Highlands Horrorfest is a competitive film festival dedicated to celebrating short films from the Appalachian Highlands community. The call for submissions for this year's festival is open from July 1st, 2023 to October 1st, 2023. The event is one night only and will be held at the Wallace Theatre in downtown Johnson City, TN on October 27th, 2023. The grand prize (Best of the Fest) receives a cash reward of $1000.

From its founding in the Spring of 2022, the objective of the festival was to promote horror cinema not only as an artistic genre but as a window into our society as well as the region, itself, for its rich cultural history, folklore and natural beauty.

While the first festival focused on a curated showcase of local filmmakers, this year's festival intends to celebrate new voices in the genre and continue the long-term goal of building a multi-day horror convention that celebrates the genre and the region through film, art and music.

Best of the Fest
Best Student Film
Best Performance
Best Cinematography
Best Makeup & Practical FX
Best VFX
... and more!

All winners and selected works receive custom awards and the grand prize winner will receive a $1000 cash reward.

By submitting your project, you acknowledge that you have read and agreed to all of the following rules and terms. Please thoroughly read the following before submitting your film:


1. All film submissions must include a submission fee (unless you have a promo code) and a completed online FilmFreeway entry form. Film submission entry fees must be paid through the FilmFreeway portal as instructed.

2. All films must be 15 minutes and under in length. Digital files only.

3. All films must have been filmed within the Appalachian Highlands region or the filmmaker must be a native.

4. All films must either be in English or include English subtitles.

5. Once films are submitted, no alterations may be made unless given approval by Horrorfest programmers.

6. When final films are selected, filmmakers may be contacted to be interviewed for the Featured Filmmaker web series or for alternative film formats for programming purposes.

7. Films that have screened and or have received awards at other festivals can be submitted provided they adhere to all rules and regulations.

8. Only films that have been completed by October 2021 or newer will be accepted as part of the competition process.

9. Highlands Horrorfest reserves the right to accept, reject, or disqualify any submission at its discretion without a refund. That said, it should be noted that we will watch every film received in its entirety.

10. Highlands Horrorfest does not maintain ownership of any film submitted but does have the legal right to use images and as much as 30 seconds of footage for current and future festival promotional materials.

11. Award winners will be revealed at the Highlands Horrorfest awards ceremony at the end of the festival this October.

12. Filmmakers will be notified whether or not their film has been accepted to Highlands Horrorfest no later than October2, 2023.