Without Precedent Film Festival

In a matter of mere weeks, our world has become most strange and uncertain. Time is simultaneously moving faster and slower than ever before. An unprecedented moment calls for radical new approaches to artmaking and storytelling. The Without Precedent Film Festival is an online film festival and 48-hour filmmaking competition presented in collaboration with Talkhouse and Elevated Films Chicago and with a grand prize generously provided by Oscilloscope Laboratories. We want to raise our spirits while we’re all basically in isolation, and we hope you’ll be a part of it.

The Challenge: write, shoot and edit a new short film without leaving your home (please read full submission guidelines below before entering).

Enter as an individual or as a team of two or three (at most) by 11:59pm EST on Friday, April 3.

The competition begins at 9am EST on Saturday, April 4 and submissions must be received by 9am EST on Monday, April 6.

At 9am EST on April 4, all entrants will be emailed a “mystery element” that must be used in their short films. This element could be a prop, a word or something else. The element does not need to be a crucial part of your story; it’s just our way to make sure everybody starts working on their film at the same time.

By 9am EST on April 6, upload your submission to Vimeo or YouTube and email the link to withoutprecedentfilmfest@gmail.com. If you send a private link, remember to include the password.

Each entry will be viewed by at least two programmers and then our programming team will select five finalists. Out of the finalists, a jury of three will select the winner (see bios below).

The winning film will be announced and premiere Monday, April 20th on this very website, and will also screen this summer in Chicago as part of Elevated Films’ Outdoor Film Series (date and location TBD). The winner will also receive a free membership to Oscilloscope Laboratories’ Circle of Quarantine. The Circle of Quarantine is the digital version of Oscilloscope’s Circle of Trust, a subscription program that sends you the latest of our Blu-ray & DVD releases. For the digital Circle of Quarantine, you get HD downloads (purchases, not rentals) of any TEN Oscilloscope films from our entire catalog, all for $49.99. On top of that, O’scope is giving $10 from each COQ purchase to the Cinema Workers Solidarity Fund, which helps provide for theater staff in NYC that have been laid off without benefits.

As part of the festival, we will be premiering new short films shot in isolation by some of the coolest independent filmmakers working today (like Isabel Sandoval, Amanda Kramer, John Magary and many more).  See the full list of non-competition filmmakers and watch the opening film of the festival, Harrison Atkins’ Untitled Quartinbe Movie, here and make sure to check back for premieres through the end of April.

Everybody who participates in the festival, either as a viewer or as an entrant in the 48-hour filmmaking challenge, is encouraged to make a donation of $10 to the charity of your choice. We recommend Rethink Food, a non-profit organization working to recover nutritious excess food to provide low or no-cost meals to New York City families in need. If you donate, please email documentation of your contribution (a screenshot, a receipt, etc.) to withoutprecedentfilmfest@gmail.com so we can keep track of how much money the festival raises.

Enter the 48-hour filmmaking competition by filling out THIS ENTRY FORM by 11:59pm EST on Friday, April 3rd.

Stay safe, everybody, and good luck!


Submission Guidelines

  • No renting or purchasing anything (equipment, props, etc.)
  • You can only use things you already have around your home
  • You cannot invite over friends or neighbors to collaborate
  • You can collaborate with friends remotely but…
  • No more than three adults total can work on the film (kids are ok)
  • A few exterior shots are allowed if necessary but…
  • Your film must take place at least 90% in your home/interiors
  • Archival and found footage is allowed but must be public domain or otherwise certified free from copyright claim
  • Films must be shorter than five minutes
  • All music used must be original or cleared with documentation

Within 24 hours of receiving your entry information, we will send out a comprehensive email telling you everything you need to know, but if you still have questions, do not hesitate to reach out via Facebook or email us at: withoutprecedentfilmfest@gmail.com


The Team

Adam Kritzer – Founder/Artistic Director
Adam Kritzer is a filmmaker, teaching artist and community organizer.  His movies have screened at international festivals (TIFF, SXSW, CPH), won awards and grants and received limited theatrical distribution.  His essays about music, art and cinema as a social practice have been published by numerous outlets such as Talkhouse and CultureCatch.  In 2016, Adam founded the Art Detectives, a program which helps neurodivergent artists work towards academic and life goals through personalized explorations of their artistic interests.  In 2018, Adam produced a new feature, Froth & Bubble, starring Chloe Levine, Sage Francis and the late Orson Bean.  The project is currently in post and was one of eight American independent films selected to participate in the 2019 US-in-Progress Lab in Paris.  He also has a new short, ARACHNE, which is set to premiere whenever we can go outside again.  Adam lives in Brooklyn with his partner-in-crime and their schanuzer, Upton Sinclair.  

Nick Dawson – Programmer
Nick Dawson is the Editor-in-Chief of Talkhouse Film. He is the author of the 2009 book Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel, the first biography of Hal Ashby, and he edited Hal Ashby: Interviews and Dennis Hopper: Interviews for University Press of Mississippi’s “Conversations with Filmmakers” series. His audio commentary can be heard on the Criterion Collection’s disc of Ashby’s Harold and Maude. Dawson was formerly the Managing Editor at Filmmaker magazine and Associate Editor at the Focus Features website. Born and raised in Scotland, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter and two cats. He is arguably best known for being hospitalized at Sundance 2013 with kidney stones.

Shane Simmons – Programmer
Shane Simmons is a producer, actor, and head of original content at Strange Loop. He recently produced Kendall Goldberg’s debut feature When Jeff Tried To Save the World, as well as Michael Glover Smith’s Mercury in Retrograde, and Stephen Cone’s Henry Gamble’e Birthday Party.  He also helps run the non-profit Elevated Films, which creates first-run independent film events and directs proceeds to youth arts programs in Chicago.  Shane has a passion to champion films that dig deeper into human connection and offer a new perspective of our world and what it might become. A Chicagoan by way of Iowa, he is excited to continue building the independent film community in his adopted home.


Eddie Linker
Eddie Linker is a Co-founder of Forager Film Company. Forager has an extensive list of supporting independent filmmakers including Joe Swanberg, Alex Ross Perry, Kris Rey, Josephine Decker, Zach Clark, Larry Fessenden and Lynn Shelton. The goal is to create an environment where you can create interesting and challenging films, while creating an ecosystem that everyone can survive and thrive in. He is and always has been based in Chicago. He has a career in finance, also taught at Northwestern and DePaul University, and is one of the Founders of Elevated Films Chicago

Chloë Levine
Chloë Levine is an actress and filmmaker who has shown her versatility in film and television.  She received critical acclaim for her performance in The Ranger, which premiered at South by Southwest, and The Transfiguration, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Current projects for Levine include Netflix’s The OA Part II and  The Society, which are both streaming now. Levine will be seen in season two of Netflix’s Trinkets, which has yet to premiere. She acted in indie feature Froth and Bubble for which she also produces, and Antarctica for which she also executive produces. Levine made her directorial debut with her short film Dragon, which won the 2014 Tribeca Film Institute “Our City, My Story” Award for Best Experimental Short. Levine looks forward to using what she has learned in her acting experience to create more content as a filmmaker.

Jeffrey Bowers
Jeffrey Bowers is a Senior Curator at Vimeo, where his responsibilities include selecting Staff Picks, managing Staff Pick Awards and Vimeo’s Best of the Year awards. His background includes programming features and shorts for the Tribeca Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, and Rooftop Films. He also co-curated VICE media’s VICE Shorts, where he wrote the short film column, I’m Short, Not Stupid. Bowers has served on juries and participated in speaking engagements at places like the Berlin Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and SXSW Film Festival.