HIFF 2021

Please visit https://www.hiffco.com or follow us across all social media platforms to learn about HIFF3 event announcements! Filmmakers this season will be notified on August 1! We'll be hosting five days of in-person events for another year of epic Filmmaking, Art, and Music across multiple venues in beautiful Northern Colorado.


Greetings Filmmakers, Movie-Goers, Musicians, Artists, Sponsors, and Partners:

We first want to extend our best wishes during these uncertain and unprecedented times. We hope everyone is participating in safe practices for the benefit of your own health as well as that of our community.

It is now an appropriate time to share our intentions for the 2020 Horsetooth International Film Festival taking place September 8-12th at several locations in Northern Colorado.

Although many details are still being worked out, #HIFFCO is committed to a) providing a platform for Filmmakers to share and compete with others in the International FIlmmaking Community, and b) providing Creatives a unique opportunity to network with each other and grow. We believe it is more critical than ever to adapt to the current circumstances and provide those opportunities for struggling Creatives, and of equal importance: provide valuable interactive entertainment to the community.

At this time, we are committing to an online presentation for #HIFFCO2020 which will happen regardless of how the situation develops throughout the coming months. We are exploring what that looks like via talks with representatives from the tech industry, research, and the experiential success of other film festivals who have made this transition. It is our hope to provide as many of the same benefits *virtually* that one could gain from attending Festival Weekend in person, and perhaps more. As more details unfold and the funding permits, we'll update you all with the appropriate announcements.

We are simultaneously exploring options to convene in person (with or without social distancing, depending) should that become possible and widely accepted come September.

This situation has forced everyone to adapt our way of living, understand ourselves and what our basic needs are, and how to continue to interact with each other as a tribal species. We want to assure you all that #HIFFCO intends to play an active role in keeping us together through film.

Stay updated by following us on Social Media (@hiffco).

If you have any further questions, please email us at info@hiffco.com or by messaging is directly.

If you're interested in donating, please use the "donate" button on the navigation bar of our website.

Stay safe and see you all soon, at least virtually!


SEPTEMBER 8th-12th, 2020

Back in 2020: The 2nd Annual Horsetooth International Film Festival!

After an incredible amount of local support, and making some serious waves in Northern Colorado, we're back for our second year with a Film Festival once again designed For Filmmakers, by Filmmakers.

We have some exciting new categories where filmmakers can compete and earn the favor of the #NOCO audience!

HIFF is designed to cultivate a budding film scene where filmmakers come to improve and compete across multiple platforms, including VR and Full-Dome Films. Already a multi-day, multi-venue, regional event centered around film, HIFF also provides opportunity to the filmmakers themselves, artists, musicians and local businesses to help the community grow by raising awareness and promoting diversity in our region.

Filmmakers, Artists, Musicians, Community Members, and Tourists now have a new reason to interact with and celebrate beautiful Northern Colorado. Be sure to check out our website for more information on the festival, the region, and why you should get involved!


#HIFFCO in 2019

- 4 Incredible Venues
- Events in 3 Regional Towns
- Over 600 Patrons
- Over 40 Films Shown
- 5 Out-of-Town Industry-leading Panelists, including;
- Matty Brown (All-time Leader Vimeo Most Staff Picks), Seattle, WA
- Pat McGee (Award-winning Director, Producer, Showrunner), Los Angeles, CA
- Adam Linkenhelt (Award-winning Writer, Producer), Los Angeles, CA
- Trai Cartwright (Women in Film and Media Colorado President, Writer), Denver, CO
- Daustin Harvey (Women in Film and Media Colorado Representative), Denver, CO

All of these numbers are expected to increase at #HIFFCO 2020.



Horsetooth Int'l Film Festival: By FIlmmakers, For Filmmakers


#HIFF was founded with the intent to establish Northern Colorado (#NoCo) as an international destination where progressive thought and action are celebrated through the art of filmmaking and other forms of creative expression.

The mission of #HIFF is to inspire and engender passionate artistic creations and positive changes to our way of life by providing an international platform to spread knowledge and creativity.



- Elevation 5,430 feet
- 300+ days of sunshine per year
- Less than 1hr from Rocky Mountain National Park
- Home to Colorado’s only “Wild & Scenic River”


- Regional population over 875,000, Median Age of 35
- 50.2% Women and 49.8% Men
- Ranked 2nd Most-Educated State


- Over 86 million visitors per year
- Domestic visitors have increased 41% since recession, more than double the national average


- Ranked #1 state in USA to do business by Forbes Magazine in 2019
- 97.6% of businesses in Colorado are small businesses

Awards vary from year to year but all category winners receive (very nice) trophies at the least!



The following is an explanation of rules governing the submission of projects (the “Project”) to Horsetooth Intl. Film Festival (“HIFF” or the “Festival”).

A NOTE ABOUT INTEGRITY: Horsetooth Intl. Film Festival chooses not waive entry fees for the sole purpose of maintaining integrity for the benefit of all those who have worked hard to apply to the competition. Only by enforcing the same rules and entry fees to all applicants can we ensure that no one film is favored over another.

A NOTE ABOUT INTENTION: As a platform for diversity in filmmaking, creative expression and interactive entertainment, HIFF seeks to discover aspiring filmmakers, encourages emerging and established voices, advocates innovative experiences, and provides an avenue for new ideas and creative growth through panels, premieres, and live performances.


1) In order to be considered a “Colorado” Project, 50% or more of the Project’s financing must have originated from sources within Colorado. The Project may then be submitted into any of the following categories: "Colorado" Short Film Category, "National" Short Film Category, "The Americas" Short Film Category, "International" Short Film Category, "One World" Feature Category, "Another Dimension" Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 360-Degree Category.

2) In order to be considered a “National” Project, 50% or more of the Project’s financing must have originated from sources within The United States of America (including Puerto Rico and Minor Outlying Islands). The Project may then be submitted into any of the following categories: "National" Short Film Category, "The Americas" Short Film Category, "International" Short Film Category, "One World" Feature Category, "Another Dimension" Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 360-Degree Category.

3) In order to be considered an “Americas” Project, 50% or more of the Project’s financing must have originated from sources within the North and South American continents, from a residing country or countries. The Project may then be submitted into any of the following categories: "The Americas" Short Film Category, "International" Short Film Category, "One World" Feature Category, "Another Dimension" Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 360-Degree Category.

4) “International” Projects can be financed where funds have originated from sources anywhere in the world. The Project may then be submitted into any of the following categories: "International" Short Film Category, "One World" Feature Category, "Another Dimension" Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 360-Degree Category.

5) If the Project’s final running time is 30 minutes or more, the Project may only be submitted into the following category in the 2021 competition: Feature Categories

6) Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee (per entry) along with a completed online entry form. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.

7) Films must be submitted as an online streaming video via the FilmFreeway platform in the 2021 competition. Please complete a profile for your film using filmfreeway.com and submit using their system. This helps us to stay organized before, during, and after the festival. Please contact us you require your film to be played in a specific format, which will be determined by the review committee.

8) In the event of a password change (for password protected videos) or link change after submitting, you must email the Festival at info@hiffco.com immediately with that change so we may update your record. If the Festival is not notified of the change and the link is found to be inactive or the password to be incorrect, the submission may be deemed ineligible.

9) HIFF screens films as digital files and only accepts digital files as a submission format. Please convert and upload your film if necessary.

10) All films must have been completed within the two-year window from the date of the Main Event; in other words, for the 2021 Festival, films must have been completed after Sep. 8th, 2019. Films must be available for screening during the Horsetooth Intl. Film Festival, September 8-12th, 2021.

11) Films that have been submitted to HIFF in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted, provided they are eligible according to all of HIFF’s current rules.

12) Films with U.S. distribution (obtained prior to being selected for HIFF screening) or films produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition, but may be considered for a special screening. Selection for such screenings will be determined no later than August 1st.

13) Feature Films that have screened on U.S. networks or cable television, or that have been distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are ineligible for competition. “Work-in-progress” screenings in which an incomplete version of the film was previously screened, however, are still considered eligible.

14) Short Films do not need to retain any sort of premiere status. U.S. and International Short Films are still eligible for submission to the Festival if they were previously released theatrically or via any home video platform, broadcast or streamed on television or the internet, or screened at any number of film festivals, anywhere in the world.

15) Virtual Reality Projects may have been previously screened or made available, either for free or for purchase, via any existing distribution platform or exhibited at other festivals, industry trade shows, and/or conventions and still retain their eligibility for open submission to the Festival.

16) Feature films are preferred to be a first-time premiere in the state of Colorado. This means HIFF prefers not to screen features in competition that have played at other CO festivals or screened publicly in a theater in CO (including a one-night only screening in a rented space) prior to Sep. 8th, 2021. Premieres in this category are welcome from anywhere in the world, but we openly give preference to films that have not yet had a premiere over one that has played at several festivals.

17) Private invite-only screenings (i.e., for cast and crew or donors) do not affect any film’s eligibility.

18) HIFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.

19) Films that are selected to screen at the Festival are not necessarily selected to be “in competition” for awards purposes, although we will notify submitters by the notification date should this situation arise. Nominated and otherwise selected films will be notified on or prior to the designated notification date on Aug. 1st, 2021.


1) Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.

2) Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. HIFF expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.


1) We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit their film only after it is fully finished and will judge each submission as a completed work, whether it is completed or not. Once a film is entered, we will not update the same submission with a more recent cut; filmmakers are still welcome to submit a more recent cut, but will need to complete the submission process again for any new versions to be considered.

2) HIFF reserves the right to reassign submissions into a different category to fit programming needs and interests; films will not be penalized for the original submission selection.

3) Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by HIFF in connection with the dispute.

4) You must include a working method of contact as well as physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without providing us your address; this is needed for our records.

5) Payments made with a check, when applicable, are subject to our Bounced Check Policy: If we receive a returned check from our bank for a payment you made, you will be invoiced for the original amount of the check plus a $25 bounced check fee. The payment of the invoiced amount will be due within 30 days of invoice date. We will not re-submit the original check, nor will we accept another check for repayment. Repayment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.

6) If your film was shot in Colorado or by CO filmmakers, please include any pertinent details about your film, including shoot locations.


1) HIFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project (although we promise to try and support the value this provides to aspiring filmmakers); and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.

2) HIFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by HIFF or by its volunteers.
Winners will be announced on Sept. 8th, 2021. The judges’ decisions are final.
Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all local, state, and federal taxes, when applicable.


1) DVDs and press materials will not be returned. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your mailed entry (when applicable).


"Colorado" Short Film Category
Films of any genre filmed in Colorado or made by a Colorado Filmmaker may be submitted to this category. Films must be under 30 minutes in length.

"National" Short Film Category
Films of any genre filmed in The United States of America or made by a USA-Native Filmmaker may be submitted to this category. Films must be under 30 minutes in length.

"International" Short Film Category
Films of any genre filmed on Planet Earth or made by an Earthly Being may be submitted to this category. Films must be under 30 minutes in length.

"One World" Feature Category
This special category is for films that offer thought-provoking observations or ideas that propel our way of life. Entries considered have the opportunity to be played during the Feature Block of "The Main Event." Films must be greater than 40 minutes and under 75 minutes in length in the 2021 competition.

"Another Dimension" Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 360-Degree Category
Films produced in 360º for VR, fulldome or other XR technologies may be submitted to this category. Films must be under 20 minutes in length. NOTE: If films or installations require special equipment to be presented, please send us a message before submitting to verify whether or not we can facilitate your film. Please inform if you plan on providing said equipment. 360º films may be presented in a fulldome theater.


I/We have read all of the rules, understand, and have complied with these rules.

I/We warrant the submission of my/our original work and that there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission.

I/We also warrant the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead.

To the best of my/our knowledge, all the statements herein are true and correct.

I/We understand that failure to adhere to the competition rules and regulations will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee.

I/We acknowledge that once an entry payment has been processed, HIFF will not provide a refund.

No revisions of materials will be accepted once entry has been submitted.


Overall Rating
  • Harrison Fleming

    Absolutely fantastic festival! While it was such a shame I couldn't be there in person, they still made it a fun and amazing experience. Thrilled to have been included :)

    September 2021
  • Our film "Death Offers Life - last moments of Vincent Van Gogh" got official selection which is a great encouragement for us.

    September 2021
  • Jeremiah Hutchens

    HIFFCO is an incredible festival. They took in our film VESSEL and made us feel welcome from the get-go. Communication and organization were top notch. I cannot say enough about how great this festival experience was!

    September 2021
  • Jara Moravec

    I haven't had a chance to attend in person but everything else went extremely smoothly. Friendly and responsive organisers & feedback from other film makers who got to see the film, HIFFCO is well recommended!

    September 2021
  • I am truly honored that my short Layover was a part of the third edition of the Horsetooth film festival. I really wished I could have attended the venue... The festival seems to be growing and looks honestly amazing. Communication with the organizer was easy and they were very responsive. Would not hesitate to submit my future projects!

    September 2021