000 grant to help French distribution, €4,000 cash)
Canal+ Grand Prize For Best Short Film: €6,000 in Panavision Alga Techno equipment
Kodak Discovery Award for Short Film:
€3,000 in Kodak 35mm film
SFR Prize (most audacious short film): €2,000

DC International Film Festival

The Circle Award: cash prize and an opportunity to be distributed by SnagFilms

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Michael Powell Award (best film in British Gala section): 15,000 pounds Best New International Feature Award: 5,000 pounds
Moët New Directors Award: 5,000 pounds
Best Feature Documentary Award: 5,000 pounds

GenArt Film Festival

Grand Jury Award for Best Picture: $10,000
Best Short: $5,000

Hamptons International Film Festival

Golden Starfish Narrative Award: $128,000 of goods and services

Hot Docs

Best International Feature Award: $10,000
Special Jury Prize – International Feature: $5,000
Best Canadian Feature Award: $15,000
Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature: $10,000
Best Mid-Length Documentary Award: $3,000
Best Short Documentary Award: $3,000
documentary’s Don Haig Award: $20,000
The Lindalee Tracey Award: $6,000 cash prize and $3,000 in Kodak film stock

International Film Festival Rotterdam

The Tiger Awards (given to three best films in the Tiger Awards Competition): €15,000 (for each of the three winners)

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Grand Prix – Crystal Globe: $30,000 USD
Special Jury Prize: $20,000 USD
Best Documentary Film over 30 minutes long: $5,000 USD
Best Documentary Film under 30 minutes long: $5,000 USD
East of the West Award (films from Central and Eastern Europe): $10,000 USD

Locarno Film Festival

Special CINÉ CINÉMA Jury Prize: winning film will be purchased for 30,000 chf and broadcasted on channel CINÉ CINÉMA.
Leopard for the Best First Feature: 30,000 chf (shared equally between the director and the producer)
Pardino d’oro for the Best International Short Film: 10,000 chf
Pardino d’oro for the Best Swiss Short Film 10,000 chf
Pardino d’argento (one Swiss, one international): 12,000 chf worth of Kodak film stock
Locarno short film nominee for the European Film Awards: 2,000 chf
Action Light Prize for Best Swiss Newcomer: 41,000 chf worth of equipment
Cinema e Gioventù Prize – Leopards of Tomorrow (one Swiss film and one international competition): 3,000 chf
Junior Jury Awards: First Prize: 6,000 chf; Second Prize: 4,000 chf; Third Prize: 2,000 chf
Environment is quality of life Prize: 3,000 chf
Prix du Public UBS: The winner of the audience prize: 20,000 chf
Eucumenical Prize: 20,000 chf to be used for Swedish distribution

Los Angeles Film Festival

The Narrative Award: $50,000
The Documentary Award: $50,000

Melbourne International Film Festival

Grand Prix for Best Short Film: $7000

Award for Best Australian Short Film: $5000

Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker: $5000 + airfare to Berlinale

Best Fiction Short Film: $3000

Best Documentary Short Film $3000

Best Animation Short Film: $3000

Best Experimental Short Film: $3000

Miami International Film Festival

Knight Foundation Ibero-American Competition Grand Jury Prize: $20,000
Knight Foundation World Competition Grand Jury Prize: $20,000
Knight Foundation Dox CommunicationGrand Jury Prize: $10,000
University of Miami Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film: $2,500
The Jordan Alexander Ressler Screenwriting Award (for the Ibero-American Competition): $5,000

San Sebastian International Film Festival

Kutxa-New Directors Award: €90,000
Audience Award: €70,000 for the Spanish importer of the winning film
Audience Award for Best European Film: €35,000
Horizontes Award: €35,000
The Films in Progress Industry Award: funds to help a selected film in post-production produce an English subtitled 35mm copy
The Casa de América Award for Aid (post-production of Latin-American films): €10,000
Cinema in Motion awards: €5,000 in aid towards the post-production in France from the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée), €15,000 towards sound mixing work at Mac’Tari in Paris, €5,000 towards post-production costs by Dubai International Film Festival, €2,500 to subtitling in French or English from Titra Film, a 35mm print without subtitles from Festival International de Films de Fribourg, a 35mm print without subtitles from Festival International du Film d’Amiens
The International Film Students Meeting Award: €10,000 for Panavision equipment

Sarajevo Film Festival

Heart of Sarajevo for Best Feature Film: €25,000
Special Jury Prize: €10,000
Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actress: €2,500 

Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor: €2,500
Heart of Sarajevo for Best Short Film: €3,000
Special Jury Mention (two awards): €1,000
Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary Film: €3,000
Living Pictures Service Award: in-kind support up to €10,000

International Relations Arte Price: financial awards in the amount of €6,000

CNC Award: financial awards in the amount of €10,000
Eurimages Award: financial awards in the amount of €30,000 

Synchro Film Vienna Award (three awards): lab services in value of €2500

Post Republic Award: in-kind postproduction services worth €80,000
Restart Awardin Knd Support: in-kind services worth €20,000
Cineuropa Prize: €5,000

Seattle International Film Festival

Best New Director: $2,500
Best Documentary: $2,500
Best Documentary Short: $1,000
Best Narrative Short: $1,000
Best Animated Short: $1,000


Sterling Award for Best US Feature: $5,000
Sterling Award for Best World Feature: $5,000
Cinematic Vision Award: $5,000 in Alpha Cine in-kind services and a Canon camera
WGA Documentary screenplay Award: $1,000 and a one-year free membership in the WGAW Nonfiction Writers Caucus or WGAE Nonfiction Writers Committee Membership

Sundance International Film Festival

Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize: $20,000

Thessaloniki Doc Festival

ERT Award “Doc on Air” (best proposal for an international co-production): €7,000
ERT3 Broadcasting Award for a film from the “Planet in Peril” segment: €3,000 and a one-time broadcast by EPT3

Tribeca Film Festival

The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
: $25,000
Best New Narrative Filmmaker: $25,000
Best Documentary Feature: $25,000 + art
Best New Documentary Filmmaker: $25,000
Best New York Narrative: $10,000 cash, $50,000 in Company 3 post-production services + art
Best New York Documentary: $10,000 cash, $50,000 in Company 3 post-production services + art
Best Narrative Short: $5,000 cash, 5,000 feet of Kodak 35mm film stock + art
Best Documentary Short: $5,000 cash, 5,000 feet of 35mm film stock donated by Kodak and the art award “Fruits of War” by Spencer Platt.

Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Best Feature Film: $25,000 cash
Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Best Short Film: $5,000 cash

Toronto International Film Festival

Award for Best Canadian Short Film: $10,000
Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film: $15,000
Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: $30,000
People’s Choice Award: $15,000

True/False Film Festival

The True Life Fund: offers “tangible and meaningful assistance” to the real-life subjects of a new film

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged , ,


Julian Nwagboniwe

AFRIFF – The Africa International Film Festival which holds in Nigeria every November, awards monetary prizes thus
BEST ACTOR – $2,000
BEST SHORT – $3,000

leslie bianchi

You can also add – WISFF (Windrider International Student Film Festival) to this list. Awards & Prizes

$10,000 Grand Jury Prize
$10,000 Best Documentary
$10,000 Cinematic Storytelling

All winners receive expense-paid trip to Park City during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
All winners receive Write Brothers SCREENWRITER software.

Grant Knisely

The Heartland Film Festival (Indianapolis, IN) offers $45,000 for the best Documentary & Narrative Feature.


Have you checked out the prize at cinefestOZ? Located in the Beautiful wine and surf region of the South West of Western Australia. $100,000.


Parody 48 Hour Film Contest, Presented by Sony Creative Software

Grand Prize: (1) Vegas Pro 12 Suite MSRP: $899.95
Second Prize: (1) Vegas Pro 12 MSRP: $599.95
Third Prize: (1) Vegas Pro 12 EDIT MSRP: $479.95


Doha Tribeca Film Festival
$100,000 best narrative feature

Debra Anderson

Vimeo Festival + Awards Returns Spring 2012.
The inaugural VFA’s were held on October 9th, 2010 in NYC.
Grand Prize: The Vimeo Award for Best Video – $25,000 Grant to create a new, original work.

Yusuf Pinhas

Here’s a list of the cash awards offered at the Istanbul Film Festival:
In the International Competition:
– Golden Tulip Award 10,000 Euros;
– The Turkish distributor of Golden Tulip awarded film 10,000 Euros;
– Special Jury Award 5,000 Euros.
— FACE – Film Award of the Council of Europe 10,000 Euros

Additional cash prizes are also given in the National Competition for Turkish films:
– TL 150,000 to the Best Film
– TL 50,000 to the Best Director
– TL 30,000 Special Prize of the Jury
– Best Actor TL 10,000
– Best Actress TL 10,000


CPH PIX just awarded a bunch of cash, starting with 30,000 Euros for the narrative prize:


San Francisco International Film Festival hands out $95,000 every year. Can’t figure out how they were overlooked.
Investigative Documentary $25,000; Documentary Feature, $20,000; Bay Area Documentary Feature, $15,000; New Directors Prize, $15,000; Narrative Short, $5,000; Documentary Short, $5,000; Youth Work Short, $1,500; Work for Kids and Families Short, $1,500; Animated Short, $2,000; New Visions Short, $1,500; Bay Area Short, First Prize, $2,000; Bay Area Short, Second Prize, $1,500


my producng students at EICTV, Habana are eternally grateful for this info.

Sumner Burstyn

great list. thank you. You missed Big Sky Documentary Film Festival – top prize $1000 (I know because we just won it) And FIFO in Tahiti has generous prizes also – we just won $3000 from there.
Sumner Burstyn / Producer / This Way of Life

Lukas Bulka

Your list also missed Krakow, Poland

OFF PLUS CAMERA Int’l Festival of Independent Cinema in Krakow, Poland
Krakow Film Award – Main Prize $100,000 for best first or second feature
Main Prize Winner Grant from Polish Film Institute – $335,000
Audience Award – $10,000
Polish Film Noble (for Best Polish Film) – $33,000


Your list missed one important prize given by the Venice Festival:

chosen among the selection of The Mostra or in the parallel section Giornate degli Autori – Venice Days : a prize of 100,000 USD donated by Filmauro di Aurelio e Luigi De Laurentiis to be divided equally between director and producer

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