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. Through film and other media 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, web/tv/new media series episodes and student films for its 12th annual festival March 2022. 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 and will receive free admission to 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.

Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Documentary Feature (30+ min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Narrative Feature (30+ min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Documentary Short (less than 30 min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Narrative Short (less than 30 min)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Animation (any length)
Walter Ordway Best of Fest (juried) Web/TV/New Media Series
Best of Fest Student Film Awards (juried): narrative, documentary, animation

Member's Choice Best of Fest Award (non-juried)

OFF accepts films that focus on the issues of our time including environmental, social justice, arts, adventure, 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 October 31, 2021. 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, 2022.

Once accepted, filmmakers will be required to send a highest-resolution digital version of the final cut of the accepted film (.mp4 or .mov preferred) by January 15, 2022, as well as a functional DVD of the film for backup and to be included in our Member's Only Film Lending Library.

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

Overall Rating
  • 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
  • Thomas C. Johnson

    A gem of a film festival in Northeast Iowa. Great lineup of films each and every year.

    May 2018
  • Jon Navarro

    A festival for filmmakers, by people who really know what good filmmaking is! The quality of the film screened here are phenomenal, so to be an Official Selection to this festival is truly an honor. Everyone involved was warm, friendly, and extremely helpful. The fact that it was held on a beautiful campus made all the venues easy to get to. And there was a VIP filmmaker reception area every day of the festival. For my first trip to Iowa I truly enjoyed myself and hope to return soon. A great place for up and coming filmmakers to make their mark!

    April 2018
  • Rob Rook

    The Oneota Film Festival was a wonderful experience for me. The citizens of Decorah were welcoming and eager to support the festival. Most screening blocks I attended were full with a captive and engaged audience. The Oneota team ran an organized and thoughtful program. Thank you to the entire festival team and to the people of Decorah, IA!

    April 2018