RANKED AGAIN IN 2022 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! JDIFF is ALL about the independent filmmaker and is truly geared for the best experience!

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, the same hotel where Al Capone used to hide out from the Chicago Feds.

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, and much more. We take care of our filmmakers and guests.

Our final nominees are judged by our Jury members of Film professionals, such as Directors, Producers, Critics, Directors of Photography, etc, and choose the final winner of each category.

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

$ 4,000 Best Documentary
$ 4,000 Best Narrative Feature
$ 1,000 Best Short (3 - 20 min length)
$ 1,000 Best Short (21 - 49 min length)
The top 3 nominees in each of the above categories (Documentary, Feature, Short I, Short II) receive free travel and accommodations for one filmmaker to attend the festival. Nominees are announced 4 weeks before the festival and must be present to win.

Best Cast (no travel benefits)
Best Use of Music ( no travel benefits)
Best Animated Short or Feature (no travel benefits)
Audience Choice (no travel benefits)
Honorable Mentions (2) (no travel benefits)
**All films qualify for the additional awards, unless already nominated for Best Documentary, Best Feature, Best Short I or Best Short 11**

WE PAY FOR THE TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE TOP 3 NOMINEES in the Feature, Documentary, Short I and Short II categories. *Some restrictions apply.

We award over $35,000 in cash and benefits, including a great package from InkTip for our Best Feature, Audience Choice and Honorable Mention categories where winners will receive a 4-month InkTip Pro Membership where filmmakers can find and read your scripts, and you'll be able to pitch directly to production companies every week. With over 3,000 options and 400 movies made, InkTip is the place for independent film.

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, 2023.
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 either a DVD/Bluray or thumb-drive (preferred).
8). Exhibition copy of the film and marketing materials are to be sent per specs required once festival acceptance is announced. A letter 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, 2021. 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.
16). JDIFF pays for the top 3 nominees to attend the festival in the Feature, Documentary, Short I and Short II categories. Nominee flights are booked 4 weeks in advance of festival. You will be given a deadline to send requested information to JDIFF for booking. If requested information is not received by deadline, you will need to book your own flight and JDIFF will reimburse you up to $500.00. If you choose to book your own flight, JDIFF will reimburse you up to $500.00 for domestic, $600.00 for International. Nominees must be in attendance to win.

Thank you and happy submitting!

Overall Rating
  • Peter Meech

    An extraordinary festival on every level – the curated films with filmmaker Q&As, the unrivaled hospitality of the staff and volunteers, and the many networking events and panels. One of the very best film festivals for filmmakers and film lovers!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Peter! It was so wonderful to meet you here and hopefully you will be back soon!

  • Ice Mrozek

    Dear filmmakers if you are reading this right now..STOP! and go submit your film.

    JDIFF is an exceptional film festival, they really know how to take care of you. The mid-west vibes are apparent, this is by far the kindest and most friendliest volunteer team you will ever meet. I promise you that!! & Susan is THE BEST!! The communication, the hospitality, the panels, the networking was ALL incredible, one of the best weeks I've had in a long time, made some great friends!!! They honestly took care of me so well, I'm still shaking my head in disbelief...There are not enough thank you's!! I just hope I have an opportunity to go back!! LOVE U JDIFF!! Miss you all!!

    August 2022
    Response from festival:

    What a lovely review Ice! Thank you so much!! It was great meeting you here as well and we hope you will be back!!

  • Ben Tedesco

    What an amazing festival in a town that could not be MORE supportive. I was surprised at the turn out of our shorts blocks and how great the audience was. They really were so supportive of the films and had great incites. One gentleman liked our film so much he brought me a book!

    We met so many great filmmakers and people around town. The parties were a blast. The panels were very informative. Overall it was a festival that felt small and intimate, but was bigger than you'd expect with an amazing turn out on both sides.

    Best part was our homestay. A retired couple opened their amazing home and hospitality to us and refused to even let us buy them dinner as a thank you. I can't wait to go back and stay again and be a part of such a great festival.

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    What a lovely review Ben. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed our homestay program as well. The Dubuque families enjoy it just as much as filmmakers!

  • Katharine Parsons

    Because of the mind-blowing diversity of the films programmed (all of them high quality), I spent a fair amount of time talking to Executive Director Susan Gorrell and other screeners on their programming teams about how they went about selecting the films. So filmmakers, this review is for you. Submit to this festival! They have dozens of screeners in various teams, and your film will be viewed in its entirety MULTIPLE times. If you are new to the festival circuit, sometimes screeners at other festivals are instructed to view the first 30 minutes of your film, and if it passes it goes up the chain. If not, it goes into the rubbish bin. In other festivals, screeners are told to just watch the first 3 MINUTES. So because of the diversity of the screeners at JDIFF, it results in a breathtaking array of films that are a joy to behold. Later on I noted that some of the films later wound up in Oscar-qualifying festivals—ha! But Susan Gorrell and her team snapped them up first!

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Katharine for your wonderful review. It was amazing to meet you at JDIFF and screen your film!

  • Amanda Serra

    This is a festival to return to every year! The diversity and quality of the films selected made for a wonderful weekend. The unique locations of where the films were shown allowed attendees to explore historic Dubuque while dropping in and out of the various film blocks, panels and workshops. The staff and volunteers were welcoming and helpful, and treated the filmmakers like family. Festival organizers made a point of bringing filmmakers and guests together in informals settings which allowed for great networking opportunities. Plus, there were plenty of events related to the festival outside of the film viewing. Kudos to the organizers for making Dubuque a festival destination!

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Amanda! I'm thrilled to hear you had a wonderful time here and we look forward to seeing more from you in the future!!