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18 seconds of fame: Giphy’s quirky new GIF film festival has a $10K prize

GIFs have the uncanny ability to convey or elicit an emotion in a matter of seconds — and now the looping micro videos are getting a film festival of their own. On Wednesday, August 15, Giphy and Squarespace announced the first ever Giphy Film Festival, a competition open through September 27 for content that is 18 seconds or less. That’s right, someone is going to win $10,000 for 18 seconds of GIF.

Giphy says that the micro-films popularized by social media networks can be just as compelling, entertaining and creative as the content in traditional film festivals. The Giphy Film Fest includes five different categories for the loop-able content — stop-motion, animated, experimental, narrative, and a wildcard (or “other”) category. The contest is open to GIFs with or without sound.

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Giphy says the judges are looking for the most compelling, entertaining, creative and professional-grade entries for the contest. Each category will have a finalist, while the top-scoring entry overall will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize along with a five-year subscription to Squarespace.

The festival will be judged by a group that includes filmmakers, comedians and museum curators. The judging panel includes Mukunda Angulo (artist and filmmaker), Alex Bodman (Spotify Global Creative Director), Brooke Keesling (Director of Communications and Culture at The Animation Guild), Mona Panchal (Vice President of Digital at Topic), Joe Pera (comedian, actor and writer), Julia Rothman (co-founder at Women Who Draw), Rajendra Roy (The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film at the Museum of Modern Art), and others.

The top GIF entries will be played during the festival on November 8. While the festival is open to any entries from the U.S., the festival itself for viewing the brief micro-films is by invite only at the Metrograph theater in New York City. The entries, however, will be available to view online with a platform specifically for the festival hosted by Squarespace.

Entries are open until September 27, with judging held during the first two weeks of October.

The quirky film fest makes sense for Giphy, the first online GIF library and now the largest, according to the company. The platform is responsible for serving up more than 8 million hours of views to an average of 300 million visitors every day. Giphy currently serves more than 5 billion GIFs on the platform.

Full contest rules and submissions are available at

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