Reel East Texas Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing independent filmmakers.

Located in the heart of the East Texas Piney Woods, Kilgore is unlike any other town in Texas. Its wildcatter spirit and workman mindset is ideally suited for independent filmmakers, and Kilgore’s unique skyline, authentic downtown and tall pine trees make for a picturesque Texas backdrop. The city’s Main Street and Historic District is home to the iconic Texas landmark Texan theater, where all films are screened. Beyond downtown, Kilgore offers a cultural and learning experience with East Texas Oil Museum and the Rangerette Showcase.

City events, parties, mixers and other custom-tailored activities make the Reel East Texas Film Festival a can’t miss for all filmmakers.

A festival hosted by filmmakers for filmmakers, RETFF loves great films, and bringing together audience, filmmaker and film industry representatives in celebration of artistic and independent spirit.

Awards & Prizes

Reel Jury Award (best of festival feature and short)
Reel People’s Choice Award (audience favorite)
Best Animated (feature and short)
Best Comedy (feature and short)
Best Drama (feature and short)
Best Documentary (feature and short)
Best Horror (feature and short)
Best Science Fiction (feature and short)
Best Director (documentary and narrative)
Best Actor/Actress (feature and short)
Best Contest Screenplay (feature and short)
Best Festival Screenplay (feature)
Best Foreign Film (feature and short)
Best Texas Film (feature and short)
Best Music Video
Best Dance Film

Rules & Terms

All films must be the original work of the filmmakers and all filmmakers must have the necessary rights. The festival is not liable for any rights issues.

Films of all lengths (short & feature) and all genres (family, animated, comedy, drama, sci-fi, action, horror, documentary, foreign, music video) are welcome to submit.

Screenplays (both short & feature) of all genres are welcome to submit. Screenplays must be non-produced as of the date of the film festival. (November 15, 2018)

Screener films should be submitted on digital file (Mov, Mp4) and a backup DVD or Blu-Ray, US Region 1 is required.

Films in language other than English must include English subtitles.

No feedback on submissions can be given.

The Filmmaker understands and accepts that they do not participate in receiving any funds from the Box-office proceeds which are fully retained by the festival to help cover the overall cost of the festival presentation. It should be noted for the record that box-office proceeds never cover the cost of presentation of the Features and Short Film Programs. The Festival (HIFF) is a non-profit, 501-C-3 Educational/Cultural Organization with Federal, State, County & City Tax-Exemptions.

We're filmmakers, too. It feels great to get an acceptance letter, and it hurts when we don't make the cut. We look forward to sending out this year's good news to select entrants, but we won't be mailing rejection letters: if you don't hear from us this time around, no worries -- keep at it, and start preparing your entry for next year's festival.

From the Lawyers: All participating filmmakers release the festival (RETFF) from any and all liability for damages or destruction of submitted materials (DVDs/BluRays/Flash Drives/etc). Entrants understand the submitted materials will be securely-held by the festival; every effort will be made to protect and control access for viewing. RETFF assumes absolutely no liability for theft, violations of copyright or piracy of submitted content.

15 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Story Time With Grumbles and Friends

    Thank you for producing this rad event in Kilgore! I wasn't able to attend this year but I can't wait to go next year!

    December 2017
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    Natasha Straley

    This fest was wonderful! You would never know it was the first year. I'm so grateful to have been a part of the fest's first year, this was something very special. It was run highly efficiently, with grace and professionalism while still honoring the free spirit of the filmmaker culture. The screenings went smoothly without technical delays. I truly loved it. Thank you for cultivating this space. The fimmaker's lounge was the best!

    December 2017
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    Louis Hunter

    Very welcoming and friendly - just like you'd expect from a Texas town. Can't wait to see it keep growing!

    November 2017
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    John Lawson

    Thanks to Reel East Texas Film Festival for including Whitney's Wedding. Although we were unable to attend in person, the communication and organization of the festival is excellent.

    November 2017
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    Colin Njemanze

    Had a great time at this festival. Chip and everyone that made it happened know what they're doing. Definitely a festival I will be submitting to again soon.

    November 2017