Our Quarterly Competition accepts 6 types of films:

  • Narrative Film

  • Experimental Film

  • Documentary Film

  • Animation Film

  • Web Series

  • Music Videos 

   Each category (except Web Series & Music Videos) is eligible for the "Best [...] Film" category. This category awards three sections according to their running times:

"Short", "Featurette", and "Feature".

   All other awards split into Feature-- and Short--Length sections. The "Featurette--Length" category includes any film "longer than a short" yet "shorter than a feature". Our film length requirements also count & include all opening titles and end credits.

The following film lengths are as follows:


  • Short Film length: 0 -- 30 minutes

  • Featurette Film Length: 31 -- 60 minutes

  • Feature Film Length: 61 -- 180 minutes



  • Animation Short Film length: 0 -- 39 minutes

  • Animation Feature Film length: 40 -- 180 minutes

  • Documentary Short Film length: 0 -- 39 minutes

  • Documentary Feature Film length: 40 -- 180 minutes

  • Web Series episode length: 0 -- 30 minutes

  • Music Video video length: 0 -- 20 minutes

First, we note that ALL TRIFF Quarterly Official Selections (excluding Web Series & Music Videos) are eligible to win that quarter's "Best [...] Film" award in their respective category of length. Web Series and Music Videos compete in their own "Best [...]" categories.

We also note that length--denoted awards solely regard running time. Awards not denoted by either "Short", "Featurette", or "Feature" in its title are applicable to all film lengths. For example, both short and featurette Experimental Films compete for the "Best Experimental Film" award. However the short Experimental Film only competes in the "Best Picture (Short)" category, while the featurette Experimental Film competes for "Best Picture (Featurette)" category.

Furthermore, we specify that our Quarterly "Best [...] Film" award takes precedent over all other awards regarding running time. For example, a 50--minute Documentary may win the Best Documentary (Feature) award, but it is also eligible for the "Best Featurette Film" category due to its "31 -- 60 minute" running time. The additional "Best Featurette Film" category prevents over--crowded competition for "Best [...] Film" entries.


As we outline briefly in our About TRIFF page, the Innovation Competition branch (or as we call "path") is an Official Selection separate from its twin: the Inspiration Competition.

For the Innovation path, we look for films that challenge mainstream filmmaking tropes, whatever they may be. Some examples might include a unique director's style, an atypical hero depicted in stories, an unprecedented social topic or genre, etc. On the contrary, the Inspiration path admits films influenced by previous works, whatever they may be. Some examples might include a period-piece film, an adapted screenplay, a new take on an old genre, etc. 

We allow/promote submitters to explain their interpretation of our paths upon submission, whichever one they choose. However submitters may only choose one path, which means they cannot submit to both paths. If a filmmaker feels that her or his film abides to both paths, TRIFF will ultimately decide in which branch it competes. We are also allowed to disagree with the submitter. If we find that a filmmaker advocates for one path, and TRIFF decides it belongs to the other path, we may re--direct that film. If this happens to you, please understand it is ALWAYS with the intention of helping your film compete. We never aim to skew the competition by switching around entries.


If an Officially Selected film wins an award in certain Quarterly categories, that film advances to compete in the Golden Brick Competition (GBC), which is our Annual Event. Those Quarterly categories are as follows: Nominees/Winners of "Best [...] Film", Winners of "Best Writing", "Best Director", "Best Actor", and "Best Actress". The Honorable Mentions are not automatically granted the same spot, however, TRIFF may subjectively decide to advance an Honorable Mention forward. If this happens to you, your film does compete in the GBC as a "TRIFF Official Selection"; we are excited to say we do not exclude advanced Honorable Mentions from the Golden Brick Competition, which allows them eligibility for an Annual Event Award.

We also note that a "TRIFF *Quarterly* Official Selection" is NOT a "TRIFF Official Selection". Only films that are admitted into the TRIFF Golden Brick Competition (officially granted by the festival itself via email or otherwise) may advertise as such. We take this very seriously and ask that all TRIFF Quarterly Officially Selected films are promoted as such until otherwise notified. We denote the different competitions with different laurels, which are granted upon notification of a selected/awarded film.


Our complete list of Quarterly Competition Awards are listed here.

Innovation Competition Awards

  • Best Neo--Style: this award credits a film that showcases a unique visual/audial experience including (but not limited to) unorthodox/unprecedented usage of sound/visuals in presentation, unique color palettes, original dialogue, etc.

  • Best New Medium: this award credits a film that utilizes new mediums for recording films including (but not limited to) mobile phone movies, GoPro® movies, live--streamed movies, 360º movies, etc.

  • Best Genre--Bender: this award credits an unorthodox/unprecedented genre present in the submitted film.

Inspiration Competition Awards

  • Best Original Idea: this award credits the film with the best concept. There's no pressure on the execution, as long as the concept is strong and inspires the film.

  • Best Director's Hommage: this award credits the film that best captures the spirit of another director's style. This award does not credit imitation or copyrighting of other works, but rather subtlety in representation through dialogue, cinematography, or other means.

  • Best Period--Piece: this award credits a film whose setting is based in another time--period/reality. This award is not limited to realistic time--periods, but rather any futuristic/abstract setting.

Crossover Awards

   All awards under this category may be given to ANY film, regardless o​f their road. In other words, both an Innovation Competition Film and Inspiration Competition Film compete for the same award. It's an open battle, ladies & gentlemen!


Since the TRIFF Quarterly Competition is live, we award certificates & laurels for your film to use as the awardee sees fit. We also promote your winning film on our Social Media. Once a filmmaker is awarded a laurel (officially granted by the festival itself via email or otherwise), we ask that filmmakers use the laurel to promote their film. We honor your submissions, so we hope you honor our festival as well!