Year 5 is upon us!

Our goal is to curate a gallery of film for the underground, under-known, rough and raw filmmaker. Low Budget, analog format, top priority. The Portland Unknown Film Festival is here to showcase films from the deepest depths of filmmaking and encourage the future of cinema.

Your goal is to bring us into worlds we've never seen before. Take us on a lucid dream through your mind. Teach us something new. Show us the light. Make us go, "Huh?"

In 2020, the Portland Unknown Film Festival will continue to shake the foundation of contemporary filmmaking by uprooting the norms and defying convention. The festival will consist of multiple film sessions including a rowdy micro-short "Fingertips Festival" comprised of films 5 minutes or less and an International Music Video Party.

​Submit today. Unveil your experiments and alternate realities to us!

The Portland Unknown does not invite films. Rest assured; we watch every submission. All films are selected very carefully (even obsessively) from only the current year's batch of entries.


Unknown Masterpiece
Joe Couch Award in Experimentation
The Folk Award
Trans"format"ive Best
Best Art Direction
Best Form & Editing
Prize Soundscape
Top Ranking Student

The Portland Unknown Film Festival accepts entries of all lengths and styles. Entries will be judged and curated by The Unknown board of directors and judges.


Juried Films
Earth - Through January 1st /$7
Fire - January 2nd - March 18th /$10
Water - March 19th - May 20th /$12
Air - May 21th - June 17th /$15
Meta - June 18th - July 8th /$30

ALWAYS $5 for Pacific Northwest Filmmakers - This includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Northern California.
No restrictions apply. See Terms and Conditions.

We have never selected a film over 95 minutes. Please do not send films over 95 minutes. If you have a film over 1 hour 35 minutes you wish to be considered, please contact us with a trailer, screenshots and synopsis/intent at to discuss.

Music Videos
Free to all! Please send upbeat music video content only! All videos over 6 minutes will be automatically disqualified.

Submitted films agree that (1) their film may be shown at The North Portland Unknown Film Festival, (2) the submitter owns the copyright of the film or is authorized by the copyright holders to submit the film, (3) any music, archive footage or any other such material that is contained within your film has been approved by the copyright holders. You may be required to provide written evidence of this, (4) no post submission edits accepted without festival approval.

A submission does not guarantee a screening.

Overall Rating
  • Thank you Portland Unknown Film Festival! Excellent job with all of the film festival coverage and awesome communication. There were a lot of amazing films curated by an amazing team! Also THANKS for choosing my theme song for the the mixtape. What a bonus! You all went out of your way to send me a tape to KY.

    November 2019
  • Andrew Ching

    This is a wonderful small filmfest w/a great filmfest staff who are helping to get your "unknown film" out there to be seen by an audience.

    November 2019
  • Torin Langen

    These folks know what they're doing; a real grassroots underground festival being run by people who love what they're doing. A strong sense of DIY, championing outlier works that may not have found a home otherwise. While I couldn't attend in-person, their communication was top notch, and they worked with me to bring a musician in-theater to perform with my project. Might be the best experience I've ever had working with an event, can't recommend enough for those looking to screen their offbeat/experimental/punk films. Thanks Unknown!

    October 2019
  • I couldn't attend in person - but Portland Unknown really showed their appreciation by writing some wonderful, thoughtful words about my film, and I really felt like they got it - so many festivals give you laurels but nothing else, with Portland Unknown I felt the love - and I would love to attend one day!

    October 2019
  • Sandy Parker

    This was a well-attended festival with excellent hospitality that included delicious free snacks for starving filmmakers! Communication was excellent, and I appreciated the friendliness of those running the festival. I attended on days 1 and 2 and really enjoyed the experience!

    October 2019