Couch-fest-500-dollar-prize-submission-224x153In 2008, Seattle filmmaker Craig Downing had an idea: Take a film festival out of theaters and put it into the more intimate, communal venue of peoples' living rooms. What resulted was the self-described "awkwardly awesome" Couch Fest. Now in its fifth year, Couch Fest has grown from a Seattle-based festival to one that happens in homes and idiosyncratic venues world-wide, spanning North America, South America, Europe, and even as far as Oman. This year the Golden Couch award  for best short is $500, and there are other goodies on offer as well:

In addition to $500 cash, the Golden Couch winner gets a trophy, as do the Silver and Bronze Couch winners. There are also awards for categories you might expect like "Best Comedy" or "Best Animation" and ones you might not expect like "Inappropriately Awesome" and "Most Surreal”.

The rules for submission are pretty straightforward:

  • Films must not suck.
  • Films must be less than 8 minutes.
  • Films not in English must have English subtitles.
  • Films must have been completed after Jan, 1, 2011.
  • We are accepting all genres of films from all over this over-populated planet.

All submissions are being accepted via web links, so if your film is online you're good to go. The deadline for submissions is August 31st and comes with a $10 fee. If you need more time, there's a last-minute deadline of September 7th with a $30 fee. As a bonus, if your film is accepted you are refunded your submission fee, and if it's not accepted you have the option of receiving feedback on your film from Couch Fest's team of screeners.

You can also volunteer to host a screening in your home or location of choice. Hosts are not paid, nor are they allowed to charge admission, but you can set your preference as to how many people you are comfortable with hosting and when you would like to hold screenings.

Couch Fest is a rarity as far as festivals go --not only in its general concept-- but in that everyone gets something out of it. Filmmakers have a chance to win cash and awards, and if they don't get that, they'll get worldwide exposure or at the very least some constructive criticism. And the audience gets to see a collection of great shorts from around the world for free, meet their neighbors, and share their love of film.

Link: Couch Fest