"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

The 21st annual Sound Unseen music film festival will take place Wednesday, November 11 through Sunday, November 15, 2020 in Minneapolis, MN.

In the fall of 1999, Sound Unseen introduced itself as a unique, cutting edge “films-on-music” festival in Minneapolis and St. Paul of the Twin Cities 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 21st year, the festival has expanded to include year-round programming and special presentations including world and regional premiere screenings such as Sigur Ros' INNA, Anvil! The Story of Anvil!, Filmage: The Story of Descendents/ALL, X:The Unheard Music, Color Me Obsessed, Beware of Mr. Baker, Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker, Contemporary Color, A Fat Wreck, Colin Hay: Waiting for My Real Life, Mavis, The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead, The Punk Singer, Heaven Adores You, All I Can Say, Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records, 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. 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 all major local Twin Cities media including The Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, City Pages, Secrets of the City, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Walker Art blog, Growler Magazine, Twin Cities Gay Scene, MinnPost; local radio stations The Current, Minnesota Public Radio, KFAN, KFAI, Radio K, and television news including NBC, FOX, and CBS. National media mentions have included Rolling Stone, Moviemaker Magazine, Hammer to Nail, Paste Magazine, USA Today, The Playlist, Pop Culture Beast, AMFM Magazine, and AIF Independent magazine of New York.

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.
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 the Sound Unseen are not eligible.
4. Films must have been completed on or after January 1, 2019.
5. Films in theatrical release in Minnesota prior to, or at the time of the festival (Nov. 11-15, 2020) 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 receive a fee waiver will not be allowed a screening or rental fee. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Overall Rating
  • It was great to be included in this year's Sound Unseen Festival! Rich did an awesome job communicating with me before the screenings, as well as conducting a Q&A with me afterwards. My crew and I had a great time!

    December 2019
  • Barbara Bentree

    Loved being a part of the Sound Unseen Festival!! Jim and Rich were great and the focus on music was special and memorable. Thank you so much...Minneapolis is the best too!

    December 2019
  • Todd Tue

    This festival was fantastic. There was the perfect amount of programming so you could see the films and panels you wanted but weren't completely overwhelmed and exhausted by sheer volume. Had great networking opportunities with all the filmmakers and festival staff. As a filmmaker, the hospitality of the festival hosts was incredible and couldn't have been more accommodating and supportive.

    November 2019
  • Jonathan Sequeira

    Great festival, run well by the organisers. I came from Australia for two different films in the festival ('Waiting- The Van Duren Story' and 'Descent into the Maelstrom - The Radio Birdman Story'). Because it specialises in music films it's a good opportunity to meet other people involved in music documentaries. We were well looked after, and the main meeting place, an old bowling club/bar/theater was a good place to gather and worked well as a very cool focal point. Very friendly, good accommodation and a great weekend in a city that really enjoys music. A diverse selection of music films, well-curated. Great for film-makers and for fans of music films.

    November 2018