East Lansing Film Festival (ELFF), the largest and second oldest in Michigan, showcases films from around the world and from our backyard. We screen features, documentaries, many shorts and student films. A popular ELFF section is the Lake Michigan Film Competition that awards cash prizes for films made in the states that border Lake Michigan - Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. All festival films contend for Audience Awards.

The East Lansing Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of screening independent films from around the world. ELFF screens four extensive short film programs, a student film program, plus features and documentaries. The festival features parties, an all-day hospitality room with delicious food and drinks. We invite many directors to attend the film festival. Past visiting directors have included Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Bruce Campbell.

We encourage you to contact us and submit your film for consideration.

DO NOT APPLY IN THE OPEN CATEGORIES of feature, documentary or short if your film was at least one-quarter produced, directed or financed in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin. Please apply to one of the LAKE MICHIGAN FILM COMPETITION (LMFC) categories, rather than the open Feature, Short Films or Documentary categories. Only entries to LMFC categories are eligible for cash prizes.

Please read and follow the Entry Regulations carefully.

Entry Regulations:

1.Works in progress will NOT be accepted.

2. Submission will not be considered unless accompanied by appropriate fee, completed FilmFreeway online entry form, and a 25-35 word summary. Press and publicity materials are appreciated but only required after being accepted into festival.

3. All entries must be in English or contain English subtitles.

4. If your film is selected for festival screening, you must supply 300dpi resolution color stills (not of the production but from the film itself). We also require as much publicity material that is available.

5. If your film is selected for festival screening, you must supply a Digital copy and a Blu-Ray copy of your film.

9.The festival director must authorize exceptions to the festival regulations.


The entrant must pay the cost of shipping an entry print to the festival. Collect or COD shipments will not be accepted. All international entries must be sent "free domicile" to the Festival Office with all transportation charges, duties, and taxes prepaid by the shipper. Any brokerage fees charged to the East Lansing Film Festival will be billed back to the shipper. Be sure to include all the proper customs documentation required by your shipping service.


-Entries must not have been previously submitted to the East Lansing Film Festival.
-Submissions must have been produced since April 2015.
-Entries must be in English or subtitled in English.

Films or videos of any length (feature, short), style or genre (narrative, documentary, animation, etc.) are accepted (see appropriate category). If selected for screening, the filmmaker will be contacted by email by September 15, 2017.

Blu-Rays, DVDs and digital files must be received at least 14 days prior to the festival start date or a screening copy will be used.

Submissions received without the proper entry fee WILL NOT be considered for entry in the ELFF and will not be returned.

Overall Rating
  • Elisabeth Hayward

    East Lansing Film Festival was incredible! I’m so glad that I came from CA to attend. Susan was very present in making sure that things were running smoothly. Both the staff and venue were warm and inviting - you could tell they truly cared about the films and filmmakers. Thank you ELFF!

    December 2018
  • Robin Russin

    A warm, carefully curated, well-run festival. Susan and the other organizers went out of their way to make this a welcoming event for us filmmakers, and extended themselves personally to help with logistics, etc. We had a wonderful time. And East Lansing is a charming college town!

    November 2018
  • Susanna Styron

    Wonderful festival. Director Susan Woods, staff and volunteers could not be more accommodating and supportive. Screening quality was superb, in a state of the art theater. I had a great time, and recommend it to all.

    November 2017
  • Everyone at the festival was very courteous and there was very good communication. Thank you!

    November 2017
  • I couldn't attend this year but the communication with festival programmers was wonderful always quick response and I heard screening quality was also fantastic.

    January 2017