Held among the spectacular rivers and bluffs of the Driftless Region in Northeastern Iowa, the Oneota Film Festival, OFF, brings compelling, innovative, and inspiring films and filmmakers to Decorah, Iowa, from around the globe. Through films that illuminate the human condition, OFF aims to engage a large and diverse audience in the critical issues of our time.

OFF invites documentary, narrative, animated, and student films for its 13th annual festival March 2023. All films submitted will be juried by an international panel of filmmakers and film scholars. Festival events include screenings of films, discussions, and panels with invited filmmakers and local/regional experts; an opening night Gala; Filmmakers Reception Saturday evening; and special events in conjunction with the Decorah community.

Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the entire festival and all events. Come interact with an educated, involved audience! A limited number of small travel stipends are available to filmmakers. Please contact director@oneotafilmfestival.org for details.

Awards are offered in each film category, in addition to an Audience Choice award. Oneota Film Festival was initiated by Luther College alumni Walter Ordway, a world traveler, photographer, and filmmaker and photographer and filmmaker Kyrl Henderson.

Closed captioning recommended.

Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Documentary Feature (40+ min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Narrative Feature (40+ min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Documentary Short (less than 40 min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Narrative Short (less than 40 min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Animation (any length)
Best of Fest Student Film Awards (juried): narrative, documentary, animation
Member's Choice Best of Fest Award (non-juried)

Numbers of awards are subject to quantity and quality of films submitted.

OFF accepts films that focus on the issues of our time including adventure, environmental, social justice, arts, fitness, eco-travel, food/agriculture and creativity, as well as films that address all aspects of the human condition. Filmmakers and world travelers, Luther College grads Walter Ordway and Kyrl Hendersen conceived of the Festival as a way to connect filmmakers and audience members.

Films are accepted on a rolling basis until September 30, 2022. Decisions on film selection and awards lie solely with OFF, including the right to select or reject any or all films, and will be made no later than January 5, 2023.

Any NON-ENGLISH film has to be accompanied with EMBEDDED Closed Caption in English to be displayed for review and screening. Audiences appreciate embedded Closed Caption in films in English, as well.

The Oneota Film Festival is unable to offer fee waivers at this time and does not pay screening fees for submitted films.

Overall Rating
  • I look forward to submitting my next film. Thank you for the great support! I had a great experience...

    March 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Quinn! We so enjoyed showing your film at the festival this year! THANK you and good luck with your future projects!

  • Demian SaldaƱa

    Great festival with great communication from the organizers! We highly recommend it!

    March 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Demian! We appreciate your feedback and were thrilled to screen your film at our festival!

  • Bertrand Lemeunier

    Thank you Oneota Film Festival Team !
    I would love to attend this nice festival but I was not available.
    Glad to share with you our documentary GROWING ON TWO WHEELS

    March 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Betrand! We appreciate you submitting Growing On Two Wheels - it was a great film! We hope you can join us a future festival!

  • kevin kelley

    We regretted not being able to attend the festival this year. However, we were invited to have a special screening at an event weeks before the actual festival. The Oneota festival people are fantastic and the Q&A was one of the best we have ever had with this film.

    February 2020
  • Andre Gaumond

    I didn't have the chance to be present at their festival but I was happy to see that I win an Award for best tv series for my film SWAP. Communication is not their priority, I have written them many times and they have responded only once. They told me that their festival is not really a place to find distribution. But I was really pleased to be selected and win an award.

    March 2019