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Mission statement

At the Midwest Film Festival, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, our mission is to showcase and celebrate the exceptional talent of regionally produced cinema while providing unwavering support and empowerment to these filmmakers. 

As the nation's only year-round film festival exclusively dedicated to the Midwestern filmmaker, we are deeply committed to building diverse audiences, offering valuable educational resources, and fostering inclusion to cultivate genuine relationships. Together, we are actively contributing to the growth and vitality of the local film industry, ensuring its continued success and lasting impact.

The Midwest Film Festival is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, which receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Board of Directors



Executive Director

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will Meyers

Board President

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Jonathan Becker

Board Vice President

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Mia Wicklund


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Neil Kocsis


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Michele Santiago

Board Member

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Board Member

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NK Gutiérrez

Operations Director

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Raul Benitez

Senior Programmer

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Carlos rogelio diaz

Event Coordinator

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mary kay cook


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harold dennis

Volunteer Coordinator

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Marki Michelle

Olivia Lilley

Osiris Khepera

Rajee Aerie

RJ Rodriguez

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savanna wrobel

Sierra Jackson

Snore doumbia

stephanie santos

te mitchiner

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Theophilus Jamal

Trina Quach

A.J. McClenon

Alessandra Pinkston

Alexandra Halkin

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Alyssa Neyland

Brandon Walley

Dana Anderson

Derek Dow

Emily Masincup

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Ian Szetho_edited.jpg
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Emily Seddon

Erik Wagner

Gustavo Martin

Ian Szetho

Isra Rene

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Jeffrey Gabriel Silva

Jonae Perkins

Katelyn Henslin

Lewis Ojeda

Lucia Agajanian

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Maria Estefania Mena Huertas

James Choi

Meg Altschul



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  • Which states count as the Midwest?
    We follow The Census Bureau's definition consists of 12 states in the north central United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • What exactly do you mean by "Midwest film"?"
    Ideally, a “Midwest film” is one that is wholly produced in the Midwest by Midwest filmmakers. However, on an individual basis, we do also consider films produced by Midwest filmmakers outside of the Midwest and films produced by non-Midwest filmmakers within the Midwest.
  • If a Chicago filmmaker shoots a film out of the midwest, does that qualify?"
    Films produced outside of the Midwest are considered on an individual basis. If a film is shot in Wyoming and the director, producer and lead actors are all Midwest, then it is likely we will accept that film for consideration. If a film is shot in Wyoming with an all-Wyoming cast and crew but the editor is Midwest, it is unlikely we will accept the film for consideration. The best thing to do is to get in touch us before submitting your film if you are unsure your film will qualify.
  • What are the specs for film submissions (length, genre, etc.)? "
    The Midwest Independent Film Festival will consider films ranging anywhere from one to 120 minutes. We will consider films from all genres – narrative, documentary, experimental, music video, animated, etc. If your film is accepted to our festival, we will require BluRay, DCP or uncompressed Quicktime file for screening.
  • When will I be notified about my submission status?
    Because our film festival screenings are held year-round, the screening process can range from three weeks to a few months as we often program our monthly screenings around a theme or specific focus such as by genre, or within established annual events such as Female Filmmakers Night or Advertising Community Shorts Night. Generally speaking, though, a film is considered under consideration until the filmmaker is notified otherwise.
  • What are you looking for in a film and what's your selection process?
    We're dedicated to great Midwest filmmakers, films, and stories of any genre or length, and each submission is considered and scored on an individual basis. Upon submission, members of our Screening Committee** view and score each film 1-10 in the following areas: - Creativity/originality: is it a fresh idea, creatively executed? - Direction - Writing - Cinematography - Performances - Production value - Pacing - Structure - Sound quality/music After each film is scored by Screening Committee members in these areas, an overall score is calculated from each judge based on the average scores given in each area. Overall scores given by the judges are then calculated to formulate an overall average score. Films receiving high scores from the Screening Committee advance to be considered for screening. Screening Committee members and festival leadership then work together to program each month's film lineup based on many factors like overall film quality, as well as other factors such as monthly theme, flow with other films (if showing multiple films in one night), timeliness of film's message, and similarity to other recently screened films. Which is to say, sometimes we have to reject great films because we recently showed a film on a similar topic or other very practical reason. ** Our Screening Committee is made up entirely of volunteers who are film industry professionals. At present, we have 34 members of the Screening Committee, and approximately 54% of the committee is female-identifying
  • What is this policy for?
    This privacy policy is for this website and served by Midwest Film Festival and governs the privacy of its users who choose to use it. The policy sets out the different areas where user privacy is concerned and outlines the obligations & requirements of the users, the website and website owners. Furthermore the way this website processes, stores and protects user data and information will also be detailed within this policy.
  • The Website
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    Users contacting this website and/or its owners do so at their own discretion and provide any such personal details requested at their own risk. Your personal information is kept private and stored securely until a time it is no longer required or has no use. Every effort has been made to ensure a safe and secure form to email submission process, but visitors using these forms do so at their own risk. Midwest Film Festival and its owners use any information submitted to provide you with further information about the products/services offered or to assist you in answering any questions or queries you may have submitted. This includes using your details to subscribe you to any email newsletter program the website operates - only if this was made clear to you and your express permission was granted when submitting any form to email process. Your details are not passed on to any third parties.
  • Email Newsletter
    This website allows visitors to sign up for an electronic newsletter to stay up to date on the Festival and other MFF News and Events. Users can subscribe at their own discretion. Some subscriptions may be manually processed through prior written agreement with the user. Email marketing campaigns published by this website or its owners may contain tracking facilities within the actual email. Subscriber activity is tracked and stored in a database for future analysis and evaluation. Such tracked activity may include; the opening of emails, forwarding of emails, the clicking of links within the email content, times, dates and frequency of activity [this is by no far a comprehensive list]. This information is used to refine future email campaigns and supply the user with more relevant content based around their activity. In compliance with US Spam Laws, subscribers are given the opportunity to un-subscribe at any time through an automated system. This process is detailed at the footer of each email campaign. If an automated un-subscription system is unavailable clear instructions on how to un-subscribe will by detailed instead.
  • External Links
    Although this website strives to include only quality, safe and relevant external links, users are advised to adopt a policy of caution before clicking any external web links mentioned throughout this website. The owners of this website cannot guarantee or verify the contents of any externally linked website despite their best efforts. Users should therefore note they click on external links at their own risk and this website and its owners cannot be held liable for any damages or implications caused by visiting any external links mentioned.
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