Moviemaker magazine, in its spring 2008 issue, listed the Route 66 Film Festival as one of the 25 festivals worth the entry fee. Ours was also a featured festival at the 2009 International Film Festival Summit in Las Vegas.

The Route 66 Film Festival began in 2002 as a part of the Mother Road Festival, celebrating the vehicles and history of the famous highway. It is currently a separate event from the car show. We have screened films from many countries, including Belgium, France, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, Spain, Great Britain, Uruguay, Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

We celebrate diversity and welcome films of all lengths and genres. We like good stories that inform and touch us, and ask audiences to vote for their favorites from films in various genres. Judges select films for official awards. This is a festival that has something for everyone.

Several films screened at our festival have subsequently received distribution on Netflix and gone on to be honored at other festivals. We are proud that three of the short films screened at our festival have also been nominated for Oscars.

All entries selected for the festival will receive 2 free passes to the festival; if the Festival is held virtually (whether in place of or in addition to in-person), the entries selected will receive one free pass to the session in which their film is presented. Film makers are invited and encouraged to attend to interact with other film makers and the audience.

Trophies will be awarded for judges' choices in various categories including Best of Fest, as well as Audience Favorite. The committee reserves the right to not present awards in all categories and to add categories for films that merit special recognition.

Rules for Films
1. Films can be any length, any genre with the following exceptions: Only films under 30 minutes will be accepted in the genres of Animation, Experimental, and Student Showcase; and features longer than 100 minutes are discouraged. Features of 90 minutes are strongly encouraged.
2. We encourage filmmakers to select no more than 2 genres; one primary and one secondary.
3. Films should feature some kind of journey--physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual.
4. Submissions may be submitted online or on NTSC DVD in Region 0 or Region 1 format. If submitting via DVD, please indicate FilmFreeway tracking number and running time on the DVD.
5. If a film is selected for the festival, the film maker must provide a file of either .MP4 or .MOV a minimum of 10 days before the Festival's opening night. DVDs will not be accepted for showing at the Festival.
6. Submit a separate entry for each film submission.
7. While Foreign language films must have English subtitles, all filmmakers are encouraged to provide subtitles to encourage inclusivity. White letters with black outlines are strongly recommended for maximum readability.
8. Student fees apply to students in elementary and secondary schools, as well as students in colleges, universities and film schools.
9. DVDs will not be returned.
10. Submissions must be postmarked by August 15, 2021. Make checks payable to Route 66 Film Festival.
11. If submitting by DVD for consideration, send DVD, application form, fee, and a short bio of the filmmaker in padded, secure packaging to:

Route 66 Film Festival
P.O. Box 5010
Springfield, IL 62701

12. Filmmaker should suggest an MPAA rating for their film. Ratings do not disqualify films from consideration. We like to schedule films for appropriate audiences.
13. Biographical and synopsis information is required when submitting via FilmFreeway or by mailed application.

Terms and Conditions:
Filmmakers hereby grant the Route 66 Film Festival the right to utilize, for promotional purposes, any film submitted and/or accepted to the Festival, either in its entirety or an excerpt thereof.

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 individual or corporation submitting the film hereby agrees that, unless said film is withdrawn prior to the close date for submissions, (August 15, 2021) if selected for the festival, the filmmaker will provide to the festival a copy of the film in .MP4 or .MOV format no later than 10 days prior to the Festival's opening night.

The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Route 66 Film Festival 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.

Fees will not be waived except at the discretion of the Board.

Films will not be returned.

Overall Rating
  • Patty Babin

    The festival was really well organized and the communication was great. Since this year's festival was during the pandemic, they did an outstanding job at changing the original format of the festival to a virtual event. It was so easy to view all of the films and they were shown over a 10-14 day period. It gave viewers ample time to enjoy the films and take part in voting. The Zoom awards ceremony was fun and very inviting. The awards were mailed to each winner and engraved with the name of the film. Very attractive. I highly recommend entering this festival!

    February 2021
  • Elizabeth Dings

    This film festival really communicates with its filmmakers and they take great care with their submissions! Thank you Route 66!

    December 2019
  • Stephen Pruitt

    Those we have not been able to attend this festival in person, I can say that the communication from the festival director has been superb.

    November 2019
  • David J Schroeder

    Thank you, Siobhab and RT 66 IFF! I'm sorry that I could not attend, but I love the whole vibe. I hope this latest award for THIS MODERN MAN IS BEAT will move us closer to getting this short neo-noir project to being a feature film.

    "Get your kicks on RT 66." Love it!

    November 2018
  • Christopher Oliva

    What a great experience in Springfield, IL. The people who run this festival care about independent film and adore movies, in general. Everyone was very welcoming and I got socks (welcome bag) unique to my film! Something that I will never forget and will wear whenever we screen. It just goes to show you the personal imprint that they want to place on the filmmaker's experience. I hope to come back down as an audience member or filmmaker, again in the future. Thank you, Route 66!

    November 2018