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Since 2008, we at Hammer to Nail have committed ourselves to spreading love for all the great and often underseen films made on a dime and fueled by a love for cinema. Until this year we have focused on films on the festival circuit, in theaters, and available on home video and VOD. Now we are taking the next step with our Short Film Contest, which aims to seek out the best short work—of all genres and styles, made by filmmakers from all over the world—and help to get that work seen and discussed by our dedicated audience of online cinephiles.

Winners will receive a full review by one of our critics on and the opportunity to share their film with our readers online, plus the potential to screen their film in our Hammer to Nail screening series in Brooklyn, NY. Winners and runners-up will also receive submission waivers to several major U.S. film festivals, worth up to $200. Your submission to these festivals will come stamped with a Hammer to Nail seal of approval (*please note, you will still be responsible for submitting your film through the proper channels according to the terms of each festival*). We will also continue to support and promote your film throughout its life on the festival circuit.

Perhaps most importantly, all finalists will have their film judged by a rotating panel of industry insiders like Ted Hope (Double Hope Films), Jeff Deutchman (IFC Entertainment), Chris Horton (Sundance Institute) and Richard Lorber (Kino Lorber Inc.); filmmakers like David Gordon Green, Lena Dunham, Craig Zobel, Alex Ross Perry and the Safdie brothers; and film critics from our experienced group of contributing writers as well as previous contest winners.

If you have a completed short film (19-minutes-and-59-seconds or less!) that you want the world to see, submit it by midnight on July 1st to be considered for our current competition. The fee for entry is $30. The participating fests in our Summer ’13 contest include (we hope to announce several more by the time the clock strikes midnight): AFI FEST, Hamptons International Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, Starz Denver Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, and New Media Film Festival.

Summer ’13 Judges

James Ponsoldt’s first feature, Off the Black, premiered at Sundance 2006; his second feature, Smashed, won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award; his third feature, The Spectacular Now, premiered at Sundance 2013, where it won a Special Jury Prize, and will be released theatrically by A24 on August 2nd. Ponsoldt also writes for Filmmaker Magazine.

Kate Brokaw is the head of marketing at Tribeca Film, the distribution entity of Tribeca Enterprises. Previously, she worked as Director of Theatrical Marketing at Kino Lorber.

Zachary Wigon is a New York-based filmmaker and film critic. The Heart-Machine, a feature film he wrote and will direct, is currently in development. He contributes film criticism to the Village Voice. *Note: Wigon’s Someone Else’s Heart co-won HTN’s December ’12 Short Film Contest.*

Mauro Mueller is a Swiss/Mexican narrative filmmaker. His thesis short film Un mundo para Raúl is a semi-finalist for the Student Academy Awards. He has been part of the Script Station at the Berlinale Talent Campus and ScriptConnect in NYC and L.A. with the screenplay Fingerplay. Mauro is co-owner of Fidelio Films and he produced the feature film Copenhagen in Denmark. *Note: Mueller’s A World For Raúl co-won HTN’s December ’12 Short Film Contest.*

So what are you waiting for? Submit your short film now!

Have a question about the contest? Email us!


Spring 2013Winner: The Chair (Grainger David); Runner-up: Gold Party (Nellie Kluz); Judges: David Lowery, Dustin Smith, Adam Keleman

December 2012Winners: Someone Else’s Heart (Zachary Wigon) and A World For Raúl (Mauro Mueller); Judges: Ira Sachs, Matt Grady, Penny Lane

August 2012Winner: Long Days (Adam Keleman); Runner-up: Green Plastic Sandals (Stephani Wu & Andres Rosende); Judges: Ry Russo-Young, Brent Hoff, Gus Péwé

July 2012 — Winner: The Voyagers (Penny Lane); Runner-up: Arkadya (Alexander Kaluzhsky); Judges: Benh Zeitlin, Mike Plante, Levi Abrino

June 2012 — Winner: This Vacuum is Too Loud (Gus Péwé); Runner-up: Doris & the Intern (Laura Terruso). Judges: Josh and Benny Safdie, Richard Lorber, Jonas Carpignano

May 2012 — Winner: Little Horses (Levi Abrino); Runner-up: Priceless Things (Sarah-Violet Bliss). Judges: Alex Ross Perry, Chris Horton, Christina Choe

April 2012 — Winner: A Chjàna (Jonas Carpignano); Runners-up: Brute Force (Ben Steinbauer), Terrebonne (Jeremy Craig). Judges: Lena Dunham, Jeff Deutchman, Kelly Sears

March 2012 — Winner: I Am John Wayne (Christina Choe); Runner-up: Figure Father (Andrew Ellis). Judges: Craig Zobel, Alison Willmore, Mike S. Ryan

February 2012 — Winner: Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise (Kelly Sears); Runner-up: Cork’s Cattlebaron (Eric Steele). Judges: David Gordon Green, Aaron Hillis, Michael Tully

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Michael Tully was born and raised in Maryland and now lives on Tennis Court in Brooklyn. His most recent narrative feature, Septien, world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Sundance Selects. In addition to directing Cocaine Angel (2006) and Silver Jew (2007), he is also a proud alumni of Filmmaker Magazine's annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film" club (2006). Visit his indieWIRE blog Boredom at its Boredest——for more sporadic personal updates.

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