NOTE TO STUDENTS: A student entry waiver period has been extended through January 21st. Use CRIFFstudent24 to enter after January 12.

Our festival started in 2001, as a venue for filmmakers with connections to Iowa to screen their work for peers and general audiences. A big part of CRIFF is recognizing that people with ties to Iowa are in the production industry EVERYWHERE. We're looking for films from anywhere and by anyone, just with an Iowa connection of some sort (details in the Rules section). We've had films submitted from all across the US, and even from other countries! If you don't think your film qualifies, ask just might have an Iowan on set!

The organization's mission is to encourage independent filmmakers with Iowa ties to continue improving their craft, provide a venue to specifically showcase their films, present a unique cultural event to the community, grow the Iowa filmmaking industry, and offer opportunities for networking between Iowa-connected filmmakers everywhere.

Official Selections are honored with TWO SCREENINGS during the Festival, one commemorative T-SHIRT, the entry title featured on promotional statewide media, and advancement into the EDDY AWARDS competition.

Additionally, every entrant, whether selected or not, is welcome to one COMPLIMENTARY FULL-EVENT TICKET, and has the opportunity to schedule a personal CONVERSATION WITH THE JUDGES, on Sunday April 16. This rare opportunity for one-on-one feedback has long been a hallmark of the Festival, and is regarded by many filmmakers as the most valuable perk of entry.

New elements were added in 2023, including a Filmmaker VIP Lounge, all-new Eddy Award Trophies, guest spots on the Screen Speak Podcast, DCP projection technology, and others. The screening schedule was expanded with an earlier start on Friday, and the addition of Student Cinema Sunday, where all selected student films were shown, at a discounted student ticket rate.

The Festival is open to the general public and is held at The Collins Road Theatre located at 1462 Twixt Town Road, Marion, Iowa.

THE EDDY AWARDS are named after Thomas Alva Edison who, among his many other pursuits, was a pioneer in motion picture technology. The term eddy is also defined as "a current moving contrary to the direction of the main current," which is a suitable description for independent filmmakers, who often go against the current trends in mainstream cinema.

GOLD and SILVER EDDY Awards are presented in Professional, Pro-Am and Student categories for Features, Shorts, Documentaries, and "Freestyle" (experimental, music video, video art, etc.) films. We also award the AUDIENCE CHOICE and STUDENT CINEMA AUDIENCE CHOICE EDDYs, voted on by audience members.

Additionally, the COLLINS ROAD THEATRES SCHOLARSHIP ($1000) is awarded each year to a student filmmaker in order to further the recipient's filmmaking education and career.

Finally, the IOWA CONNECTION EDDY is awarded to the film that best represents Iowa's filmmaking community. The winner is a film that tells the world WHO is making films in Iowa, WHY they're doing it in Iowa, and WHAT stories come from Iowa.

We don't have a ton of rules. There is no date-of-completion requirement. If you want to enter film school work from 20 years ago, we're not going to stop you. Films entered in earlier Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festivals are not eligible.

The big rule that's unique to our event, is that the entry must have an IOWA CONNECTION. That could be a crew or cast member who lived, worked or went to school in Iowa; a film that was produced, at least in part, in Iowa; or a story featuring an Iowa subject or Iowan (present or former, real or fictional). If you don't think your film qualifies, ask just might have an Iowan on set!

We define ProAm filmmakers as those who earn less than 50% of their income from filmmaking and/or media production activities. This includes film, commercial production, event videography, TV news and other occupations that would indicate a filmmaker's experience and/or training in production, and/or provide access to professional equipment, talent, facilities, etc. Films submitted by ProAm filmmakers, but with professional key crew members (director, DP, editor, producer) must be entered as Professional. The Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival reserves the right to reassign entries to more appropriate categories, if deemed necessary. Filmmakers will be notified in the event of a change.

Selected entries may have clips and/or stills used for promotional purposes.

Copyright law requires the entrant have written permission from the owner of any material protected by copyright which is used within this entry. Copyrighted material may include, but is not limited to, film/video clips, logos, photos, artwork, music and dialogue that has been previously published.
The Entrant acknowledges as follows:
The Entrant has read, understood, and complied with all eligibility requirements of the Festival.
The Entrant agrees to allow The Festival to use its Entry and any accompanying materials for The Festival’s promotional campaign. The Entrant has secured all necessary rights and permissions for the Entry to be exhibited at The Festival, and for any images provided to The Festival for publicity purposes. The Entrant will indemnify and hold harmless The Festival, Collins Road Theatres, and their agents and assigns from any claims or losses that result from Entrant’s failure to obtain necessary right or permissions, including attorney’s fees incurred by the indemnified parties. The Entrant with, at its own expense, defend and indemnify each of the foregoing entities or persons from and against all actions; proceedings, claims, demands, damages, costs, and expenses (whether by settlement or award of damages made against the indemnified parties by a final judicial judgment or otherwise) by or due to any third party with respect to the infringement or alleged infringement of any patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, or other proprietary right which may be involved in the creation, use, exhibition or publicity of the Entrant’s Entry. The Entrant holds The Festival, Collins Road Theatres, and their agents harmless from any damage to or loss of the Entry en route or otherwise during the course of The Festival’s possession of The Entry. For full effect, record a voice actor reading the above paragraph, and see how far you can speed it up before it's unintelligible.

Overall Rating
  • Kazek Israni-Winger

    This is my favorite film festival! Eric, Scott, and the whole CRIFF Crew are always so supportive of local film and I really admire them and I love going every year!

    December 2023
    Response from festival:

    Kazek, thank you so much for the kind words! It's always a pleasure to see your work!

  • Michael Huntington

    For sure one of the best film festivals in Iowa! A ton of fun and great for networking.

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Michael, we're glad you had a good time! Thank you for sharing "Shut the Box" with CRIFF and our attendees! And by the way, you had GREAT t-shirts!

  • Tony Cross

    The 2023 CRIFF was my first film festival ever, and WOW... What an amazing experience! I had so much fun, and it was a joy to meet other filmmakers from across the Midwest. Can't wait until next year!

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Tony, we are so glad you had a positive experience! It was great to meet you, and we look forward to seeing your future work. Thank you for sharing "The King's Eye" with us!

  • Jim Haverkamp

    A festival run by true movie lovers! I wasn't able to attend in person, but the team was very helpful, communicative, and the opportunity to speak with the judges was terrific. Will definitely be submitting in the future. Thanks for everything!

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    We appreciate the kind words, Jim. Thank you for sharing "The Voice in Isabel Fleiss's Office" with CRIFF and our audience!

  • Nathan Blizzard

    Great film festival! Very supportive of student filmmakers and I highly recommend it!

    April 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Nathan, and thanks for sharing "Exodus" with us. It's always great to see films from our Nebraska neighbors!