The 2021 Horrible Imaginings Film Festival will be a HYBRID event that takes place in person September 2 - 5 at The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, CA.

Established in 2009, the annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival showcases the newest voices in horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genre cinema over a multi-day event that consists of film screenings, diverse panels, parties, and networking sessions.

Our mission is to explore the history of expressions of anxiety or fear through genre cinema, to amplify artistic voices, and to foster a community of acceptance. We sincerely believe in the sharing and exploring of our deepest fears, desires, and anxieties in a community setting. This festival provides the opportunity to not only explore these emotions but also exorcise them.

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival has been rated among the “Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals” on FilmFreeway. Additionally, MovieMaker Magazine has designated us as one of the “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee.”

Over the past 11 years, we have shown over 750 genre titles and welcomed over 8,000 attendees.

We are currently re-examining how awards fit into our mission statement. Should we decide to do away with this portion of the festival, I hope that does not impact your decision to submit.

The realities of the 2021 season are still unclear. We now know two things: the threat of COVID-19 is very real and there are some genuine benefits to virtual. The plan is to go back to the cinema by the time Labor Day 2021 comes around, but there is also a lot of talk about a hybrid approach with a supplemental virtual component. Not sure what that will look like at this point, but I will be sure to keep everyone informed! For the time being, we are still not considering premiere status, nor are we immediately disqualifying films available for VOD.

All short film submissions will also be considered for our quarterly CAMPFIRE TALES SERIES.

Non English-language films must be subtitled in English.

We do accept exemplary older films, but only films completed after December 31, 2018 will be in consideration for awards.

Incomplete films (missing score, soundtrack, color correction, etc.) may be submitted for consideration so long as they are clearly marked as incomplete. Incomplete films must be finished by August 10, 2021.

All submissions must be made via FilmFreeway. This ensures that your film receives proper attention and consideration by the Selection Committee.

All submissions for consideration must be made available via a private online screener link (no physical screeners will be accepted or viewed).

Selected films must be received by the festival no later than August 10, 2021.

Overall Rating
  • Richard Louprasong

    Love this festival!! Miguel is fantastic!

    March 2021
  • Thaddeus Jones

    Had a great time can not wait to attend in person!

    January 2021
  • Dusty Brown

    Great focus on community and networking. Met so many amazing people and was honored that Hellevate was included in what turned out to be a mind-glowingly thoughtful program.

    November 2020
  • Sean Temple

    I don't know if I've ever had an easier time becoming great friends with a festival programmer. Miguel puts his heart and soul into the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. He's incredibly open and honest about the process and even created Horrible Imaginings: Camp Fire Tales for the sole purpose of showing short films that were good enough to screen at the main festival but didn't have time to screen. I've never had a programmer put so much effort into showcasing short films and that alone is worth the price of submission.

    October 2020
  • Ming Siu Goh

    Miguel, Sterling, and the entire team are superstars! The insane amount of work and love that they put into transitioning the festival to digital and creating a platform for human connection was clear for everyone to see. We loved the conversations we had with fellow filmmakers and audiences alike, and thoroughly enjoyed all the other fantastic films. The whole vibe of the festival was top-notch, and we cannot recommend it highly enough!

    September 2020