Indie Oaks is a Pittsburgh-based film festival. (The “Indie” in our name means that we are seeking to unite audiences with independent, promising filmmakers and to promote collaboration among independent filmmakers.  The “Oaks” refers to our home: The Oaks Theater in Oakmont, PA — the beautiful, historic, retro-chic movie palace situated on Allegheny River Boulevard — a breezy slice of suburban paradise 20 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh).

To those ends — promoting indie film  and promoting Indie Film within the Pittsburgh area — we have a preference for films that were produced somewhere within the greater region of Pittsburgh, OR — films from all over the US by filmmakers who have strong ties to Pittsburgh. We have shown films from all over, but we seek to keep the focus of the event on the indie film scene of Pittsburgh itself. So, if you’d like to submit a film — please be prepared to make the trip to the beautiful, historic, lovely, cinematic Oaks Theater on April 15th, 2017. Awards must be claimed in person. Thank you for helping us grow and acheive our mission!


Eligible films will:

  • Have an absolute maximum runtime of 20 minutes. (Though short films under 12 minutes are strongly preferred, and the shorter the film, the better your chances of selection).
  • Be produced wholly or partially in Greater Pittsburgh/Western PA/ Ohio Valley area (any pre-production, production,  or post-production can count towards this criteria)
  • OR, IF NOT:: Be Produced by any filmmaker willing to make the trip (or send an in-person representative) to accept the film festival in person in Oakmont, PA
  • Be produced or released at any time in the last 100 years. No short film is too old to be appreciated or awarded by Indie Oaks Film Festival, though films produced within the last 2 years will have an edge in the chances of selection.

FILMMAKER ATTENDANCE: If selected, filmmakers agree to attend the film festival in person, or to send a suitable, pre-approved representative by proxy. In order to have their submission screened (and to maintain status as official selection), filmmakers agree to this requirement. Please just ask us if you have any questions or concerns about this policy. Thanks for understanding that we are an Oakmont-proud organization that is attempting to reach outside of the Pittsburgh as  much as we can while staying true to our roots.

LODGING/ACCOMMODATIONS  FOR TRAVELING FILMMAKERS: While we do not have the budget to extend travel funds to filmmakers, out-of-town filmmakers are offered our assistance in arranging overnight accommodations if needed. We can typically arrange for traveling filmmakers and their guests to be locally hosted by other filmmakers & trusted friends of the Indie Oaks Film Festival. Oftentimes, selected Indie Oaks Film Festival filmmakers have volunteered to host traveling filmmakers in their homes. (Good way of promoting collaboration, right??). There are also a number of serviceable hotels in the area.



  • Artistic Merit (story,creativity, entertainment value ) : 40%
  • Technical Merit : 50%
  • Awesomeness Factor: 10%


  • Best Picture, Winner of Indie Oaks Film Festival and $100 Cash Prize*
  • Second Place Winner of Indie Oaks Film Festival and $50 Cash Prize*
  • Audience Choice Award (chosen by popular vote of attendees)
  • Best Director
  • Best Actress
  • Best Actor
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Writing
  • Best Editing
  • Best Art Direction

*Winning film director must attend Award Ceremony in person or send pre-approved representative in order to claim cash prize



2017 Judges: TBA



2016 Judges:

Cathy Rescher, 3 Rivers Screenwriters Conference

Bob Ruefle, 3 Rivers Screenwriters Conference 

Christina Mckee,  Pittsburgh Film Office


Indie Oaks would also like to thank the 2015 judges of our sister film festival: Haunted Oaks

Kahmeela Adams, Producer, 48 Hour Film Project – Pittsburgh

Al Hoff, Assistant Editor and Film Critic, City Paper

Sara Kanter, Staffer, Steeltown Entertainment Project