[Open Call 2021]




“Architects, perhaps as a result of the long-standing use of orthographic projection – the static architectural plans and sections – tend to think of space outside time. By adding the dimension of time space becomes ‘alive’, so film offers the potential of generating an affective relationship with architecture, a form of empathy, where the architect/filmmaker more closely identifies with the building.”

Penelope Haralambidou (2015).
‘The architectural essay film’, Architectural Research Quarterly, 19, pp. 234-248.

As video equipment in the 1970s made filmmaking more accessible, architects started making films as part of their practice, and they continue to do so today. Filmmaking often takes place in a city, in a building, virtual or not. As Penelope Haralambidou argues in the quote above, film has the potential to generate an affective relationship with architecture because it intrinsically adds the dimension of time, which makes the building alive. At the same time, everyone living in today’s technological reality, in which mobile phones, drones and VR play an integral part in our everyday lives, inevitably has to consider, use and be in our built environment. And we are increasingly doing so in new, creative ways. What the future holds for the architectural film, and exactly what this ‘genre’ could be, awaits. In the meantime, the Architecture Film Festival London, as the first festival in London focused on the relation between film and architecture, invites submissions for our competition, themed Architecture + Film.


Filmmakers from all backgrounds and nationalities, above the age of 18, are invited to submit films to the following six categories:

  1. Documentary (Feature Length, max. 120min)
  2. Fiction (Short, max. 30min)
  3. Experimental (Short, max. 30min)
  4. New Media*
  5. Commercial** (Short, max. 30min)
  6. Care (Short, max. 30min.), open to films that respond to the theme of the 2021 London Festival of Architecture.

* The New Media category encompasses AR, VR, MR, drone footage, and Point Cloud data (3D scanning/ photogrammetry) turned into a moving image. This category could include moving image submissions created with the use of AI.
** The Commercial category encompasses films/videos created with a purpose of promoting unbuilt projects to gain funding or created to showcase a completed/built project. This category’s submissions could include moving image renders.


All films must meet the technical requirements of minimum high definition (HD 1080 x 720) and be uploaded in H.264/MPEG-4. This format is referential and further format requirements (suitable for online screenings) to be confirmed with shortlisted candidates. New Media category entries to be submitted in a format suitable for online viewing.


Feature and short films will be accepted with audio in any language, but if the language of the film is not English, the film must have English subtitles. Should the film be officially selected for the Architecture Film Festival London Competition, you would be asked to send a copy of the film with English subtitles or send us the subtitle file (SRT) by email. All selected/shortlisted films will be informed of this requirement by email. Architecture Film Festival London will not translate, dub or subtitle any film.


The films should be uploaded to the below site:


Our submission platform will be open between 1 February 2021 till 4 April 2021. Please do not submit more than 2 films per category, each film to be registered separately. Only films produced between 2016- 2021 will be considered. Both shortlisted and unsuccessful candidates will be notified by 19 April 2021. Films not fulfilling the requirements above will not be considered.

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Entrants declare that the film submitted is their own and that its public screening rights have not been transferred to third parties. Entrants assume all liability for any claim or demand by third parties, administrative, judicial or of other nature, concerning intellectual property or screening rights for the submitted film. Film submission implies that entrants hold all necessary rights to screen the entered film publicly and are authorised to grant and do hereby grant said rights to Architecture Film Festival London, for the film exhibition in the Festival.
Entrants grant the exhibition of film clips of their work, for promotional purposes of the festival, to be broadcast in any media, and the publications of the submitted film stills, in online or print form. This screening rights’ assignment to the Festival will not imply, for the entrant, in any form whatsoever, loss of copyright of the submitted film.


A qualified jury composed of personalities from architecture, academia, and filmmaking will discuss the selected works in the competition, awarding the prizes specified for each category. The jury’s decisions are final, and it reserves the right to declare void any category. The films received will be classified to compete according to their category, not according to their nationality (there is no difference between local films and foreign films).
In each of the festival’s categories, three films will be shortlisted. All shortlisted films will be announced and promoted, but only the category winners will be screened at the festival and compete for the following awards:

  1. Best Documentary Film
  2. Best Fiction Film
  3. Best Experimental Film
  4. Best New Media Film
  5. Best Commercial Film
  6. Best Care Film

The film that gets the most votes in each of the categories, by simple majority within the jury, will win. The award will be given to the registered author of the work. This year the winner announcement ceremony will  take place virtually / online, and the awards will be posted to the award recipients.


The winning feature and short films in their category will receive a unique commemorative award, along with a certificate signed by the President of the Jury. Architecture Film Festival London has other international exhibition opportunities as part of our programme. Also, Architecture Film Festival London can make arrangements of this and other special exhibitions of the winners of the competition.


It is recommended to register early, to avoid unexpected delays. Received films without the completed online registration form or films will not be accepted.

  • Call for submissions 1 February – 11 April 2021 (23:59 GMT)*
  • Jury announcement 1 March 2021
  • Selected finalists announcement 25 April 2021
  • Jury working time 26 April – 8 June 2021
  • Competition winners decision 8 June – 17 June 2021
  • Competition winners announcement 25 June 2021

*Dates updated 23 March, 2021

Architecture Film Festival London will not be responsible for unexpected events that could impede the realisation of the festival and its activities, such as the screening of the films of the competition. By submitting your film to the Competition, you attest that you have read, understood and accepted these rules and guidelines.

London, UK, 01.02.2021
Architecture Film Festival London

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