The film festival which typically draws about 10,000 people to Portsmouth, NH has been named an Academy Award qualifying festival, meaning filmmakers who show their work there could potentially be nominated for an Oscar.

Executive Director Nicole Gregg said on Tuesday that films which receive the festival's Live Action Shorts Jury Award or the Animation Shorts Jury Award may now qualify to enter for the concurrent Oscar season.

"We will only submit two nominations to the Academy each year," Gregg said.

Gregg said this is a huge opportunity for people who work in filmmaking and it elevates the popular festival to the next level.

"It further validates all of the hard work of the team and everyone who supports the festival," Gregg said. "It's so exciting."

Photo by Campbell Mattiello

Co-founder and Industry Director Dan Hannon has written, developed and punched up original screenplays for Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation and Warner Independent Pictures, as well as highly successful production houses including Di Bonaventura Pictures and Happy Madison Productions. He echoed Gegg's enthusiasm.

“We have been recognizing and honoring short films since the beginning, and have showcased nearly 1,300 short films over that time. The Academy qualification further enhances our mutual endeavor to support the short film medium, foster filmmaker talents and reward extraordinary work," Hannon said in a statement.

The film festival did not take place last year because of COVID-19, but it will be back for its 20th anniversary this fall.

In April, Gregg announced that the film festival will take place in person from Oct. 14 to 17. At that time, she said people were looking forward to seeing films in a theater again after spending so much time in their homes watching videos on demand.

Photo by Campbell Mattiello

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Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

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