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All filmmakers, of any race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion, age, physical limitations, immigration status or economic status are encouraged to submit qualifying work.

The Midwest Film Festival considers all submitted work equally on a basic of both technical and artistic merits.

The Midwest Film Festival accepts submissions for consideration via FilmFreeway.

Shorts program theme highlights of 2024:

Impact Night: Movies with Mission, Stories that Matter
Join us for a captivating evening as we showcase impactful movies with a purpose. Impact Night features films that address important social issues and tell inspiring stories. Prepare to be moved and motivated to make a difference through the powerful medium of cinema.

Global Kaleidoscope Night: Exploring Cultural Diversity Through Film
Embark on a cinematic journey around the world with Global Kaleidoscope. This event celebrates the richness of diverse cultures and explores different cultural roots through a thoughtfully curated selection of films. Immerse yourself in captivating stories from various corners of the globe and gain a deeper appreciation for the tapestry of humanity's cultural heritage.

Analog Night: Journeying into the Nostalgia of Analog Cinema
Experience the revival of classic cinema mediums in the Midwest filmmaking community at Analog Night. This special evening celebrates and highlights the artistry of analog film and the passion of analog film enthusiasts. Join us to celebrate the beauty and challenges of (partially or entirely) analog filmmaking. [Note: Digital Projection]

Emerging Filmmakers Night: 10 Films from the Rising Stars of Midwest Filmmaking
We are dedicated to nurturing the next generation of Midwest filmmakers. Emerging Filmmakers Night showcases ten films from talented creators in the first decade of their careers. Whether they are film school students or individuals pursuing their lifelong passion for filmmaking, these emerging filmmakers have arrived and become an integral part of our community. This is their work.

Adcomm Night: Showcasing the Brilliance of the Advertising Industry
Midwest Film Festival's 10th annual Advertising Community Night! Witness the magic of The Midwest's vibrant advertising scene and connect with both newly discovered talent and top executives. This showcase features heartwarming storytelling, mind-blowing special effects, and captivating commercial masterpieces. To qualify, you must be a working professional in the advertising industry. Submit your best work, whether it’s a passion project, a commercial, or something in between. Just ensure you have obtained all the necessary permissions and consents.

  • 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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