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
  • Zeus Kontoyannis

    Thank you so much to JDIFF for including us in this year's festival! We had a wonderful time and everyone, from the organizers to the volunteers where exceptional! By far one of the best run, best organized and filmmaker friendly festivals we've attended. JDIFF is the secret treasure in Iowa and we have no doubt it will be huge in the years to come. To all filmmakers, APPLY TO THIS FEST AND GO! You will have the time of your life!

    April 2019
  • Candice Carella

    This is an amazing film festival that really goes out the the way to make it a special celebration of phenomenal films and network opportunities with informative panels. The hospitality is top notch. I'll be back.

    May 2019
  • Naomi Sheridan

    Unfortunately we couldn't attend but it was clear from the get go that this was a festival that went above and beyond for the filmmakers! Susan and the team were fantastic and it was obvious that they put so much thought and effort into the festival and into the programs. They screened our short three times and we really appreciated that. So happy we entered!

    May 2019
  • Hermann Weiskopf

    This Film Festival was just perfect! If you have an independent film just go for it. Our feature film "Otto Neururer - Hope through Darkness" could not have had a better World Festival Premiere. Shown 3 times it literally grew from one showing to the next finding a growing and very entusiastic audience indeed. The whole festival team including the volunteers was perfect and heart warming. I felt so well there... people from Dubuque and surrounding who attended the film festival were incredibly friendy and open minded... a real pleasure! I left the place and festival with the best feelings and vibrations possible and with just one desire: to come back with our next film!
    Thank you so much for all the efforts and kindness and the attention you gave to our film including the press who published a few amazing articles about our movie in US and Canada... Hermann Weiskopf

    May 2019
  • Zachary Sherman

    Susan & everyone at JDIFF are top notch. Highly recommend this fest. Lovely town and film goers -- if you're looking for quality people to people film fests, you should have your film seen by these programmers.

    May 2019