The Fresh Coast Film Festival is the first of its kind: a documentary film festival celebrating the outdoor lifestyle, water-rich environment and resilient spirit of the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. The festival gathers the best in adventure, environmental and cultural filmmaking from around the world while creating a venue for, and building a culture of, Great Lakes storytelling.

Fresh Coast is held annually the third weekend in October during the height of fall color season in the Lake Superior harbor town of Marquette, Michigan. Here the waves of an inland sea crash on the bedrock remains of the ancient Huron Mountains. A red lighthouse winks across the water at thousand-foot freighters slipping through the fog. Singletrack trails link a historic downtown with world class mountain biking, trail running and waterfalls. After a day of play, a vibrant brewing and dining scene reward hard work with ingredients and inspiration drawn from the crisp clean waters of the world’s largest body of fresh water, Lake Superior. We think you’ll like it here.

A key component of the Fresh Coast experience is the guided outdoor activities to introduce visitors to the outdoor playground of the Marquette area. Activities such as rock climbing, rowing, waterfall hikes, fall color hikes and history tours will be offered as part of the Fresh Coast weekend.

Please join us for a weekend of storytelling, networking, learning and outdoor recreation like no other in the Great Lakes region. Let's go #freshcoasting.

Fresh Coast Film Festival assists with a limited amount of lodging and travel stipends to attending filmmakers. All attending filmmakers receive a complimentary Weekend Pass and an invite to Friday night's Filmmaker Welcome event.

Fresh Coast gives awards for Best Regional Feature (over 20 minutes), Best Regional Short (under 20 minutes) and best first time filmmaker (any length).

Fresh Coast also offers the Making Waves commitment grant to support film projects with a regional focus or connection. Please visit for details on applying.

Rules & Terms
-We prefer that films have been completed within two calendar years of current festival. Example: 2019 Festival will accept films from 2017, 2018 and 2019. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.

-Online screeners from secure sources are mandatory. Vimeo is our preferred platform but others accepted as well. Include screener link and password in your submission and please be sure download is turned on.

-Press kit is optional but recommended - electronic only, please

-All films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for festival presentation.

-The festival will consider work-in-progress, films with temporary soundtracks etc--if in doubt, send it. We screen everything and will work with you.


Fresh Coast Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.

The individual or corporation submitting the film shall indemnify and hold harmless Fresh Coast Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

By submitting your film to the Fresh Coast Film Festival, you are also giving permission (if your film should be accepted) for the Fresh Coast Film Festival to keep a copy of the film for our festival library and archival purposes. Accepted films additionally provide permission to possibly be used for future in-person and online screenings.

Overall Rating
  • Christy Frank

    This is a fantastic festival and they really care about the filmmakers!! I really enjoyed the experience. Thanks for including Ploverville in your lineup!

    October 2022
  • Wow. Easily a new favorite—brilliant programming, incredibly passionate and engaged audiences, all walkable through a cute town surrounded by gorgeous nature, venues that create a unique bond among audiences and films, and top-tier hospitality ensures it's well-attended by filmmakers. So happy to be part of it, ready to go back!

    October 2022
  • Patrick LONGSTRETH

    Fresh Coast Film Festival was an absolutely magical experience for our film. They hosted the in-person premiere of our feature documentary, Iron Family, in 2021. The venues were small but intimate. The screenings were well attended (including our own). They made perfect use of downtown Marquette with everything in walking distance. We had ample opportunities to meet and connect with other filmmakers. We had high hopes since our film took place in and around Marquette and it exceeded expectations in every way. We even had Joe Pera from Adult Swim attend our screening. Dream come true!

    March 2022
  • Such an incredible festival right on the Lake Superior shoreline! Friendly and welcoming organizers. Many filmmakers came together as a supportive community during multiple events at base camp and at sponsoring partners businesses. Many perks! The outdoor adventures were a soul-affirming bonus. I will never forget it:)

    November 2021
  • Emily Hopcian

    Fresh Coast Film Festival feels like the Mountainfilm of the Great Lakes. The entire FCFF team and Marquette community produced a memorable and inspiring weekend along Lake Superior.

    October 2021