The Midwest Independent Film Festival is the nation's only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker, presenting audiences with regionally produced independent cinema every First Tuesday of the month at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark in Chicago. This year-round film festival sits proudly at the center of the independent film scene in Chicago and the Midwest and is dedicated to celebrating and supporting to Midwest film community.

As a monthly festival, we have screening events throughout the year. While some are recurring signature events such as Female Filmmakers Night, Comedy Shorts Night, and Midwest Advertising Community Shorts, our other monthly screenings vary between a stand-alone feature film screening, or a collection of short films of different genres.

***PLEASE NOTE: Because we are a monthly festival, our submissions and notification dates are regularly adjusted throughout the year to accommodate that programming schedule. However, also please note that because of our themed nights of programming and nature of our festival, we often consider work for a few months down the road if it fits within one of our special themed programs. Also, while we make every effort to circulate submissions around our Screening Committee as quickly as possible, we regularly keep submissions in consideration when moving into a new month and new festival season. In short: your work is still in consideration until you hear from us otherwise! So, don't fret too much about the beginning of one season and the start of the next, or of one of the monthly screening events passing. Just submit your work under the category where it fits best, make sure to fill out the questions about the Midwestern connection your films has, and you're all set.***

Films and filmmakers featured 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), out annual gala event and fundraiser. Award categories include Best Feature Film, Short Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Music Video, Editing and Cinematography.

The Midwest Independent Film Festival is year-round film festival that takes place every First Tuesday of the month and is solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker.

PLEASE REVIEW OUR FAQ, BELOW:

THE MIDWEST INDEPENDENT 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.

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

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.

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

The Midwest Independent Film Festival will consider films ranging anywhere from one to 180 minutes. We will consider films from all genres, including narrative, documentary, experimental, music video and animated.

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 often program our monthly screenings around a theme or specific focus such as by genre, or within established annual events such as Female Filmmakers Night or Advertising Community Shorts Night. 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 stories of any genre or length, 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 and our Submissions Dept or Executive Director Amy Guth (amy@midwestfilm.com), and we'll get right back to you as soon as possible.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • 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!

  • Ashley Brandon

    A wonderful festival that is such a valuable resource to Midwest filmmakers and film lovers.

    September 2018
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Ashley! Hope to see you again, soon.