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. All festival films contend for Audience Awards.Cash Prizes will be awarded for the Best Feature, Documentary and Short Film.

The East Lansing Film Festival will celebrate its 22nd year of screening independent films from around the world. ELFF screens two extensive short film programs, 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.

The Lake Michigan Film Competition (LMFC) that was previously a section of ELFF is now going to be a film festival of its own in February 2020. If you have recently submitted a film from the four states, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, that qualify for the LMFC, they will be reviewed by the LMFC film selection committee for the festival in February.

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

$400 for Best Feature Film without major distribution.
$400 for Best Documentary without major distribution.
$200 for Best Short Film without major distribution.

Definition of major distribution: a recognized Distribution Company.
Self-distribution qualifies for the award.

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.


-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 10, 2019.

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
  • Alexa Villarreal

    ELFF has well curated, quality films. The overall experience ran so smooth, Susan goes above and beyond to put on a top notch festival experience.

    November 2019
  • I was unable to make it to the festival, but have heard fantastic things about Susan and the crew at East Lansing. The communication was stellar. I look forward to the opportunity to be part of this festival in the future.

    November 2019
  • An awesome Michigan-based and student-run film festival that has been a central part of the East Lansing film community for many years, with great audience participation for the Q&A at the end of screenings!

    January 2019
  • 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