"One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World!" Moviemaker Magazine, Sept 2016 and July 2019.

"The best-curated film festival in the Twin Cities, Sound Unseen focuses on movies with musical themes, often pairing them with filmmaker appearances and live music." Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press Nov. 2015

In the fall of 1999, Sound Unseen introduced itself as a unique, cutting edge “films-on-music” festival in Minneapolis / St. Paul and has established itself as one of the premiere niche festivals in the country, but more importantly as an important and vital part of the regional cultural scene. Now in its 23rd year, the festival has expanded to include year-round programming and special presentations including world and regional premiere screenings such as Anvil! The Story of Anvil!, Filmage: The Story of Descendents/ALL, Out Of Time: The Material Issue Story, Listening To Kenny G, Mavis, The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead, Heaven Adores You, All I Can Say, Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records, Sound of Metal, Zappa, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?, and Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes.

While bringing the best in documentaries, short films, and music videos it also showcases rare concert footage, interactive panels, and live music events. As part of its year-round presence, Sound Unseen offers a successful monthly screening series and special events throughout the Twin Cities as well as virtual screenings available globally. This diversity in content separates Sound Unseen from the typical outdoor mega concerts and film festivals. What began as an underground film festival with only a handful of attendees has now become a well respected and known brand that has a loyal following and continues to program an exciting, unexpected, and consistent array of music, film, fashion, and art.

Sound Unseen has received press coverage in major local media including The Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Austin Chronicle, and Twin Cities Gay Scene, radio stations The Current, MPR, KFAN, and KUTX, and television news segments on NBC, FOX, and CBS. National media mentions have included Rolling Stone, Moviemaker Magazine, Paste Magazine, and USA Today.

There will be a prize awarded to the winning film in competition (competition films are selected by Sound Unseen staff members). There will be a five person jury with five to nine films in competition and the winning film will be announced during the festival.

1. Films must be Minnesota, Midwest, US, North American, and/or World premieres to screen at Sound Unseen (theatrical and/or virtual).
2. Films must be at least MN premieres to be considered and eligible to be accepted into "Competition"
3. Films that have been previously submitted to Sound Unseen are not eligible.
4. Films must have been completed on or after January 1, 2021.
5. Films in theatrical/virtual cinema release in Minnesota prior to, or at the time of the festival are not eligible.
6. Film screeners must be submitted via private video screener link with password.
7. Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.
8. Entrant will allow usage of clips from the film for promotional use on television, radio, in print, and at live Festival events.
9. All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English. Non-English entries submitted without subtitles are not eligible.
10. Student film entries must include proof of student status at the time of production (i.e., copy of student ID, transcript, etc.
11. Any film submitted through FilmFreeway or that receives a fee waiver will not be allowed to request a guaranteed screening or rental fee.

Overall Rating
  • Excellent communication. Loved the interview opportunity at the end. I would definitely recommend being a part of this festival. Thanks everyone !

    November 2021
  • We were highly impressed by the festivals approach to adjusting from the standard theater screening to an online format due to the current pandemic climate. We felt that our film paired well with the selection of films and we were excited for the publicity and warm feedback received. Great festival and hats off to all staff involved with making this happen!

    November 2020
  • Johan Nayar

    Excellent experience. Thank you Jim and Richard for having us. We really appreciate everything with out short film being shown here!

    November 2020
  • Walter Santucci

    Sound Unseen had one of the best programs I have ever seen assembled anywhere!

    November 2020
  • John Carluccio

    It might be my favorite film festival. Since its earliest days in 2000, I've participated in the festival, and after a long break of 18 years, the festival still maintains great energy! It speaks to the true music fan and film enthusiast equally. As a filmmaker, I always felt in great hands with the staff. Highly recommend.

    November 2020