The Footcandle Film Festival is designed to bring unique, challenging and entertaining films and filmmakers 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 Hickory Community Theatre in Hickory, North Carolina from September 20th through September 28th, 2024. Activities will include an opening reception, filmmaker Q&A sessions, and a closing ceremony 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 five categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Youth Short Film (films no more than 15 minutes in length that cater to an audience of approximately 9 to 14 year olds and their families), Narrative Feature, or Documentary Feature. At the festival closing ceremonies awards will be given for Best Narrative Feature ($1,000), Best Narrative Short ($750), Best Documentary Feature ($1,000), Best Documentary Short ($750) and Best Youth Short Film ($500 ) as selected by a panel of judges, and five awards selected by festival attendees - Audience Favorite Narrative Feature ($500), Audience Favorite Documentary Feature ($500), Audience Favorite Narrative Short ($500), Audience Favorite Documentary Short ($500), & Audience Favorite Youth Short ($500 ).


A $1,000 cash prize will be awarded to the winning author. All entries will be reviewed and the winner will be announced the last week of July.

The winner will be asked to receive their award on Tuesday, September 24th in person at a festival event. The event will consist of the author discussing their work, a table reading of a portion of their winning script, and a Question-and-Answer session. Following the Q&A a screening of the shorts completed in the festival's FilmLAB will be screened. The evening will culminate in a reception held in the gallery of the Hickory Museum of Art.


A screening committee will evaluate and select films to be presented at the Footcandle Film Festival. 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, and Best Youth Short Film). The awards will be announced at the end of the festival on Saturday night. The five Audience Favorite awards will be decided by audience voting throughout the festival weekend and also announced at the closing ceremony.

Criteria for Submission:
• All entries must be postmarked no later than May 27th, 2024 for submission.
• All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2021.
• 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 or BluRay 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, 2024.


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 feature-length 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. 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 Tuesday, September 24th in person at a festival event. 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
  • Very good festival and I wish send my in the next event .

    January 2024
  • Koura Linda

    This is absolutely a completely hidden gem of a festival! The communication was excellent, the hospitality was some of the best ever, we can not express how incredible of an event this was.

    We go to many festivals from Sundance to Berlinale (EFM) down to small local festivals across the country. This was one of the best experiences we have had.

    The event we were a part of showcasing the screenwriters work was at a great venue, with a wonderful crowd of people and film supporters. We met some really supportive people who genuinely were interested in indie film!

    A really professional, well put together and wonderful time!

    Also their trophies (Foot Candles!) are the actual best things ever!!!! Winning one was a life long highlight!!

    October 2023
  • A great festival run by an amazing team, with diverse screenings full of interested and engaged audiences. Highly recommend!

    October 2023
  • Christina YR Lim

    We had the most wonderful time at Footcandle, both at our screening and watching the amazingly curated films! The festival and their audiences were incredibly welcoming and we couldn’t recommend it more!

    October 2023
  • The Hoy Boys team had a blast at this festival. Amazing venue, and the organizers care deeply about film and filmmakers.

    November 2022