2023 Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival
Short-Film Contests

Creating Your Films for 2023

The 2023 Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival is expanding opportunities for filmmakers for its 2022-2023 short-film contest season. 

Independent short filmmakers will be given two separate platforms on which to compete: Amateur and Professional.

“Amateur Filmmakers” will be grouped by age:  12 and younger, 13-18 years old, 19 and older.  This classification is for independent, inexperienced filmmakers, students, and/or novice filmmakers.

“Professional Filmmakers” are 19 or older, independent but experienced, working filmmakers, film students, or having previously competed in film festival circuits/contests.

Both sets of filmmakers are to create ORIGINAL short films between 5 and 10 minutes in the following genres:
Science Fiction

The short films submitted to the Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival’s Short Film Contest in the Amateur category  must be appropriate for all audiences. No nudity, lewdness, profanity, or violence.

Short Films in the “Professional Category” must comply with YouTube content creation guidelines, which can be reviewed here: https://www.youtube.com/howyoutubeworks/policies/community-guidelines/

This is to provide virtual audiences on our various platforms the ability to access Ely FAM Festival content and participate in online viewing and voting for their favorite short film. 

To ensure originality: All filmmakers must film in or set their storylines within the Silver State.


*The Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival requests that the filmmakers be aware of copyright and trademark infringement. It is the sole responsibility of the submitting filmmaker to ensure their entry is free from any violation of copyright, plagiarism, trademark or intellectual property.  The Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival committee, organizers, affiliates, staff, judges, or operators may disqualify any entry for any reason,  limit or prevent its viewing on festival sites or affiliated viewing platforms. Short Film Submissions in either the Amateur or Professional category will be disqualified from receiving awards or showcasing if any violation of terms and conditions is suspected or found at anytime following submission.  You, the filmmaker hold harmless the Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival in any event their is a violation of copyright or trademark discovered in your submitted work. The Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival may share any part or the whole of your entry to promote, advertise, or highlight the 2023 Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival’s short film showcase and awards.  You must only use royalty free or originally composed music you hold the rights to. Filming on public or private property may require permission. Any mess or disturbance of a location must be cleaned up promptly. Please be courteous to others and the environment.

Submission Guidelines

  • Your Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival (Ely FAM Festival) Short-Film Submission is DUE BEFORE 11:59 pm SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2023
  • The finished product MUST NOT EXCEED ten (10) minutes.
  • Upload your submission to Google Drive in an MP4 FORMAT
    • Share your Google Drive LINK with us at: ShortFilm@ElyFilmFestival.com
    • Include your NAME and the NAMES of any other filmmakers
    • Include a clear designation of AMATEUR or PROFESSIONAL
    • Include a designation of your GENRE: Drama, Horror/Thriller, Comedy, Musical, Science Fiction, Animation, Documentary, or Western
    • For Amateur filmmakers, Identify your AGE CATEGORY  – 12 and Under; – 13-18 year-olds; – 19 and up/ Adult
    • Minor contestants must include a name and address of parent or guardian in their email.
    • ONE SUBMISSION per Filmmaker/Group of Filmmakers
*All submitted short films will be judged by film industry professionals and FAM Festival committee members.  Amateur entries will be judged separately from Professional entries.
Judges and coordinating FAM Festival committee reserve the right to resubmit your entry into an alternate category, if your short is deemed misidentified as either Amateur or Professional.
Awards will be announced and distributed at the Ely FAM Festival’s Short Film Showcase and Awards on Saturday, March 11th, 2023 at Ely’s historic Central Theater.
All films submitted into the 2023 Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival Short-Film Contest are eligible for BEST PICTURE/ OFFICIAL SELECTION, AUDIENCE’S CHOICE AWARD, and the coveted FIRST LADY’S CHOICE AWARD.
Filmmakers that compete in the Ely FAM Festival Short Film Contest will receive a Festival VIP swag bag and All-Access Badge to the weekend’s films and events* at the time of their arrival to the theater, (these items will not be mailed due to cost.)
The Ely FAM Festival’s Short Film Showcase and Awards Ceremony on March 11th, 2023 is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
*Some professional and independent short or full-length feature films showing during this festival may not be suitable for younger audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. 
*Parents must accompany minors. 

*The Ely FAM Festival reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the contest at anytime without notice.


Getting Started

Local movie producer and director, Dutch Marich, has created a video and companion worksheet on developing a short story to help craft a great short film. After you’ve created your story, watch Bringing Your Story to the Screen and learn a variety of important filmmaking techniques.

(Video is shown lower on this page)

It is important to understand STORYTELLING when creating a film.  

Judges will be looking for a clear narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. Being able to show an original point of view through your film that connects with the audience starts with a clear understanding of what you want to express and the leave the audience thinking and feeling.


Bringing Your Story to the Screen

Local movie producer and director, Dutch Marich, has created a video Bringing Your Story to the Screen. Click the video link to view on our YouTube Channel.

Make sure you have a clear and understandable storyline that can make audiences engage with your content. The best movies make us feel, think, and imagine, and they all make sense and have clear characters that develop over the course of the film.

Genres and Ideas

Some Genres and ideas to help you get started:

Documentary of Nevada’s history, historic figures, modern times, current or past events, societal issues, present day affairs, etc.
Science Fiction
Drama, including: Romance, period piece, Sports, Art, Noir, medical, mystery
Comedy, including: Action-Comedy, Buddy Comedy, Dramatic Comedy “Dramedy”, Romantic Comedy “Rom-com”, Slapstick
Musical: your own original music, lyrics, and storyline
Animation, including: Stop Motion, classic hand drawn, or digital
Horror/Thriller including: Ghosts, Paranormal, Monster, suspense
Western, including: Historical,  Caper, Crime/ Heist

Short Film Contest Awards

Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival Short Film Contest Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, March 11, 2023 at the historic Ely Central Theater.

Top qualifying Amateur and Professional short filmmakers will see their creations of visual storytelling on the big screen during the festival. the Ely FAM Festival Short-Film Showcase and Awards will highlight and honor top entries in each individual amateur age group category before showcasing and awarding professional short filmmakers.

Top honors will be given to Professional contestants through a Judge’s Official Selection Award, Nevada’s First Lady’s Choice, and the coveted Audience Choice Award for Favorite Film.  Professionally competing short films will receive the Ely Film, Art, and Music Festival Laurel for their future use. With each Award accompanied by a $200 cash prize.*

Top honors are given to Amateur contestants through the Judge’s Selection for Best Picture, in each age bracket, the Nevada’s First Lady’s Choice Award, and Audience Choice for Favorite film.  Best Picture in the age group 12 and under is accompanied by $50, with 13-18 earning a $100 prize, and 19 or older earning $200. First Lady’s Choice and Audience Choice awards earn an additional $100.*

*Cash prizes are subject to change and are dependent upon availability of sponsor and partner participation.
*Participating Filmmakers receive a VIP Swag Bag and Badge for the week’s events, at the theater upon arrival. (These items will not be mailed to contestants due to cost.) 

2022 Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival Short Film Contest Judges Selection: Best Picture 12 and under Winner – Stuck in the West

2022 Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival’s Short Film Contest Judges Selection for Best Picture Winner, 13-18 year old category: Humdrum.

2022 Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival’s Short Film Contest winner, 19 and older, Judge’s Selection for Best Picture: Palaisipan

2022 Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival’s Short Film Contest Winner – Nevada’s First Lady’s Choice Award: Re-Tying The Knot

Contact Us


(775) 289-8877
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm


636 Aultman Street
Ely, NV 89301

Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival

About Us

The Ely Film, Art, & Music Festival celebrates Ely's rich film history. This annual event showcases the cinematic creations filmed here over the years and gives platforms to highlight independent, student, and novice filmmakers, artists, and musicians. 

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Movies Filmed in Ely and White Pine County

  • Roadside Prophets
  • GunCrazy
  • Horror in the High Desert
  • Wizard of Mars
  • Rat Race
  • My Blueberry Nights
  • The Great Darkened Days
  • Ponderoso Victoria
  • Play Dead
  • Operation Haylift
  • The Covered Wagon
  • ReapTown
  • The Great Basin
  • LIE
  • Lust for Freedom
  • Once Upon a Texas Train
  • Infernum
  • Windows of Heaven
  • Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West
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