The mission of the "I See You Awards™" is to recognize and reward low budget independent filmmakers. The "I See You Awards" fill a niche and create a platform for recognizing independent filmmakers that is currently missing in mainstream Hollywood.

On Thursday, August 27, 2020, the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan -- just outside of Detroit -- will host a full day of film screenings. The screening day gives filmmakers an opportunity to see their films on the big screen and network with others in the industry. It also gives the public an opportunity to watch the films that have been nominated for awards at which time the public gets to vote on which films they would like to see win a People's Choice Award.

On Friday, August 28, 2020, we will be holding an industry seminar. Details TBA.

Our signature Black Tie Blue Carpet awards ceremony, where the winners will be announced, will be held on Sunday, August 30, 2020. The awards ceremony will also be held at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak.

Whether your talent is in front of the camera or behind it, we have a category for you. Enter today for the chance to have your work recognized and rewarded!

Our Festival Director/Founder, Terri Lee Chandler, is a professional film critic and a member of several prestigious film critic groups/associations, including the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the African-American Film Critics Association, and SAG-AFTRA.

Highlights from our 2017, 2018 and 2019 awards program include:

Following the awards, one of our Best Picture winners had his film shown at the Emagine Theater in Novi before two Hollywood blockbusters!

Following are some of the comments received from enthusiastic and appreciative indie filmmakers:

"I want to take a moment to thank you again for honoring our film and for providing a platform for indie filmmakers like myself, and doing it in such a classy way. It was an experience I will never forget and will always look upon as a joyous and special memory and opportunity."

"A great time had by all at the 3rd annual I See You Awards. This festival got it right for independent film makers!!! Thank you!!"

"Great festival! The awards ceremony was top notch and gives you a great opportunity to network with the other filmmakers. Terri does an amazing job as a host."

"This is a fantastic film festival that brings a Hollywood experience to independent filmmakers. Their venue, the Emagine theater provides one of the most beautiful screens your film could ever play on, and that in itself is a really amazing experience for any filmmaker. The awards ceremony is a black tie, world class event, unlike any other I've ever experienced at a film festival! It was an honor to be awarded Best Picture Made in Michigan, and we look forward to submitting in the future."

"I had such a wonderful time and so did all my guests."

"I hope you continue to keep this program going. I certainly felt 'SEEN' and I am sure I wasn't the only filmmaker that felt that way."

"What a fantastic idea!!!! The industry is truly blessed to have someone like you promoting it! You bring so much integrity, honesty, and genuine care for helping others in everything you do. I am so grateful to know you and I look forward to supporting all that you do, you are such an inspiration."

"Thank you so much for initiating the I See You Awards to acknowledge independent filmmaking."

"I wanted to thank you for putting on the “I See You Awards”. Festivals celebrating indie movies are so important, especially now with major studies focusing on only making and/or releasing Tent Pole movies."

"Thanks so much to your and the I See You Awards Jury! We’re honored and humbled by the response and thrilled that you enjoyed the film and our work."

Selected nominees and winners will gain recognition and exposure!

Nominees will be announced on the "I See You Awards®" website and also via our official social media sites. We also announce the nominees and the winners to the media in the form of press releases, with the goal to obtain media exposure.

Finalists will be announced at the "I See You Awards®" awards ceremony which is held at the beautiful Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan!

Best Picture Winners will receive cash prizes and winners in the other categories will get a cool-looking award to display in their trophy/display case!

New for screenwriters in 2020: one screenplay will be chosen to have a scene performed by local actors*. If you're a screenwriter, this is your opportunity to see a scene from your script come to life!

*We reserve the right to amend this based on the submissions received.

To open the awards up to as many independent filmmakers as possible, feature film awards are handed out based on the film's budget*. For example, feature films with budgets in the following ranges are eligible to enter:

$100,000 or less
$101,000 to $350,000
$351,000 to $700,000

When submitting your film for consideration, please include your film's budget.

Short films will not be categorized by budget.

All submitted films in the feature film category must be at least 70 minutes long.

Short films should not exceed 30 minutes in length.

​Documentary films are only eligible to be nominated in the category of "Best Documentary."

Projects submitted in the student film category must include proof.

When submitting, please include the names and roles of your key cast as well as the names and titles of your key crew members. This is required for the judging process.

In order to be considered for an award, films DO NOT have to be shown in theaters. It is our goal to help low-budget indie filmmakers gain recognition and, in turn, distribution. Upon notification of being named an official nominee, filmmakers MUST provide their film(s) in one of the following formats: DCP or Blu-Ray.

*We reserve the right to amend this based on the number of entries received.


Your DCP or Blu-Ray may be returned to you in one of the following ways:

1. You personally retrieve it after your film screens or on the last day of the event.

2. You provide us with a pre-paid mailer with sufficient postage at the time of submission of your DCP or Blu-Ray. Please note that we are not responsible for lost films or damage to any films during shipping, handling, or screening.


The I See You Awards® (ISYA) DOES NOT PAY SCREENING FEES for submitted films. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that ISYA will not pay to present your work.

Overall Rating
  • great contest, happy to have been a finalist

    September 2020
  • Few, if any, other festivals make the filmmakers and screenwriters feel like family the way Terri and her team do at the I See You Awards. Terri is the kindest soul who tirelessly and passionately works to ensure that every participant receives the praise and value they deserve. Kudos and standing ovation Terri!

    September 2020
  • Barbara Barton

    This year is the first year I have had a film in festivals, and of course Corona came calling and I am missing out on the real-life experience of meeting other filmmakers, attending awards ceremonies and seeing the wonderful films being offered. But Terri and crew made this an amazing festival, great communication with the filmmakers, selecting a diverse array of films, putting on a classy awards ceremony online...I found myself clapping along with them. Congrats Terri, everyone who helps make the festival happen, and to all the filmmakers!!

    September 2020
  • What an amazing festival, from communication to quality of the online show itself. Corona has been a struggle for everyone but I See You Awards handled with such professionalism and vigor. Not only did they make sure everyone understood what to do and how to do it but it was a true example of how all festivals should be communicating to their audiences and artists. Take note festivals, this is how it's done!

    September 2020
  • Brian FINN

    Great festival! The awards ceremony was top notch and gives you a great opportunity to network with the other filmmakers. Terri does an amazing job as a host.

    September 2019