The Fault Line Film Festival at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau is an annual short film competition for university and high school students. The festival, celebrating its 14th year, offers cash prizes and trophies in several categories, as well as a $1000 grand prize to the Best of Festival recipient.

Selected films will be screened at the 500-seat Rose Theatre, and award-winning filmmakers will be honored during a ceremony after the screening. Enthusiastic crowds select their favorite film for the Audience Choice Award. After the screenings, door prizes are given away, and a local venue will host an after-party for filmmakers.

Student filmmakers are invited to attend free master classes during the festival, presented by national and regional film professionals.

The Fault Line Film Festival selects one Best of Festival winner, which comes with a $1000 cash prize.

The Judges' Award, with a cash prize of $250, is given to a film with unique technical or artistic excellence.

The Audience Choice Award, with a cash prize of $250, is selected by the audience after the gala screenings.

The festival awards $250 cash prizes to the following category winners:

Best Drama
Best Comedy
Best Mystery/Suspense
Best Animation
Best Alternative
Best Long Form
Best High School Film
Best Documentary

All award winners and honorable mention recipients receive a trophy and are recognized at an awards ceremony following the gala. Filmmakers in attendance will also receive a custom movie poster of their screened film. Posters are designed by SECreative, the student advertising agency at Southeast Missouri State University.

All currently-enrolled university, college or high school students are eligible to participate in the Fault Line Film Festival. Recent graduates are also eligible if their submission was produced while they were a student.

Films must have been produced in 2022 or later to be eligible for the 2024 Fault Line Film Festival. No previous submissions will be accepted.

Student films up to 15 minutes in length should be submitted in one of the following categories: Drama, Comedy, Mystery/Suspense, Animation, High School, Documentary and Alternative. The Alternative Category encompasses narrative films that are difficult to categorize, such as musicals or experimental narratives.

Films between 15 and 30 minutes in length in any genre should be submitted in the Long Form Category. Judges reserve the right to move a film to another category if it is to the benefit of the filmmaker. High School films over 15 minutes should still be entered in the High School category.

A $20.00 entry fee is required with all entries.

Films must be submitted online. Films must be high-resolution and uploaded to an HD website (such as Vimeo). URL information should be included with your submission. Make sure the URL is accessible to the judging committee (include passwords if necessary).

The entry deadline for this year's festival is January 31, 2024.

Finalists will be notified via email and presented with an invitation to attend the awards ceremony and gala screening on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

The Fault Line Film Festival has the authority to use stills, clips, posters, titles, or any information from the submission materials for promotional purposes.

The Fault Line Film Festival is held harmless of any claims, losses, damages, liabilities, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, or screening of any film.

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  • Nathan Blizzard

    A great film festival for student filmmakers!

    April 2023
  • Asher Anantham

    Great opportunity for young filmmakers!

    April 2023
  • Corey Holl

    Had a great time! The films were awesome and the people were very fun! Definitely coming back

    May 2022
  • Quite a wonderful first film festival to submit to!

    April 2021