Once a year, the Driftless Film Festival brings together the best of new independent cinema with the landscape, artistic energy, and local atmosphere of Southwest Wisconsin. Celebrating its 15th season of bringing independent film to the Driftless Area, DFF continues to provide a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience for audiences and filmmakers alike.

Founded in 2009 by filmmakers Darren Burrows and Nicholas Langholff, DFF was born of a love for independent films, an appreciation of the unusual region, and the joy of spending a weekend immersed in the charm Mineral Point's galleries, shops, restaurants, and bars. It is this delightful marriage of place and cinematic story that is the core of the DFF vision today.

DFF screens each of its films in the Mineral Point Opera House. Beautifully restored in 2009, the theatre retains the atmosphere of its origins as a 1915 vaudeville house. Brought to life by film screenings and live performances year round, the Opera House is both an elegant testament to Mineral Point's passion for preservation and a showcase space for some of the best entertainment in the region.

Each year the festival hosts filmmakers from across the country. Special guests have included Mark Metcalf (Animal House, Seinfeld, Little Red), Anthony Arendt (Muscle Shoals, Avatar), and Matt Adams (We Cause Scenes) among many others. Not only do visiting filmmakers present revealing Q&A discussions during the festival, but the weekend provides an opportunity for filmmakers and attendees to mingle outside the screenings. Friendships form over coffee at the local diner and drafts at the main street bars. This opportunity for one-on-one connection kindles the union of film and community at DFF.

From popular festival hits to locally-produced art, the Driftless Film Festival seeks to showcase the most thought-provoking, innovative, and creative independent cinema of our time. These films will hit home in a place that feels like home. We welcome you to join us.

Each Official Selection will receive digital laurels. Each Nominee and Winner will receive additional digital laurels and a certificate and a trophy.

This year, the DFF proudly introduces the Driftless Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. This award will go to the best in films that are made with a significant connection to the Driftless Area, and is open to filmmakers from the four states that compose the Driftless Area (WI, IL, IA, and MN) or films that are produced in or have a significant connection to the Driftless Area. Details will be announced soon.

Submission to the Driftless Film Festival constitutes an agreement with all festival terms and conditions, and permission to exhibit the work during the festival if selected. Entrants warrant that they have the legal right to submit the work to DFF, that all statements made in this application are true and accurate, and that all necessary rights and clearances have been secured to exhibit the work at the festival.

Entrants will be notified of their submission’s selection status on or about August 1, 2024. Accepted films MUST PROVIDE a DVD, Blu-Ray, or MP4 file. We are not DCP equipped at this time. Foreign language films must be subtitled in English.

Feature films are generally expected to be at least 80 minutes in length. Exceptions can be made at the sole discretion of DFF.

DFF may deny acceptance of any film at its sole discretion. Entry fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.

All films must be submitted through FilmFreeway.

Any costs necessary to deliver the exhibition file to DFF in the required format, or for any necessary subtitling, is the sole responsibility of the entrant.

All accepted films grant DFF and their designated agents’ permission to utilize clips, trailers, and images from the film for DFF and Driftless Film Festival promotional content. The entrant agrees to notify DFF if or when they may lose ownership of the clips, trailers, and images and no longer be able to grant said permission.

If the submission becomes an "Official Selection" and/or wins a prize, DFF requests that this be noted on promotional materials. Festival laurels are available to all Official Selections and Award winners.

Although every possible care will be taken with exhibition material in our possession, DFF is not responsible for loss or damage. Please do not send originals, special prints or master tapes.

Overall Rating
  • An overall wonderful experience! An intimate festival at a great venue with time to get to know film makers and audience members alike. Well done!

    November 2023
  • James Berg

    Very cool festival. It's set in a lovely old town in the beautiful driftless region of Wisconsin, and the films screen in an absolutely gorgeous old Opera House -- but the films and the people are the best part. I saw some fabulous films and met some talented filmmakers.

    November 2023
  • It was my honor to attend this festival and won best film Award . It was so amazing festival .

    November 2023
  • Kara Hakanson

    A major point this festival has going for it is that it is set in the idyllic town of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. I would say I had equal fun being a part of the festival as I did exploring the surroundings! The festival is held in the magnificent Mineral Point Opera House with fun and unique opportunities to network at the events at the end of the night. The festival director was incredibly kind and with how much she had to keep track of, she kept in great communication with all of my emails! Unfortunately, there is no chance to win an award, which I know is something us filmmakers crave, but this festival won't drain your bank account when you submit and honestly, I'm just so happy to see such a vibrant and exciting festival happening in Wisconsin and I had a memorable experience, I can't complain too much.

    January 2018
  • Javad Daraei

    I loved the atmosphere with all the people and could network very well.. It was well organized and an amazing experience for a young filmmaker like me.

    November 2016