Did you know: the world’s first cat film (Falling Cat, 1894) … just happens to be vertical? :-)
However when we started the Vertical Film Festival (VFF) in Australia five years ago there were only two other places to show such works in their native tall-screen format. One was Sonic Acts’ Vertical Cinema, which premièred with commissioned films in Krems, Austria in late 2013 and the other was the 9:16 Film Festival in Adelaide in 2014 (sadly no longer running). The VFF started the first worldwide competition for vertical videos that same year, but since then opportunities for pioneering vertical filmmakers to show their works to live audiences on natively tall-screens have continued to grow (albeit slowly).
Two that have open callouts for the next month are:
Slim Cinema (based in New York City) with a callout till 23 March 2019
Nespresso Talents which is open for entries till 25 March 2019 but is more restrictive, accepting only entries 3 minutes or less on the theme of "We Are What We Eat". (Also, be aware that they essentially take control of your film for as little as €1,000 if you win; the ‘prize’ is in fact a purchase contract from a company called UserFarm, which may or may not suit you.)
We get emails every week from companies looking for vertical video “content” for everything from apps to bus shelters and usually suggest that they contact the filmmakers directly, since you own the rights to your creations. But it suggests to us that there have always been opportunities for vertical works beyond just festivals and Vimeo/YouTube … since 1894!
The VFF runs in even-numbered years; so all being well we’ll be back with more in 2020.