The Highway 61 Film Festival is a multiple-day celebration of the magic of movies that was established in 2011 as a means of supporting and promoting independent films and filmmakers from all along Highway 61 and beyond.

The Highway 61 Film Festival is held in Pine City, Minnesota, an area known for its emerging arts and culture scene.

Cash prizes are awarded to the first place winners in each category.
Action/Horror Short OR Feature: $100
Animation Short OR Feature: $100
Comedy Short OR Feature: $100
Drama Short OR Feature: $100
Documentary Short OR Feature: $100
Student Short (Age 18 and under only!): $50
"Made in Minnesota" (Short/Feature films shot in MInnesota): $100

All films:
I. Must have been completed within the past three years.
II. Foreign language (non-English) submissions must be available iwith English subtitles.
III. The Highway 61 Film Festival reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted.
The following requirements must be met before a submission can be considered for inclusion:
I. Completed Submission Form (via FilmFreeway).
II. Submission Fee. Payment is accepted via FilmFreeway or money order made out to the Highway 61 Film Festival.
III. Submissions must include an online screener. The Festival no longer accepts submissions via DVD.
Please note: Changing the password for a private online screener will make the submission unviewable, and therefore disqualified. The Festival will attempt, but is under no obligation, to contact the applicant for an updated password.
IV. "Made in Minnesota": In recognition of Minnesota’s filmmaking community, the Highway 61 Film Festival offers discounted submission ($1 regular deadline/$5 late deadline) per individual for qualifying projects. To qualify, a film’s director must be a current Minnesota resident OR a combined 50% or more of production and/or post-production must have taken place in Minnesota.
V. Student Shorts: Short films with directors who were at or under the age of 18 at the time of filming may submit in this category.
I. The Festival reserves the right to place accepted works in the appropriate program.
II. The Festival reserves the right to remove a film from the festival for any reason or for no reason and shall not be liable for any refund or claims of any kind arising out of such removal.
III. Accepted films may be screened between 1-5 times, at the discretion of the Festival.
IV. The Festival reserves the right to use images from selected films for Festival marketing purposes.
V. The Festival does not pay screening fees for accepted submissions.
I, the authorized representative of the project being submitted (hereafter called the “Film”) acknowledge that I am duly authorized, on my own behalf and on behalf of all other persons or entities who have any ownership rights or interests in or relating to the Film (hereafter called the “Film’s Owners”) to submit to the Highway 61 Film Festival. I warrant and agree, on behalf of myself and each of the Film’s Owners, that the Film is being submitted voluntarily and without promise or inducement, and that the submission of the Film neither imposes nor creates any obligation or responsibility on the part of the Highway 61 Film Festival to accept the Film for inclusion in The Festival, to exhibit the Film at The Festival, to acknowledge the submission of The Film, or to return the submission copy of The Film or associated submission materials to me or others.
I shall indemnify and hold harmless The 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. I have paid and will pay in full all license fees, clearance fees, and other obligations, of any kind, arising from or associated with the exhibition of the Film at or in connection with The Festival.
I understand that The Festival reserves the right to waive or adjust any requirements outlined herein. I understand that I am not entitled to any refund or damage claims of any kind if my film is unable to screen due to technical or operational difficulties or if my film needs to be rescheduled, delayed, or removed from the program for any reason.
By submitting, I warrant that I have read, understood, and accept all aforementioned regulations and requirements pertaining to submission to The Festival.

Overall Rating
  • It was so sad to see the festival have to cancel due to the pandemic, but it was the right thing to do. Thank you so very much for still awarding "Oh My Stars" with First Place for Minnesota Made films. I am most appreciative.

    October 2020
  • Vanessa Powers

    Unfortunately, the festival was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The team was clear and proactive in their communication regarding the festival, and I greatly appreciated that. I really hope to have the opportunity to screen with them in the future.

    April 2020
  • Kevin Isaacson

    We are so honored to be included in this festival and so glad we made the trip there. Wonderful people who made us feel very much at home. The Q&A was great with a lot of great questions. True lovers of film.

    April 2019
  • It was great to be a part of the festival - met some great people and also re-connected with friends.

    April 2019
  • Wonderful festival and wonderful people who run it. This is definitely a festival to submit to. I was not able to attend the event but the communication was perfect. If you have a project, SUBMIT!

    April 2019