The 5th Annual NIFA Awards Show (Sept 23, 2023 - 7 PM-9:30 PM) will be held at Lawrence University (The Cinema @ Warch Center) Tickets are $15 (LU Students with ID $10)

The National Independent Film Association (The NIFA Awards) ) is a film festival and music festival in the vein of South by Southwest (SXSW). Held at Lawrence University (a Top 50 Liberal Arts College in the Nation) in Appleton, WI (The home of Harry Houdini, Willem Dafoe and The Mile of Music). Hosted by Dan Davies ( star of the worldwide Netflix sensation "A Trip to Jamaica" (Streamed on Netflix Jan 2020 - Jan 2022) and the cult classic film "Ed Gein, the Musical". The National Independent Film Awards (The NIFA Awards) comprise of Lifetime Achievement Awards (our inaugural winners in 2019 - Sir Sean Connery - NIFA Lifetime Achievement Award henceforth The Connery Award, Neal McCoy - NIFA Musical Legend Award - The Real McCoy Award, Jeff Olm - NIFA Lifetime Achievement - Post-Production - The Olm Award & Michael Blake (awarded posthumously) NIFA Legend Award - The Blake Award and the NIFA Best Independent Film, NIFA Best International Film, NIFA Best Micro-Budget Film, NIFA Best Documentary Film, NIFA Best Short Film, NIFA Best Music Video, NIFA Best Short Screenplay & NIFA Best Screenplay.

The National Independent Film Association (The NIFA Awards) will be nominating 5 films (if applicable in all categories) for the NIFA Best Independent Film Award (1 winner), nominated films for the NIFA Best International Film (1 winner), 5 nominated films for the NIFA Best Micro-Budget Film (1 winner), 5 nominated films for the NIFA Best Documentary Film (1 winner), 5 nominated films for the NIFA Best Short Film (1 winner) and 5 nominated films for the NIFA Best Music Video (1 winner). Each winner receives our beautiful Film Fest NIFA Trophy or our NIFA Certificate .

All films that were filmed or screened from 2/01/22 to 9/10/23 are eligible. We do accept works in progress but would prefer screen ready versions. NIFA Best Independent Film (60 mins or more) NIFA Best Micro-Budget Film (60 mins or more) NIFA Best Short Film (Under 60 mins), NIFA Best International Film (over 10 mins) NIFA Best Documentary (over 10 mins) NIFA Music Video (under 15 mins).

Send an online screener through FilmFreeway or other online link:
(Dropbox, Google Drive, Vimeo, etc.) Send links to and include your FilmFreeway registration number.

We will accept DVD's or BRD's in the mail but online is preferred.

1) The application fee is non-refundable. DVD's or USB Drives will not be returned unless a prepaid mailer or label is included. By submitting you are agreeing to this and to being completely responsible for any problems which might arise due to any uncleared material (music or other) .

2) There may be distributors present but no distribution is guaranteed.

3) We will have a panel of judges. Winners will be announced on Sept 23rd, 2023 The first prize winner in each category will win our NIFA Film Award Trophy or NIFA Certificate.

4) People whose films have been selected will be notified by Sept 16th 2023.

5) Submitted films will not receive a screening fee if screened at the The Film Forte.

6) The Film Forte in conjunction with the National Independent Film Association (The NIFA Awards) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless The Film Forte and the National Independent Film Association (The NIFA Awards) from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • We really enjoyed this year's event! Our film "Confessions of a Sailor" was one of the finalists at the 5th Annual NIFA Awards, and we were selected "Best Micro-Budget Film". It took place at the beautiful Warch Cinema on the Lawrence University Campus in Appleton, WI. It was a fun mix of awards night, a film premiere, and a fun wrap party on historic College Avenue.

    A special shoutout and thank you to the organizers, judging panel, and host/founder Dan Davies for a very fine evening with fellow filmmakers and friends.

    September 2023
  • Stephen Spanel

    I don't usually leave reviews, but if you're planning on submitting, just know that it's a very small event put on by one guy for one night mostly for his friends. Very little communication before the event.

    October 2022
  • I’m very honored that “Little Things Mean a Lot” was selected as NIFA Best Script. Thank you.

    October 2022
  • Tony Hall

    NIFA was unable to host their live, in-theater selections due to the Pandemic, but they made the gracious decision to still host an awards show that announced the selections and winners. The 'Lonesome' team was honored that they still went ahead with the online event and was selected as 'Best Independent Feature Film'. We are bummed that we didn't play to a live audience in Appleton, WI... but NIFA will return to normal as the world eventually will return to normal... and we will see NIFA successfully brand themselves as Wisconsin's SXSW. Great things are ahead for this festival!!! Great experience!

    September 2021
  • Drew Fortier

    Absolutely wonderful festival with incredible staff!

    September 2021