Rules and Guidelines

NZDSFF has looked at the rules and guidelines for various Deaf film festivals and made slight changes from the 2015 rules to introduce some flexibility and be more consistent. The main change is the length of the film – it can now be up to 10 minutes, and meet one of the criteria:

1. The film must have significant Deaf involvement (i.e. produced/directed/written/acted by Deaf and/or Hard-of-Hearing)


2. Be about Deafhood, Deaf way, Deaf culture, Deaf life, Deaf issues


3. Shows #Deaftalent

We hope that the more flexible criteria will encourage more people to take part and make films for the short film competition.

When you make a film, you must also make sure the film meets our rules and guidelines:

  • Your film has not been shown at New Zealand Deaf Film Festival before.
  • New Zealand Deaf Film festival must be your film’s first public screening in NZ. No internet screening (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo)
  • Your film can be up to 10 mins (including titles and credits.)
  • Your film must include English captions. Inclusion of sound is optional.
  • If your film has spoken language, you must include sign language.
  • International Sign Language is accepted. Non dialogue (non-spoken) films are accepted.

When you enter a film, please make sure you note the following:

  • Your film must be submitted via a USB flashdrive or wetransfer website.
  • Your film must be in full HD only due to theatre requirements (HD means high definition. Please note that many cameras and smart phones these days have a HD option.)
  • Your USB flash drive will only be returned at your cost.
  • Your film must be submitted with the completed and signed Entry form plus consent form. This will be available on our website.
  • Your entry must include 2 film stills and a trailer and poster.
  • If the film rating is PG13 or below, NZDF Inc covers the cost of getting these rated. But film ratings of PG13 and above are at the cost of the team entering it.