From the founder of Australia's two leading genre film festivals - A Night of Horror International Film Festival and Fantastic Planet, Sydney Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival - comes a cinematic celebration of all things fantastic, frightening, underground, off-beat, alternative, and just plain weird... to the American Midwest!

The Midwest is filled with dark and mysterious byways, strange critters, and mythical beasties. And the great state of Wisconsin has more than its share: from the very real historical monsters Ed Gein and Jeffery Dahmer, through legendary cryptids like the Beast of Bray Road and the Hodag, to strange and wonderful places such as the Forevertron, a UFO landing port, and the mythical town of killer midgets known as Haunchyville.... It's the perfect territory for a festival that focuses on weird cinema from all around the world.

The festival team wants MidWest WeirdFest to evoke the awe and chills of the sideshow alley of a dark carnival, a place filled with wonders, terrors, and forbidden surprises. The cinematic equivalent of a collection of pulp magazines and underground comix. A film festival that not only celebrates and showcases independent genre cinema - horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller - but one that welcomes all types of underground film. From experimental and avant-garde to offbeat documentaries. The festival's seasoned programmers can't wait to see what cinematic wonders await in MidWest WeirdFest's first season of festival submissions!

MidWest WeirdFest's main venue is the Micon Downtown Cinema, located in the welcoming college town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Filmmaker feedback (also check out the reviews below):

Nicholas Costa (NEIL STRYKER AND THE TYRANT OF TIME): "I can't believe this was the first year of this festival. Midwest WeirdFest was run like a fest celebrating its 30th anniversary. No surprise as Dean Bertram is master & commander of the biggest genre fest in Australia; not just anybody gets to go around saying that they run the best ANYTHING for an entire continent, folks. And Dean Bertram shows you why he hosts one of the premiere genre fests in the world as he dedicates himself to promoting your film even after the fest has run, and, all the while making you feel like you're one of the family. We had our rust belt premiere of Neil Stryker and the Tyrant of Time in March 2017, having previously screened at A Night of Horror and Fantastic Planet Film Festival in Sydney, Australia in November 2016. The Wisconsin premiere was a huge success. Dean connected us with some great press and even helped churn out some of the best podcasts we've heard promoting our film. Who knew Eau Claire, Wisconsin, would be such a wonderful hub for indie film? You will not be disappointed."

Zachary Lona (WE CAME TO WRECK EVERYTHING): "I never expected our film to be conventionally programmable, so the moment I saw MidWest WeirdFest I knew it might have a home in this utterly mind-bending ride of a festival. Dr. Dean Bertram and the gang have a concise vision for screening only the best of genre and underground cinema. And amidst the chaos is the camaraderie and hospitality that's integral to the midwest as much as its oddities. It was an honor to be a part of the inaugural year, and here's to many more."

Benjamin Capps (IT GROWS DARK) My time at MidWest WeirdFest 2017 was a singular delight, beginning from the time that organizers Dean Bertram and Maddie Holiday Von Stark picked me up at the airport. When our conversation quickly evolved to a discussion about the 1950s UFO contactees, I knew I was in for a magical weekend. I saw such a breadth of great work and met several filmmakers whose visions have continued to inspire me. All of the film selections were uniquely different, and my only regret was that I had to return to Chicago before the final day of screenings. Finally, I was bestowed with the award for Best Animation for the stop-motion sequence of It Grows Dark, an unexpected and humbling accolade which has me all the more motivated about my new Sci-Fi project, CIVET. Eau Claire and the Micon Cinema were beautiful settings for the inauguration of a deliciously-eclectic film festival of which I again hope to be part!"

Awards & Prizes

Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best Animated Short. Best Music Video.

Rules & Terms

We require films initially be submitted via online screeners, i.e. private Youtube or Vimeo links. We do not accept physical preview copies (i.e. DVDs).

In submitting your film or video to MidWest WeirdFest film festival you guarantee that you have all the relevant permissions, licenses and releases for your film or video to be screened in a public exhibition. You must have in your possession the permissions, licenses and releases for the submitted film or video's music, script, actors etc.

There is no restriction as to the year that the film was made.

If your film is selected to screen at the festival, you must supply us with a copy of your film in one of the following formats: Blu-Ray, digital media file, DCP, or DVD.

While care will be taken, we are unable to guarantee the safety of your DVD, Blu-ray, hard drive, or film while in our possession, or in transit. If selected to screen at the festival, please do not send us a master copy, or your only copy of the film.

After the festival, hard drives containing digital files submitted to the festival for exhibition will be either returned to entrant or forwarded to another film festival as requested by entrant.

The festival only pays for return shipping. We do not pay for shipping both ways of DCPs or other exhibition mediums. If selected to screen at the festival, filmmaker agrees to arrange for and pay for shipping of film, BLU RAY, digital file/hard drive, and/or DCP to the festival in Wisconsin, USA. Filmmaker also agrees to provide necessary KDM for any DCP sent to the festival at no expense to the festival.

Additional publicity materials (jpg stills etc.) are required if your film is selected to screen at the festival.

Please select the most relevant category for your film. You may choose between:

1. Feature films: Narrative length feature film (45 to 145 minutes in duration). We welcome horror, sci-fi, underground, fantasy, thriller, experimental and any feature film one might consider weird.

2. Documentary films: Feature length documentary films (45 to 145 minutes in duration). Ideally dealing with off-beat, strange, dark, divergent, and/or peculiar, topics, places, people, and/or themes, or any documentary topic or theme one might consider weird.

3. Short Films: Any live action film, narrative or documentary (45 minutes or under in duration). We welcome horror, sci-fi, underground, fantasy, thriller, experimental and any short film one might consider weird. Narrative and documentary films are accepted in this category.

4. Short Animations: Any animated short film (45 minutes or under in duration). We welcome horror, sci-fi, underground, fantasy, thriller, and experimental animations or anything one might consider weird.

5. Music Videos: Any music video that deals with horror, sci-fi, fantasy, or thriller themes or tropes, or those that are experimental or underground in style. Or any music video portraying subject matter that one might consider weird.

6. Web or TV: Single episodes of web series or television series, and/or short films and/or videos, made primarily for exhibition or distribution on television or the internet (50 minutes and under in duration). We welcome horror, sci-fi, underground, fantasy, thriller, experimental and anything one might consider weird. Narrative as well as documentary content is accepted in this category.

Judges, selected by Lovecraft 21C Productions LLC, will decide the winners of each of the above categories. In all cases, the judges' decisions are final.

Entrants whose films are chosen for screening at the festival will be notified by early February 2018.

If you decide to attend the festival we are unable to cover any costs that your travel or accommodation might incur.

By submitting to the festival you agree to abide by and commit to the following statement: "I authorize Lovecraft 21C Productions LLC to screen the film or video listed above, upon the film or video's acceptance in MidWest WeirdFest. For the purpose of the screenings I authorize Lovecraft 21C Productions to market the film or video in whatever manner they see fit. I acknowledge that Lovecraft 21C Productions holds the screening rights of the film that I submitted to MidWest WeirdFest for the purposes of screening the film at the 2018 MidWest WeirdFest film festival. I confirm that all other rights remain the sole property of myself and/or my nominated production company. I hereby confirm that all material used in the production of the film or video is the original work of myself or my nominated production company, or is work for which I or my nominated production company have obtained with releases, including but not limited to actors, performances and the musical score. I guarantee that I have obtained all the necessary permissions, licenses and clearances to enter this film or video into MidWest WeirdFest film festival, and that the film and the screening of the film by Lovecraft 21C Productions, does not infringe the moral and ethical rights including copyright of any third party. I understand that my submission is in no way a guarantee of acceptance into MidWest WeirdFest, and that nobody representing Lovecraft 21C Productions or MidWest WeirdFest has guaranteed my acceptance into the festival prior to this submission. I have read and agree to the general rules, terms and conditions of MidWest WeirdFest. I have also read and agree to any specific rules relating to the category that I am entering my film or video."

4 Reviews

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • false
    Paul von Stoetzel

    I have been screening at film festivals for over a decade and I've never had such an incredible experience at a fest much less an inaugural year at a festival. The staff was great, accommodating and wonderful to work with as well as the fact that the shorts selection my film was screening with was one of if not the strongest selection of shorts I've ever been programmed with. I cannot recommend MidWest WeirdFest enough. I'm already planning on submitting for next year and I hope to screen and attend there again.

    March 2017
  • false
    Dan Schneidkraut

    Outstanding festival. Great venue. And it's really refreshing to see interesting films that aren't in every other film festival and shorts that aren't just the same old cute punchline based crime/zombie b*******. Very well programmed. I really hope to have the opportunity to attend again in the future.

    March 2017
  • false
    Danny Villanueva

    The Midwest Weirdfest was an absolute blast! My short film, 'Don't Cry, Papa' screened at the inaugural fest and I couldn't have been more pleased. Dean Bertram was a very friendly and professional director who showed great hospitality. The fest was held in an actual cinema which was a huge plus. His selection of films was of high quality and definitely all spoke weirdness. I met some very cool and interesting fellow filmmakers and audience members which was a great experience. I highly recommend submitting and attending to anyone interested in a very enjoyable genre festival!

    March 2017
  • false
    Seth Breedlove

    Wonderful festival. A lot of effort, care and thought went into it. Great promotion of our film as well. Highly recommended.

    March 2017