The Dead in Decatur film festival is dedicated to exposing the community to independent genera films; both short and long. We showcase Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Noir, Tokusatsu, Comedy, and documentaries.

We feel it is important to try and keep up with modern audience habits and viewing practices, to that end the Festival is working towards streaming the festival along with the physical event. that will be happening.

We currently offer no cash prizes.

Awards include:
Viewers Choice Best Feature
Viewers Choice Best Short
Best feature film
Best short film
Best SFX Effects
Best Local project


The film must be less than three years old from the date of submissions opening.

The film may be of any length. Any film with a run time of less than 45 minutes falls under the category of short film. Any film with a run time of more than 45 minutes is considered to be a feature film

The film should fall into any genres or sub-genres of Horror, Thriller, Noir, Science Fiction, Kaiju, Tokusatsu, Urban fantasy, Cyberpunk, tabletop RPG, and fantasy.

Physical submission copies may be sent to:
Dead in Decatur
1929 west sunset ave
Decatur, IL 62522

Preview DVDs must be marked (or in a small case marked) with:

Name Of Film
Name of Director
Running Time
Contact Info (including phone number and email)

Screeners/Preview DVD's must be sent on DVD +/ DVD - format or by secure online screener.
Send DVD submissions in a standard flat rate envelope or smaller to save space and create less trash.
Please do not send any cash.
All fees are non-refundable.
DO NOT send mail that needs to be signed for
Any and All DVD preview screeners, DVD or BluRay Exhibition Screeners, and press materials and posters WILL NOT be returned via mail or at the festival.

Films must have been made for under 1 million dollars (USD) (or the equivalent in foreign currency)
Film must not currently have major distribution in United States
DVD preview screeners WILL NOT be returned
Dead in Decatur will only accept international non-English films that have been subtitled or dubbed into English.
All DVD submissions are pre-screened by 3 separate screeners.
Festival show times are subject to delay or change.
Any filmmaker or entourage acting in an aggressive or disrespectful manner to any of the staff or employees of the festival may have their films pulled from exhibition (and from our web site) at any time with no return of fees or refund of any festival purchases.
ALL FEES are non-refundable.
IF dead in decatur does not receive an exhibition copy within two weeks of the festival, DiD may screen the Preview Copy on hand. Filmmakers may wish to provide a non-watermarked/non-DVD-menu-style Screener/Preview Copy when submitting, to be on the safe side.
All winners who wish to have their films screened will have to provide the festival immediately with a high quality DVD and digital copy of the film upon being accepted to the festival. IF we do not receive one we will use your Preview / Screener DVD. You may wish to send a screen-able copy of your DVD as your screener copy to be safe.
Films do not have to be screened for an audience to be eligible for our festival, prizes, or awards (excluding The People's Choice Awards).
In submitting to Dead in Decatur you authorize dead in decatur the legal right to screen your submitted work publicly, and additionally are admitting ownership of the property submitted, and of any and all trademarks & copyrights needed to legally authorize a screening.
If for whatever reason you have a film that cannot be screened publicly, please let us know (in case you choose to premiere at an alternate event after already submitting to dead in decatur or other issues that may arise).
If dead in decatur is not notified in writing one month prior to the festival, or by the date any print, television, or web ads with specific reference to your film begin to appear to the public, dead in decatur reserves the right to screen your submitted film at our discretion.
If your film is not screened at this years festival due to conflicts, dead in decatur also reserves the right to screen your submitted film in the 48 months following our festival.

Festival is not responsible for broken or non-functioning films.
Any BluRay Exhibition Copies submitted must by accompanied with an additional DVD backup copy (Region 1 or 0, NTSC only, with no Watermarks, no Menu Screen, and identical chapter settings).
Must be 18 years of age or older (or have your parent/guardian submit on your behalf) to enter the competition.
dead in dectaur reserves the right to refuse service to anyone.


By submitting your film you are agreeing to allow Dead in Decatur to show a screening of your film at our film festival, double feature events, and online. You also give Dead in Decatur rights to use any promotional materials, images, trailers, and websites to promote both your film screening and events as a whole.

Dead In Decatur Film Festival (hereinafter, the "Company") does not and cannot control the content or accuracy of information available through hyperlinks on its homepage to other Web Sites. The Company is not a publisher of content posted by third-parties on linked sites. The Company exercises no editorial control over, and accordingly accepts no liability for, any information posted on linked sites.
Right To Enter. Entrants warrant that they have the legal right to enter film work to the Dead in Decatur film festival as Director/Producer/Submitter of the Film, entrants have submitted and represent and warrant to the Dead in Decatur film festival that the Film and all parts thereof are original; that the Film does not contravene the rights of any person or entity and that entrants own or control the Film and all parts thereof and have the sole authority to submit the Film to the Dead in Decatur film festival; the Film entrants submitted to the company is not subject to nor threatened by any litigation. Entrants acknowledge that no fiduciary or confidential relationship now exists between the Festival and entrants, and entrants further acknowledge that no such relationship is established by these guidelines, the submission of the Film, or by the company's FESTIVAL'S acceptance, review or retention of the Film.

Dead in Decatur film festival would like to thank you for taking the time to read through all of our legal ass covering, as a gift we would like to grant you 1/2 off your entry into our festival.

Just use the code____ThriftyReader_____when submitting your entry.

Overall Rating
  • AJ Gordon

    Great festival with great organizers!

    January 2018
  • Devi Snively

    Sadly, I couldn't attend, so I can't speak to hospitality and networking, but communication was friendly and smooth as silk, and judging by their website and FB Page, these folks know how to put on a rockin' good horror fest. We were honored to be included and look forward for the opportunity to participate in person next time.

    October 2017
  • Unfortunately, living across the pond, it was not practical for me to attend. I did however find the staff consistently helpful and communicative and their facebook updates were more than enough to keep me in the loop. It was a joy to be a part of the festival. Thanks Guys

    October 2017
  • Cynthia Bergen

    Thank you! Selecting Dead Love. You have a fantastic film festival, Keep up the good work.
    Cynthia Bergen
    No Sleep Films

    October 2017
  • Mari Cielo Pajares

    Cool festival!

    May 2016