RANKED AS ONE OF THE TOP 50 FILM FESTIVALS WORTH THE SUBMISSION FEE BY MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE AND ONE OF THE TOP REVIEWED ON FilmFreeway, JDIFF is known for its networking opportunities, best communication, quaint location, great programming, friendly staff & volunteers, inquisitive audience, multiple screening opportunities, workshops, panels, amazing events and parties and so much more! And most importantly, lots of FREE FOOD in our filmmaker lounge, where many friendships and collaborations have been made.

JDIFF is ALL about the independent filmmaker and is truly geared for the best experience!

The majority of events and venues are located on Main Street in downtown Dubuque, allowing Filmmakers, Attendees, and Special Guests to attend numerous screenings and events all within walking distance. We offer opportunities for radio, print, and social media promotion, full shuttle service, homestay program where filmmakers can stay free with community families, and much more. We take care of our filmmakers and guests.

Opportunities to collaborate with other production companies, distributors and sales agents are all the things that have happened at JDIFF.

Dubuque, Iowa, located right alongside the Mississippi River, is a perfect place to host the festival. As quoted in Filmmaker Magazine "The festival is smartly situated downtown, with an assortment of handsome venues all within walking distance" from the Festival Headquarters, located in the grand HOTEL JULIEN DUBUQUE, the same hotel where Al Capone used to hide out from the Chicago Feds.

JDIFF acknowledges emerging filmmakers from around the world and is committed to bringing world-class entertainment to the heart of the midwest.

$ 5,000 Best Documentary
$ 5,000 Best Narrative Feature
$ 1,500 Best Short (3 - 20 min length)
$ 1,500 Best Short (21 - 49 min length)
$ 500 Best Student Film

We also award the following:
Best Cast Ensemble
Best Use of Music
Best Animated Short or Feature
Audience Choice
Honorable Mentions (2)

Final winners are chosen by our Jury panel of Directors, Producers, Critics, Directors of Photography, etc

We award over $40,000 in cash and prizes on our Awards night celebration.

1). All decisions of programmers and jurors are final. All entries will be viewed and given equal consideration.
3). We DO NOT pay for any screening fees for any film that was submitted for review.
4). All submitted materials must include the FilmFreeway tracking number and additional information as listed in the General Rules.
5). Press Kit materials will be sent only upon notification of Officially Selected. The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY of marketing and promotion of screenings at the festival, but will do our best to help promote. It is the sole responsibility of the Filmmaker to send all materials listed. All materials can be picked up at the festival if filmmaker is attending. If you require your materials to be sent back, a self-addressed pre-paid envelope must be sent to JDIFF. JDIFF will not be responsible to ship any materials back.
6). Notification date is on or around March 01, 2024
7). If selected as an Official Selection, projects are to be uploaded to the designated JDIFF Dropbox. If possible, a backup might be requested by A thumb-drive.
8). Exhibition copy of the film and marketing materials are to be sent per specs required once festival acceptance is announced. AN email will be sent to all those accepted with requirements and the date needed. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FILMMAKER TO SEND REQUIRED MATERIALS, PER SPECS SHEET, AT THE TIME GIVEN. IF FILMS AND MARKETING MATERIALS ARE NOT SENT IN TIME OR PER REQUESTED SPECS, JDIFF HAS THE RIGHT TO ELIMINATE THE FILM FROM THE FESTIVAL OR ADJUST THE SCREENING COPY ACCORDINGLY TO FIT OUR REQUIRED SPECS. Only 1 venue requires a DCP and Features or Docs only will screen there. JDIFF does not pay any shipping fees.
9). JDIFF reserves the right to select films from the entire pool of submissions.
10). Film may not have been completed before January 1, 2022. JDIFF also does not accept resubmission of films that were not accepted.
11). JDIFF does consider works in progress, however prefers final projects in order for the best review and scoring possible.
12). All entered films grant the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival a non exclusive limited use agreement to use selected portions of films chosen for competition, and or use film promotional materials to promote the festival including the rights to utilize any excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at JDIFF for promotional purposes and/or on JDIFF's website. Filmmakers fully retain all rights, title and interest in their films and all intellectual Property.
13). JDIFF does not accept responsibility for damage or loss of materials. Please do not send us any original copies, master copies, the only copy you have, etc.
14). By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions, you certify that you hold all necessary rights for the submission of this film and have read the regulations. Your submission is your acceptance of all the Terms and Conditions listed under these Rules and Terms.
15). Dates and guidelines subject to change without prior notice.

Thank you and happy submitting!

Overall Rating
  • Aly Yeganeh

    Wonderful festival with great films ! thanks to organisers who did everything to make filmmakers feel welcome ! To me this is truly an important festival and can't wait to enter another feature !

    September 2023
  • Though we were not able to attend, all of our communications were handled well.

    August 2023
  • Colin Alistair Campbell

    JDIFF is the gold standard for all film festivals. Susan and her incredible team have done something remarkable: they've created a festival that manages to be all good things at once: a festival tailored both for filmmakers and film lovers; a vast program of films and events that still feels intimate and human-scale; an event with a uniquely 'Dubuque' and Midwestern charm, and yet global in its reach and quality.

    Susan and team made each of us feel welcomed and celebrated. They roll out the literal and proverbial red carpet. All films are screened TWICE in fantastic venues with great projection and sound, more often than not to full houses, followed by terrific Q&As. Two of the 7 venues are turn-of-the century opera houses, that look like beautiful Broadway theaters. The homestay program means not only that housing costs are free, but that you're integrated into the local community through your host. The filmmaker lounge is a 24/7 party - a ballroom dedicated just to the filmmakers, where filmmakers can mingle over 3 square meals a day, snacks, and even a free masseuse on site.

    Perhaps most important of all, everything about this festival is joyful, professional, and kind. JDIFF is consciously structured to bring people together to form new professional relationships, but - even more importantly - new friendships. It was a wonderfully intense week. To quote a new filmmaker friend from JDIFF, "it feels like summer camp for adults, but on steroids!"

    All the gushing reviews here are true. Bravo and thank you to Susan and the lovely JDIFF team for an incomparable event. I'm already looking forward to submitting again.

    June 2023
    Response from festival:

    What a lovely review Colin! Thank you so much! It was so wonderful to meet you here and hopefully you will be back soon!

  • Seerkatchi Packil Pandian Bhaskaran

    Julien Dubuque International Film Festival is excellent in every way -- fast and honest, good communication, and good taste. Thank you for the Official Selection for the film "Maamanithan." Success in this competition has already been a harbinger of good things to come in international festivals. Our Sincere Thanks!

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much! It was great meeting you all at JDIFF! We loved showing MAAMANITHAN!

  • If you ask someone what their favorite festival is and they tell you anything other than JDIFF, then they are either a liar or they have never attended JDIFF.
    Shuttles from the airport, food all day, and a homestay program are just a few of the ways this festival takes care of you.
    I was honored to attend with my short film, Social AnnXiety, and was blown away by the attendance at my 2 screenings. The level of talent I observed from the other filmmakers was astounding. And the dance all-night parties were icing on a delicious well-baked cake.
    I highly recommend attending this festival to all filmmakers. It is a gem.
    Last, I would like to compliment the volunteers who went out of their way every day to make the festival extraordinary.

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Aweeee... Thank you so much!!! SOCIAL ANNXIETY made us laugh and the audience loved it! We so appreciate the wonderful review and look forward to seeing more from you!