DreadFest is the Pacific Northwest's home-grown horror film festival. For over 10 years, we have served as an outlet for local Seattle-area filmmakers to screen their short, independent horror films to a live audience as well as an ever-growing online fanbase.

The first DreadFest back in October 2010 only consisted of a few entries and attendees, but word quickly spread, and the film festival has since snowballed into a large gathering of filmmakers and fright fans from all over the Pacific Northwest, and entries have been submitted from all across the country.

We look forward to screening your horror short!

Visit our website for more information:

If your film is accepted into DreadFest, it may be eligible for one or more of the following awards**:
• Best Picture
• Best Performance
• Best Screenplay
• Best Soundtrack
• Best Scare
• Best Gore
• Best Creature
• Audience Favorite

** Please note that award winners will receive specialized film festival laurels. Since we have removed the admission and submission fees, no monetary prizes will be awarded this year.

Make sure your short film adheres to these rules before submitting. Failure to meet the criteria will result in disqualification, and your film will not be screened at the film festival. Depending on the qualifications left unmet, you may receive an email with suggestions on how to make your film meet the criteria with the least amount of editing possible.
DreadFest is a friendly atmosphere, and there are only a few points of subject matter that will not be tolerated. The rules are as follows:

1) No Nudity
Failure to meet this criteria will automatically disqualify your film. The amount of nudity considered passable would be what is considered okay for a PG-13 rating. If your film features nudity, depending on the severity, we may suggest you edit a pixelated effect over the parts in question, or edit around the parts in question.

2) Keep Your Short Film Short (Preferably around 10 mins or less)
We all enjoy well-realized worlds and storylines, but due to the nature of DreadFest, we would like to ask that entrants keep their films around 10 minutes or under. With a limited number of time slots available, we want the opportunity to screen as many entries as possible at DreadFest, and longer films may eat into that timing. Depending on the length of your film, we may suggest you edit your entry down, cut out dead space, or shave down the credits sequence. There is no minimum length for entries.

3) Blood and Gore? Go For It!
Unlike the other rules, 'blood and gore' does not need to be kept to a PG-13 rating. We encourage our entrants to go all out and get creative with this one. It's not everyday you get to sling fake blood and entrails all over your best friends... hopefully! Please note that blood and gore is, of course, not a requirement.

4) Safety Required / No Real Weaponry
As much as we like Rule 4 in this list, all the violence on screen must be simulated. NO EXCEPTIONS. The safety and security of your actors and actresses on set should always be your top priority. Real knives can be seen on screen for effect, but your short film may be disqualified if we deem your actors or actresses were at risk during production of your movie. Using plastic guns with orange tips is also the safest practice for handling scenes that require firearms. The orange tips can be edited out in post production. Trespassing onto private property is also illegal and not condoned by DreadFest or its affiliates. DreadFest is not responsible for any failures to ensure the security and safety of any actors/actresses involved in the filming of entries for the film festival. Any entry whose filming has resulted in the injury of its actors/actresses as a result of negligence will be automatically disqualified. Use common sense.

5) English Audio / Subtitles
DreadFest screens to a primarily English-speaking audience, and we would like to ask that submissions that may be in other languages be dubbed with English voices, or feature burned-in English subtitles in the video file. We want the entire audience to enjoy your short film to the fullest, and don't want to risk losing them in translation.

6) Have Fun!
DreadFest for some is an escape from the worries of this world. We invite anyone and everyone to create a short horror film that they and their friends can be proud of, and share their scares with friends and family on the big night. Your talent level does not matter. Your equipment does not matter. Your stories do!

Overall Rating
  • Richard Louprasong

    Sadly, I was not able to attend this festival but Wes the festival organizer was great in communicating! It sound like a blast! And I wish I was able to make it! Hopefully, next time! Congrats on another successful year!

    October 2023
  • Dennis Edwards

    Loved the films and the atmosphere of this festival, lots of kind people. Definitely going again next time.

    October 2023
  • This was a blast- I love how weird dreadfest is and I'll hopefully bring more future work to screen there.

    February 2020
  • Cynthia Bergen

    Thank you! For Official Selection of Abscessed. Keep up the good work supporting Indie Horror. Hope to do it all over again next year!
    Cynthia Bergen #nosleepfilms

    October 2019
  • Keith Adams

    I was not able to attend, but Wes, the organizer was so supportive and communicative. I was worried about my screening and really wanted feedback. Wes sent a nice follow up email and even posted a couple of videos of people talking about my film! Top notch, would love to make it out for my next project.

    October 2019