The Footcandle Film Festival is designed to bring unique, interesting, challenging and entertaining films to Western North Carolina. The festival is held by the founders and members of the Footcandle Film Society, a 600 member group dedicated to screening and discussing films on a monthly basis. The festival will be held at the Drendel Auditorium on the SALT Block in Hickory, North Carolina between September 27th and 29th, 2019. The festival will include an opening reception, filmmaker Q&A sessions, and a closing reception with awards.


Feature-length (running time greater than 40 minutes) and short films (running time less than 40 minutes) will be screened at the festival covering a variety of subjects.

Submissions will be categorized in one of four categories: Narrative Short Film, Documentary Short Film, Narrative Feature, or Documentary Feature. At the festival closing ceremonies awards will be given for Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short Film , Best Documentary Feature, and Best Documentary Short Film as selected by a jury, and two awards selected by festival attendees - Audience Favorite Feature & Audience Favorite Short.


The Visiting Writers Series of Lenoir-Rhyne University will provide a $1,000 cash prize to a single winner of the first year of the scriptwriting competition. All entries will be reviewed and the winner will be announced in August 2019.

The winner will be asked to receive their award in person on Thursday, September 26th at an event co-sponsored by the Lenoir-Rhyne University Visiting Writers Series and the 2019 Footcandle Film Festival. The event will consist of the author discussing their work, a table reading of a portion of their script, and a Question-and-Answer session. A travel stipend and complimentary hotel room will also be provided to the filmmaker.


A screening committee will evaluate and select films to be presented at the Footcandle Film Festival with entrants being notified of their status during the month of July 2019. An estimated 30 to 40 films (a combination of feature-length and short films) will be selected for invitation to screen during the festival weekend.

In the weeks leading up to the festival weekend, a jury will view and select the Festival winners (in the categories of Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature & Best Documentary Short). The awards will be announced at the end of the festival on Sunday night. The Audience Favorite Feature & Audience Favorite Short awards will be decided by audience voting throughout the festival weekend and also announced at the closing reception.

Criteria for Submission:
• All entries must be postmarked no later than May 25th, 2019 for submission.
• All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2017.
• All films must be in English or have English subtitles. Non-subtitled or dubbed foreign language films will not be considered.
• All clearances must be obtained for exhibition.
• Entries should be submitted through FilmFreeway (online submission). If any reason prohibits a filmmaker from using the online service, a DVD can be mailed to the Film Society with a label indicating the title and running time.
• Only the Producer, Director, Screenwriter or someone closely connected to the film may complete the application. Schools may submit films on behalf of student filmmakers.

Filmmakers whose films are accepted for competition will be notified by email by approximately July 22nd, 2019.


Writers of any age may enter provided that contest entry by minors is not prohibited by law in your local jurisdiction.

All scripts must be submitted in English. Our Judges cannot evaluate screenplays written in foreign languages.

Writers who reside in countries other than the United States are welcome to enter the contest; however, all scripts must be submitted in English and entry fees must be paid in U.S. dollars.

Accepted submissions are completed screenplays ONLY. No concepts or treatments.

Script documents should be submitted in PDF format only.

Pages must be numbered. Before you submit your script, please check to make sure there are no missing or duplicated pages.

Include a standard title page, listing the title of your script, the name of the author(s), mailing address, telephone number, and email address. This is for our administrative purposes only.

Please do not enclose synopses, casting suggestions, letters, resumes, or photos with your submission.

Entries must be original screenplays or short stories. Novels and stage plays are not eligible.

Scripts must be the original work of the author(s) and may not be encumbered by any third party. Scripts that have been sold, produced, or are currently under option are not eligible.

Adaptations of books, plays, or other source material written by another author are eligible for submission. We accept no liability for scripts that have been adapted from third party authors' work that may infringe intellectual property rights. It is the responsibility of the writer(s) to acquire rights to any adapted work prior to any public dissemination. Scripts adapted from your own books, plays, or another source material is eligible as well.

Entries must be transmitted electronically on or before midnight Eastern Time on the posted and publicized entry deadlines in order to qualify for that entry rate.

Once a script has been entered in the competition, under no circumstances will we accept substitutions of new drafts or corrected pages.

Judges, administrators, and independent contractors who work for the Footcandle Film Festival are not eligible to enter the competition, nor are their spouses or other immediate family members.

If chosen as the winner of the Footcandle Scriptwriting Competition the author will be required to appear to accept their award on Thursday, September 26th at an event co-sponsored by The Visiting Writers Series of Lenoir-Rhyne University and the 2019 Footcandle Film Festival. The event will consist of the author discussing their work, a table reading of a portion of their script, and a Question-and-Answer session.

Overall Rating
  • Bradley Bethel

    Footcandle is a model for how new, small-town film festivals should operate. The organizers take care of filmmakers and select good films for a quality venue. I hope to return every year!

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Bradley! We appreciated your involvement with this year's festival, and hope to see you back with us next year.

  • Taylor Stanton

    I screened my film, "The Likes and Dislikes of Marj Bagley" here this fall and absolutely recommend this festival! It was a fantastic experience. Their staff is unbelievably welcoming and supportive. Strongly recommend to anyone looking for festivals! Thanks so much for having our film and inviting it to screen in your community. :)

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Taylor & good luck as you continue your festival run!

  • David Hambridge

    Pound for pound, one of the best festivals I've ever attended. Thoughtful & well-curated, Footcandle treats both films and filmmakers with wonderful care. Although it is a fairly young festival, this one is going to continue to grow into something great

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Andrew. We enjoyed having you spend time with us in Hickory for the festival. We hope to see you again next year!

  • Andrew Reed

    This festival is well run, draws a large crowd, and knows how to treat filmmakers right! I had a late night screening and had over 100 people in attendance to see my film! I was blown away at such a large crowd. The venue where the films are screened is gorgeous! The festival was also kind enough to pay for some of my travel expenses, my hotel room, hotel breakfast buffet, and provided vouchers for free meals at the festival itself. I can't say enough good things about Footcandle! Also, the town where the festival is held is really nice as well! Two thumbs up!

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    We were happy to have you join us in Hickory for this year's festival, Andrew. We hope to have you back with us next year!

  • Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but Footcandle Film Festival were incredibly supportive and excelled at communication through the entire process. Thanks Footcandle!

    February 2018