Horror is not always what you think!

Our mission is to amplify voices that express those emotions that make life a little more challenging. Fear, anxiety, despair, desperation, dark fantasy, unhealthy longing, terror--those parts of the human condition all of us recognize, but few of us enjoy talking about. We sincerely believe the sharing of dark stories in community settings of diverse artists and audience members not only exorcises these emotions, but also helps to foster empathy through linked experiences.

Join us in championing the horrible imaginings of filmmakers and artists by facilitating screenings, panels and forums, and networking events.

Best Score Trophy
Best Cinematography Trophy
Best Special Effects Trophy
Best Actor Trophy
Best Actress Trophy
Best Director Trophy
Best Animated Film Trophy
Funniest Horror Comedy Trophy
Audience Favorite Trophy
Best "Monster Show" Trophy
Best Dramatic Trophy
Best Feature Film Trophy
Student Filmmaker Trophy

We accept exemplary older films, but only films completed after December 31, 2016 will be in consideration for awards.

This should be the first time your film has been publicly screened in the Greater San Diego area.

Non English-language films must be subtitled in English.

Films released on VOD will only be considered under special circumstances. Please contact miguel@hifilmfest.com for more information.

Incomplete films (missing score, soundtrack, color correction, etc) may be submitted for consideration so long as they are clearly marked as incomplete and they will be complete in time for exhibition.

All submissions must be made via the FilmFreeway account. This ensures that your film does not get lost in the flood of films, and that the selection committee gives your film proper attention and consideration.

All submissions for consideration should be made via link or electronic transfer. We will only take physical media as a submission under special circumstances. This rule does not apply to exhibition screeners should your film be selected for the festival.

If selected, please have your films in proper formats (NTSC, listed aspect ratio, etc) arrive to the festival by no later than August 10, 2018.

Overall Rating
  • Horrible Imaginings is one hell of an experience with a unique and daring lineup of films. The crew is a well oiled machine and Miguel Rodriguez is a passionate and energized host. You'll immediately feel like part of the family!

    September 2017
  • William Boodell

    Miguel Rodriguez and his crew are running a wonderful genre festival down in San Diego. The staff and patrons are friendly, curious and supportive. I wish I'd gotten to stay longer, but in my short time there, I met lovely people, saw great movies and had a terrific time!

    September 2017
  • Phil Bucci

    This is a great festival. Come out and help it grow! Great people, location in Balboa Park and really great screening room!

    Film makers and film watchers come out next year and help the fest grow!

    September 2017
    Response from festival:

    Phil! It has been a real pleasure getting to show your film and get to know you over the course of two festivals! I can't wait to see what fun stuff you do next!

  • Devi Snively

    So heartbroken I had to miss this one. I could tell even before all these great reviews this was going to be a winner -- not only is it well organized with great communication, but said communication was especially delightful. Miguel, the program director, is clearly a very cool guy. Also, hotel discounts are provided, and from the press and photos online, it's clear this one's a serious winner. I'm utterly bummed I missed it, but look forward to another opportunity in the future. Oh, and I recognized a few shorts in the lineup and all are stellar. I also appreciate the wide range of horror subgenres they accept.

    September 2017
    Response from festival:

    I am so pleased that the hard work and sincerity we put into every facet of this festival is apparent from afar! We wish you could have joined us, Devi, but we are so happy to have included your film "Bride of Frankie" in our program!

  • Great Festival and great crew

    September 2017
    Response from festival:

    We all thank you for your kind words! Glad we could kick off Saturday's programming with some true creepiness with "Nite Time!"