The Big Muddy Film Festival, based at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has become one of the best-respected, wholly independent, community-focused film festivals. In its 40th year, Big Muddy is one of the oldest student-organized film festivals in the United States.

Awards & Prizes

The Festival provides cash awards to the best works in competition in the categories of experimental, documentary, narrative, and animation. The program is juried by three artists or critics of national and international recognition. Past Jurors have included Barbara Hammer, Naomi Uman, Jim Jarmusch, Kerry Laitala, James Benning, Tomonari Nishikawa, Anna Margarita Albelo and Alrick Brown.

A panel of local activists awards The John Michaels Memorial Film Award, which honors films as activism that address themes of peace, justice, community action, human rights, and environmental conservation.

As always, votes from the audience determine the Audience Choice Award.

Rules & Terms

Accepted Formats:
For pre-viewing: DVD/Blu-Ray or .MOV Quicktime, or online screeners
For The Festival screening: DVD/Blu-Ray or .MOV Quicktime

The Big Muddy Film Festival is looking for films of any style, length, content, and genre. The Festival is organized into the categories of experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation.

Cash prizes are awarded to the best of competition in each category. The John Michaels Film Award continues to recognize and honors films as forms of activism addressing themes of peace, justice, community action, human rights, and environmental conservation.

Each work submitted should be accompanied by an entry form and fee. Please submit only one film for each entry form, and include only one film per screener DVD.

Multiple submissions are welcome. If you wish to submit more than one film, please use separate entry forms and screener DVDs.

Works must be in English or with English subtitles. All films should be completed after Jan. 2016. Works that had been previously submitted to The Big Muddy Film Festival are not eligible.

Please do not mail films in fiber filled envelopes. Remember to label your film(s) with the FilmFreeway ID, director/producer's names, film title, and running time.

6 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Xstine Cook

    Fun, professional festival with a big heart

    March 2017
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    Maryanne Galvin

    Though unable to attend, my pre-festival experience with the Festival crew was fantastic--well organized, clear, communications. Congrats to this festival and to all who participated.

    March 2017
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    richard martin

    An honor to be part of the Big Muddy!

    March 2017
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    Cati and Mike Gonzalez

    Big Muddy is an awesome Film Festival! We love the fact that it is student driven and inspires young new upcoming Filmmakers. Thanks BMFF for having our Film screen at your Fest! :)

    May 2016
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    Diana Galimzyanova

    A really supportive festival that cares about its alums. I was happy to screen two of my short films there in 2015 and 2016.

    May 2016