Lilongwe Shorts is an international short film festival in Malawi presented by the Film Association of Malawi (FAMA) and Lake of Stars. The first two-day event took place in May 2015 at Crossroads Hotel, featuring over eighty short films, live performances, Q&As with filmmakers, workshops, exhibitions, an awards ceremony, and a morning of Lilongwe Tots – short films for children. Lilongwe Tots returned in 2016 for the Children’s Future Festival at Sunbird Capital Hotel, and in January 2017 Lilongwe Shorts came to the Kamuzu Institute for Youth and Sports for Malawi’s inaugural Festival of Ideas. In March 2018, Lilongwe Shorts screened a selection of African short films at Empire Cinemas in London. Later that year, the Lilongwe Shorts festival returned, hosted at the outdoor amphitheatre of the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. In October 2019, Lilongwe Shorts produced the Euro Film Fest for the EU in Lilongwe and Blantyre, screening Malawian short films alongside European cinema.

WHAT? Lilongwe Shorts is Malawi’s international short film festival. It is presented by the Film Association of Malawi in partnership with Lake of Stars, an arts festival that has been taking place on the shores of Lake Malawi (and in Lilongwe with the 2013 City of Stars Festival) since 2004.

WHEN? The inaugural edition of Lilongwe Shorts took place on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 May 2015; the full programme for the festival may be found here, and a list of the 2015 winners here. After a Lilongwe Tots mini-festival and appearances at the Children’s Future Festival in 2016, the Festival of Ideas in 2017, Set It Off and Lake of Stars London in 2018, the second full edition of the Lilongwe Shorts festival took place on Friday 31 August 2018 at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, with follow-up events planned in Zomba and Blantyre (for which submissions are still open).

WHERE? The festival takes place at an easily accessible location in the heart of Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. The 2018 edition was held at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.

TICKETS were available for K4,000 on the door.

VOLUNTEER at the festival! We are looking for energetic people who would like to be a part of making this event not only a reality but the best it can be. If you might be one of those people, do get in touch:

SUBMIT your work: we welcome all kinds of films. If your piece is under 20 minutes, then it’s eligible! Head over here to get the full lowdown on how to enter your film for consideration.

CONNECT with us! Yes, we’re social: so do like and follow. You should also connect with the Lake of Stars channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

CONTACT us by shooting an email to


8-9 May 2015 Lilongwe Shorts | Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe
9 May 2015 Lilongwe Tots | Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe
19 June 2016 Children’s Future Festival | Sunbird Hotel, Lilongwe
28 January 2017 Festival of Ideas | Kamuzu Institute for Sports, Lilongwe
27 January 2018 Set It Off | Chancellor College, Zomba
10 March 2018 Lake of Stars London | Empire Cinemas, Walthamstow
31 August 2018 Lilongwe Shorts | Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Lilongwe
2018 (exact date TBC) Lilongwe Shorts | Pakachere Backpackers, Zomba
2018 (exact date TBC) Lilongwe Shorts | Jacaranda Cultural Centre, Blantyre
2018 (exact date TBC) Focus on Ability Short Film Festival | Location TBC
Lilongwe Shorts will return to Lilongwe in 2019