Known for it's quaint location, friendly staff/volunteers, inquisitive audience, consistent communication, multiple screening opportunities, workshops, panels and other amazing networking opportunities and parties; it's no wonder JDIFF was voted one of the coolest film festivals and one of the top 50 worth the submission fee by MovieMaker Magazine (2016 & 2017). JDIFF also ranks as one of the top 100 reviewed festivals by FilmFreeway. JDIFF is ALL about the independent filmmaker!

Dubuque, Iowa is a quaint city on the Mississippi and 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.

Majority of events and venues are located on Main Street 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, home stay 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, Director of Photography, etc and choose the final winner of each category.

$ 3,000 Best Documentary
$ 3,000 Best Narrative Feature
$ 2,000 Best Short (3 - 20 min length)
$ 2,000 Best Short (21 - 49 min length)


We award over $20,000 in cash and benefits.

Additional categories to be awarded (such as Best Actress, Best Actor, etc) but are trophy only. No cash and limited travel benefits.

1) All decisions of programmers and jurors are final. All entries will be viewed and given equal consideration.
3) All submitted materials must include the FilmFreeway tracking number and additional information as listed in the General Rules.
4). Press Kit materials as listed above will be sent only upon notification of Officially Selected. The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY of marketing and promotion if proper press kit materials are not sent after notification as deemed in the General Rules. It is the sole responsibility of the Filmmaker to send all materials listed.
5) Notification date is on or around March 15, 2019.
6). If selected as an Official Selection, projects are to be uploaded to the designated JDIFF FTP site. One (1) screening copy must be sent on a DVD/Bluray and/or thumb-drive (thumb-drive preferred).
7) JDIFF reserves the right to select films from the entire pool of submissions.
8) There are no restrictions on premiere or distribution status, but films may not have been completed prior to January 1, 2017.
10) JDIFF does consider works in progress.
11) 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.
12) 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.
13). 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.
14). Dates and guidelines subject to change without prior notice.
15). JDIFF pays for the top 3 nominees in each category to attend the festival. Nominee flights are booked 3 - 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 cut-off, 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.
16). It is preferred that nominees are in attendance. If you are unable to attend, you forfeit your flight reimbursement/booked trip.

Thank you and happy submitting!

Overall Rating
  • Taylor Stanton

    Thanks so much for having our film play in Dubuque this spring! I hope to attend and screen there again in the future. I strongly recommend this festival to any filmmakers out there.

    October 2018
  • Skye Borgman

    Seriously one of my favorite festivals. Great charm and hospitality...but also really great programming and a lot of fun. It doesn't get any better.

    September 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much Skye!! It was such an honor screening your film at JDIFF and meeting you. We look forward to future submissions.

  • Hadley Hillel

    Julien Dubuque 2018 was one of the best film festival experiences I've ever had. It takes over the entire town and has world class programming; all the short film blocks were put together better than any other festival I've been to in recent memory and the features were excellent as well. I met filmmakers from around the world that I know I'll be in touch with for years to come, had one of my favorite karaoke experiences of all time at one of their after-parties... the list continues. And all that set before a backdrop of Victorian mansions on cliffs that tower over the entire town. It's an experience not to be missed.

    September 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Hadley!! We appreciate your kind words and look forward to seeing more amazing projects from you! It was great to meet you and we look forward to seeing you again in 2019.

  • Jillian Corsie

    Julien Dubuque is an awesome film festival! They really made us feel welcome. Susan is right there every day to answer any questions you might have, and they provided three meals a day to filmmakers, which is important because festival costs add up! Audiences were enthusiastic and asked really thoughtful questions at Q&A's and the festival volunteers clearly just love films. We met so many other wonderful filmmakers and took full advantage of the karaoke! I will definitely be applying here again!

    June 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much Jillian! It was great meeting you here and we hope to see you again soon!

  • Douglas Raine

    I was unable to attend... but, our Executive Producer/Writer was, and here is what she said:

    I recently had the honor of showing my coming of age feature film, Lucky U Ranch, directed by Steve Anderson, at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. What a wonderful experience this was for all of the filmmakers. Festival Director, Susan Gorrell, and her vast community of friendly, and competent volunteers made sure every detail was attended to. I saw many of the 120 films, and the quality was excellent. The historic Julien Dubuque Hotel dedicated a huge area to the filmmakers to get acquainted, enjoy a free meal, be interviewed on live radio, be photographed, or have a massage. There were several panels discussing relevant issues in this rapidly changing world of film. Each evening offered live entertainment in a different venue. Have I mentioned how charming Dubuque is? There were filmmakers from all over the world, truly international, and I can honestly say everyone I spoke with wants to come back. This fest is the best of the best.

    Ginia Desmond,
    Writer, Executive Producer

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks you so much Ginia! It was such a pleasure meeting you here and we look forward to seeing you again!