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 4th 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!"

Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Short, Best Animated Short, Best Music Video, Independent Spirit Award, Feature Screenplay Competition Winner, Feature Screenplay Competition 1st Runner Up, Feature Screenplay Competition 2nd Runner Up, Feature Screenplay Finalist, Short Screenplay Competition Winner, Short Screenplay Competition 1st Runner Up, Short Screenplay Competition 2nd Runner Up, Short Screenplay Competition Finalist.

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: digital media file uploaded to our Dropbox account, or DCP shipped to us on a hard drive.

While care will be taken, we are unable to guarantee the safety of your 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, and unable to upload a digital copy of their film to the festival's Dropbox account, the filmmaker agrees to arrange for and pay for digital file/hard drive, and/or DCP shipping 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.

7. Feature Screenplay Competition: Competition for feature length screenplays. We welcome horror, sci-fi, underground, fantasy, thriller, experimental, off-beat, and any feature screenplay that one might consider weird.

8. Short Screenplay Competition: Competition for short film screenplays. We welcome horror, sci-fi, underground, fantasy, thriller, experimental, off-beat and any short film screenplay one might consider weird.

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 mid February 2020.

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 2020 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."


There is no restriction to the year that the screenplay was written.

Screenplays must be submitted electronically online.

All screenplays should be formatted in accord with industry standards.

Please include a paragraph synopsis.

No rewritten/corrected pages will be accepted once entry is received.

Screenplay must be in English.

Screenplay must not have been previously optioned, purchased, in production or produced.

Screenplays written as adaptations of other works must have secured rights before being submitted.

The entrant retains copyright to their screenplay.

The entrant agrees that he or she will never assert against Lovecraft 21C Productions or MidWest WeirdFest any claim or action based on plagiarism, infringement, confidential or fiduciary relationship, implied contract, idea theft, unfair competition or any other theory arising in connection with their submission to MidWest WeirdFest, and the entrant understands that Lovecraft 21C Productions accepts no liability of any kind for the unauthorized use of all or part of such submissions by any person. In this regard, the entrant hereby absolutely releases and forever discharges Lovecraft 21C Productions, MidWest WeirdFest and its officers, employees, volunteers, judges, readers, affiliates, and associates, individually and collectively, of or from any and all claims, liabilities, damages, legal fees, expenses, debts, actions, and causes of action against Lovecraft 21C Productions or MidWest WeirdFest of every kind whatsoever, now and in the future, in connection with the entrant's submission.

Overall Rating
  • Jacob Gillman

    MidWest WeirdFest was such an amazing experience. Dean has impeccable taste in offbeat film, and being our first film festival, it was a really welcoming and supportive environment. We couldn't have asked for a better premiere for our film. Kudos to Dean and the entire festival.

    March 2019
  • Benjamin Capps

    It was a brilliant experience screening at MidWest WeirdFest again. My film CIVET won Best Sci Fi Short, received a great response and I met a number of other eclectic filmmakers and fans. My thanks to Dean and the MWWF crew for an amazing film festival that pushes the envelope in so many directions. I look forward to returning! Recommended!

    March 2019
  • Ted Michaels

    I’m so glad I went to this festival with our film! Can’t say enough good things about Dean Bertram and what he’s done here with weirdfest. It’s a truely independent film festival for truely independent film makers. That should be the norm for film feativals but the reality is that it isn’t. Most films at most festivals are sourced right from studios. Dean actually watches all his submissions. His picks are based on quality and if they fit the weird vibe of his festival. If you have a work of originality, your submission fee will not be wasted here. I’ll always be thankful that Midwest Weirdfest exists!

    March 2019
  • Zeshaan Younus

    Dean and his team provide such a unique platform for filmmakers! We were proud to screen and incredibly grateful to be selected as 2019's "best short horror film." MidWest WeirdFest is a "must submit" for as long as I am making genre films. I could not attend unfortunately but communication was great and I will not miss it next year!

    March 2019
  • Though I could not make the festival in person this year, it was great to be able to follow the action online --and to echo everyone else, what a fun festival! I'm thrilled my screenplay was included! Looking forward to next year!

    March 2019