Voted one of the top 50 Film Festivals worth the Submission Fee in 2016 AND 2017 by MovieMaker Magazine, the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival acknowledges emerging filmmakers from around the world, with a strong emphasis on discovering and encouraging new talent. In recognition of the time and talent of the independent filmmaker, awarding over $30,000 in cash and benefits, including a $10,000 Best of the Fest award.

With the majority of events located on Main Street downtown Dubuque; Filmmakers, Attendees and Special Guests are able to attend numerous screenings and special. We encourage and schedule networking opportunities.

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.

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.

**Over $30,000 in cash and benefits to be awarded**

$10,000 Best of the Fest (Includes Shorts, Features and Documentaries)
$ 3,000 Best Domestic Narrative Feature
$ 3,000 Best Narrative Feature
$ 2,000 Best Short (3 - 20 min length)
$ 2,000 Best Short (21 - 49 min length)


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, 2018.
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, 2016.
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). *Flights for nominees are reimbursed or booked up to $500.00. International flights are reimbursed or booked up to $650.00.
16). Nominees must be in attendance to receive prize. If you are not able to attend, you will be disqualified. Except for Best of the Fest. This category is chosen and announced at the festival.

Thank you and happy submitting!

Overall Rating
  • 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!

  • Noel Harris

    Was not able to attend but the correspondence with Susan and her team was top notch.

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Noel! You were missed, but hopefully you will be here with another film another year!

  • Stare YILDIRIM

    Absolutely AMAZING! Very professional and also caring management team. Susan is very supportive of filmmakers and she loves what she is doing. I dont even know how she can handle all the organization and still answer all the emails...Thank you for everything, you guys ROCK!

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much Stare! Wish you could have made it!

  • Mary Lou Belli

    I thought this was one of the best organized, friendliest, supportive festival I've been to.....and the food in the filmmakers lounge was AMAZING.....I felt respected, well taken care of, and I loved the drive from Chicago (cheaper air fare) to Iowa.

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Mary Lou. It was so great meeting you here and we look forward to seeing you again in 2019 - hopefully!

  • JDIFF is a small festival that packs a lot of punch! WOW!! As a filmmaker I was able to screen multiple times during the 4 day event with a Q & A following each screening....I got to meet so many fans of cinema as well as filmmakers! Additionally, the way Executive Director, Susan Gorrell, and her staff made themselves accessible was beyond expectations...and all the events, including the final awards show and party was just STELLAR. I want to go back every year!!

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for your kind words Heather!! So glad you had a wonderful time here!! Hope to see you again soon!