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
Board Vice President
Carlos rogelio diaz
mary kay cook
Maria Estefania Mena Huertas
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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
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