The Midwest Film Festival is the nation's only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker, presenting audiences with regionally produced cinema throughout the year. This year-round film festival sits proudly at the center of the film scene in Chicago and the Midwest and is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the Midwest film community.

ATTENTION: WE ARE A YEAR-ROUND FESTIVAL. THE SCHEDULE BELOW SHOULD BE USED WHEN DETERMINING DATES & DEADLINES.

PLEASE REVIEW TO ENSURE YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR FILM TO BE CONSIDERED FOR OFFICIAL SELECTION PRIOR TO EACH SCHEDULED THEMED SCREENING.

2021 SEASON SCHEDULE:

March:
Virtual Feature Film Screening

May:
Virtual Homecoming Shorts & Music Videos Screening
This is a new theme for The Midwest Film Festival. Normally, we only accept films produced in the Midwest, but for this theme night only we'll also be accepting submissions from all filmmakers who:
Their story was born or inspired in the Midwest
They were born here/lived in the Midwest
They went to film school in the Midwest

July:
Comedy Shorts & Music Videos Screening + Summer Bash at Chi-Town Movies Drive-in

September:
Feature Film Screening at The Gene Siskel Film Center

November:
Celebrating Womxn Voices Screening at The Gene Siskel Film Center
This themed night has historically been called Female FIlmmaker Night. This year we have updated the title to create a more inclusive and intersectional program. For this themed night, we'll be accepting submissions for all short films & music videos that were directed by individuals who identify as woman, trans, and gender non-conforming.

January 2022:
2021 Best of The Midwest Awards

Each Themed Screening will include festival laurels for all official selections and one merited project will win the judges trophy.

Films and filmmakers selected for a Themed Screening during this year-round film festival will be automatically eligible for nomination to be recognized with an award at the Best of the Midwest Awards (BMAs), our annual gala event and fundraiser.

PLEASE REVIEW OUR FAQ, BELOW:

THE MIDWEST FILM FESTIVAL IS DEDICATED TO MIDWEST FILMS. DEFINE "MIDWEST."

We define the Midwest as the ten-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU MEAN BY "MIDWEST FILM?"

Ideally, a “Midwest film” is one that is wholly produced in the Midwest by Midwest filmmakers. However, on an individual basis, we do also consider films produced by Midwest filmmakers outside of the Midwest and films produced by non-Midwest filmmakers within the Midwest.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM LENGTH TO BE ELIGIBLE AS A SHORT?
For our 2021 programming, we are only accepting shorts that are 25 minutes or less.

SO IF A CHICAGO FILMMAKER SHOOTS A FILM IN WYOMING, WOULD THAT QUALIFY?

For all of our screenings, except Homecoming Shorts Night, Films produced outside of the Midwest are considered on an individual basis. If a film is shot in Wyoming and the director, producer and lead actors are all Midwest, then it is likely we will accept that film for consideration. If a film is shot in Wyoming with an all-Wyoming cast and crew but only the EDITOR is Midwest, it is unlikely we will accept the film for consideration. The best thing to do is to e-mail us before submitting your film if you are unsure your film will qualify. This year we are hosting for one night only, Homecoming Shorts Night. For this screening all films will be considered that meet any one of these criteria:
1. The film was inspired by something in a midwest state
2.The director or producer of the film was born in a Midwest state
3. The director or producer of the film went to film school in a Midwest state

WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIFICATIONS FOR FILM SUBMISSIONS (LENGTH, GENRE)?

For the 2021 season, The Midwest Film Festival is accepting both short-form content and feature films of all genres.

WHEN WILL I BE NOTIFIED OF MY SUBMISSION STATUS?

Because our film festival screenings are held year-round, the screening process can range from three weeks to a few months as we program our monthly screenings around each theme. Generally speaking, though, a film is considered under consideration until the filmmaker is notified otherwise.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A FILM AND WHAT IS YOUR SELECTION PROCESS?

We're dedicated to great Midwest filmmakers, films, and short-form stories of any genre with-in our categories and each submission is considered and scored on an individual basis.

Upon submission, members of our Screening Committee** view and score each film 1-10 in the following areas: Creativity/originality (is it a fresh idea, creatively executed?), direction, writing, cinematography, performances, production value, pacing, structure, sound quality/music.

After each film is scored by Screening Committee members in these areas, an overall score is calculated from each judge based on the average scores given in each area. Overall scores given by the judges are then calculated to formulate an overall average score. Films receiving high scores from the Screening Committee advance to be considered for screening.

Screening Committee members and festival leadership then work together to program each month's film lineup based on many factors like overall film quality, as well as other factors such as monthly theme, flow with other films (if showing multiple films in one night), timeliness of film's message, and similarity to other recently screened films. Which is to say, sometimes we have to reject great films because we recently showed a film on a similar topic or other very practical reason like that.

** Our Screening Committee is made up entirely of volunteers who are film industry professionals. At present, we have 34 members of the Screening Committee, and approximately 54% of the committee is female-identifying

I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS FOR YOU! WHAT SHOULD I DO?

No problem! Feel free to e-mail us at submissions@midwestfilm.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Reynaldo Dumas

    I love the Midwest Film Festival. It's so awesome that there's a place for filmmakers from across the Midwest to showcase their work. The festival itself is so well put together thanks to their fantastic team. If you're from the Midwest, this is the place to submit your film. I will definitely submit my next project to them.

    March 2021
  • Laura Madalinski

    Highly recommend! Very communicative, friendly, and helpful. We only had two weeks to get word out about the screening, and it still sold out!

    February 2020
  • Matt Knudsen

    The festival was very well run and supported by an incredible community of film makers and fans. Highly recommended!

    August 2019
  • Midwest Independent gets a strong recommendation from me. I loved screening my short there for Midwest Shorts night in March 2019. The staff does a fine job of curating the films and creating a culture that not only nurtures indie film, but also celebrates the Midwest as a unique backdrop for great storytelling.

    August 2019
  • I really enjoyed this festival! I was a rookie and they welcomed me in. Got to meet a lot of really exciting Midwest filmmakers on a comedy showcase night. Loved a lot of what I saw. Really into this as a local institution!

    December 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Ned! We really appreciate you for joining us, and for you kind words. Hope to see you again soon!