The Grand Rapids Film Festival is looking for quality feature films, short films, music videos, and commercials that are bold, creative, and inclusive. Our vision is to implement regular events that combine content creation from multiple mediums for maximum impact.

Inclusive– A captivating story has the ability to connect viewers to emotions and ideas that might not be found in their daily experiences. Films provide a window to another world intellectually and emotionally, like no other medium. GRFF would like to encourage filmmakers to create content that is meaningful, constructive, and encouraging while being entertaining.

Bold – Challenging films addressing social issues, injustice, discord, and polarizing voices have the power to transform viewers by creating awareness, offering solutions, and calling for change.

Creative - Challenge the way reality is viewed by allowing space to explore.

GRFF, as a contributing community organization with a responsibility to our audience, desires to champion deeply talented filmmakers who are aware of the full transformative power of their art. At times, they will express themselves in a merely entertaining manner. At times, they will advocate a cause or a message of challenge and call for change.

There will be cash prizes, trophies, certificates and sponsored packages given as prizes for various categories.

Best of GR ($500 & Trophy)
Audience Choice (Trophy)
Best Director (Trophy)
Best Concept
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best College Production (Prize: consultations with GRFF board)
Best High School Production (Prize: consultations with GRFF board)

Best of GR (Trophy & Sponsor package)
Best International Film (Must be shot outside of the US by a non US citizen)
Best Director (Trophy)
Best Documentary
Best Writer
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Actor (Trophy)
Best College Production (Prize: consultations with GRFF board)
Best High School Production (Prize: consultations with GRFF board)

Best of GR ($500 & Trophy)
Best Director (Trophy)
Best Documentary
Best Writer
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Actor (Trophy)
Best College Production (Prize: consultations with GRFF board)
Best High School Production (Prize: consultations with GRFF board)

Best of GR (Trophy)
Best Director (Trophy)
Best Concept (Trophy)
Audience Choice
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Actor

**We will be having a 24-hour film challenge during the film festival. There will be some fun prizes. Check out GRFF's website for more details. **

To be eligible for the Grand Rapids Film Festival, films must comply with the following:
• The film must have been completed on or after June 1, 2020.
• The film must be available for screenings during the Festival in September 2023

Each submitted film goes through an involved judging process and is screened in its entirety by at least three members of the selection committee. Selected films have been seen 2-6 times by members of the screening committees, programming staff, and juries.
Films submitted to the Grand Rapids Film Festival are judged on their overall artistic and technical quality.

• There must not be a screening fee attached to the film.
• GRFF requires a digital file for every submission. The file must be at least Apple ProRes 422 (or equivalent) and 1080p.
• Films that have had a theatrical release, a television broadcast within the United States, or a release through an on-demand outlet such as Netflix, Amazon On-Demand, or any other outlets that are available in Michigan prior to the Festival dates are not eligible to be named Finalists but may be considered for “Special Presentation” screenings. Films with a theatrical release, television broadcast, or available on-demand outside of the USA are eligible to screen as “Official Selections” and are eligible to be named Finalists.
• The film cannot require dual projection (interlock) or separate soundtracks.
• Non-English films must be subtitled.

In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, filmmakers must comply with the following submission rules to be considered as a Finalist in their respective category:
• The submitting filmmaker must be either the producer or director of the film.
• Entries are accepted through
• A completed official entry on must be digitally signed by the filmmaker.
• Payment of the non-refundable entry fee must accompany the submission.
o Payment can be made by credit card, check, or money order payable in US dollars to Grand Rapids Film Festival, Inc. The filmmaker will be responsible for bank fees associated with any check returned to GRFF by the bank as unpaid.
• All items on the materials checklist (below) must be provided by the entry deadline.
• Feature films must be submitted via Region 1 or Region 0 DVD. (Note: GRFF does not accept prints or arrange screenings as a form of submission.)
• Short films (including HSFC submissions) must be submitted via Region 1 or Region 0 or a link to a functional streaming video file on VIMEO. All streaming submissions must be HD (720p or 1080p). If the quality of the link is not high enough, you will be required to send us a DVD of your film.
• Multiple submissions must be provided as individual submissions.

• Link – if applicable, to a functional streaming video file (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) in high definition 720p or 1080p. If the link is password-protected, please provide the password.
• Completed and digitally signed submission on
• Entry fee.

All selected films must provide all of the following items by August 5th for promotion of the film in GRFF's print materials, website, and media kit:
• A trailer of the film (a short clip is acceptable for selected Short Films). It must be Apple ProRes 422 (or equivalent) and 1080p. Standard Definition (480p resolution or lower) clips/trailers will not be accepted.
• One (1) headshot of each filmmaker or cast member who may be attending the Festival – 300 dpi and 4 in (h) x 6 in (w) or 1200 pixels (h) x 1800 pixels (w).
• Biography of 50 words or less for each filmmaker, principal cast member, or featured individual expected to attend.
• Twitter handles, Facebook/website URL for director/crew, and film for social media promotion.

Selected films must provide a digital file of the film for exhibition by August 5th. Files must be at least Apple ProRes 422 (or equivalent) and 1080p.

Overall Rating
  • Grand Rapids Film Festival was a lovely experience and we were thrilled our short documentary film INSIDE THE BEAUTY BUBBLE received a Finalist award!

    October 2022
  • Scott Magie

    I've been to this festival twice now and I'm grateful to say that it is heading in the right direction! The GRFF struggled for a few years, but 2022 was a great reboot of the event. Scheduling it during ArtPrize is smart and gives it the potential to be a destination festival. Looking for this to only get better over the next few years!

    October 2022
  • Mark Strauss

    Thanks to the GRFF team for including The Funeral Photographer in the 2022 event!

    While winning Best Director was certainly amazing, another highlight for us was watching the one-minute shorts that were created over 24 hours, then followed by the energetic Q&A with all the teams who made these micro-films. So fun!

    Also, shoutout to the GRFF for pivoting so quickly when the weather didn't allow you to screen the shorts outside.

    Super friendly and accommodating GRFF team... Nice job!

    October 2022
  • Mark Marchillo

    Jen, the Festival Organizer was very accommodating to all of the filmmakers; especially the ones coming from out of state. She was able to sequester interviews with local TV stations; giving the festival and the filmmakers a little press. She had a few people on her committee that were very helpful too as far as helping her organize the events and shuttle filmmakers from their hotel to the venues. Several events took place prior to the weekend of the festival. A large wind storm had knocked power out to the banquet hall and the surrounding community the day of the opening event. Instead of canceling they rented Generators in order to light everything up and show the presentation - The show must go on! They really worked hard to make t happen! I just wish there was more community collaboration. There was no advertisements in town that there was a film festival going on and all the local colleges and universities did assist in getting the word out about the festival happening in their community to the Filmmaking and Performing Arts Community which is centrifugal when it comes to being successful in the arts - Spreading the word - especially to College Students is very important. Grand Rapids is big in Arts so more collaboration with the arts communities and this can be the next Telluride and bigger than Traverse City.

    June 2017
  • J Paul Preseault

    What a fantastic town and festival. Historic theatre was really great, serving local craft beer a big bonus. The festival staff was very helpful and quick to respond to any questions - great communication all around. After party rocked.

    May 2017