Join us for two evenings of eye-opening entertainment as we celebrate the art of truly independent cinema in Charlotte, North Carolina and showcase the very best of original short films from around the Carolinas and beyond!

Recognizing the contributions of independent filmmakers from all around the world, with a strong emphasis on locally and regionally produced short films, the Stranger Days Independent Film Festival strives to build community and establish positive connections by offering an outlet to artists often overlooked by the mainstream and providing viewers with an interactive experience in a diverse environment that is both welcoming and inclusive for all people.

The event will feature over ten hours of film screenings over two days, an awards ceremony honoring the very best in show, and a fully-interactive film mixer afterparty featuring a full bar, hookah lounge, food trucks, and more in a fun, friendly, and inclusive environment.

All award winners will receive an official award certificate*, with the grand prize winner of "Best in Show" also receiving a custom-engraved trophy.

Winners will be selected for the following categories:
- Best in Show (overall best picture)
- Best Narrative Feature (best overall feature film)
- Best Genre Shorts (Comedy, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, Suspense, etc.)
- Best Documentary (short and feature-length)
- Best International Film (short and feature-length, filmed outside the USA)
- Best Regional Film (short and feature-length, filmed in NC/SC, by NC/SC filmmakers)
- Best LGBT Short (directed/written by and/or focused on LGBT issues)
- Best Micro-Short (films with a total runtime of 5 minutes or less)
- Best Arthouse/Experimental Short (for art, underground, and/or experimental films that don't fit into any traditional genre)
- Technical Awards (for acting, directing, cinematography, screenwriting, etc.)
- Audience Choice Award (as voted on by attendees during the festival - any screened film is eligible).

MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS ARE NOT REQUIRED!
Unlike some other festivals, ONE submission immediately enters your film into ALL applicable award categories!

We are an Official IMDb-Recognized film festival, and will list all award winners and nominees on our page following the event.

*please note: award winners must be present at the festival to receive physical awards, non-attending award winners will only receive a digital award - no physical awards (outside of the best in show trophy) will be mailed out to anyone.

SHORT FILMS PREFERRED.
We mostly showcase Short Films (no more than 30 minutes in length). While we do accept a few Features each year, we cannot accept many. This is due to time constraints set by the venue. We consider Short Films (30 minutes or less) and Feature Films (31 minutes or more).

INDEPENDENT FILMS ONLY.
This is a showcase of independent films. No major studio/major distribution/high-budget films need apply.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE OR ENGLISH SUBTITLES ONLY.
All films must be in English, or otherwise be fully subtitled in English.

NO REFUNDS. NO RETURNS. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Once a film has been accepted, it cannot be withdrawn from competition. No refunds of any submission fees will be given for any reason, and no submitted materials will be returned for any reason. No exceptions.

NO UNSOLITICED WAIVER CODES. NO EXCEPTIONS.
We purposely keep our submission fees low so that as many people as possible can participate. Our event is free to attend, so submission fees is how we keep the event up and running. Furthermore, we respect and obey the laws of all countries. If your country does not allow you to spend money in the United States, we cannot allow you to participate in our festival.
**DO NOT CONTACT US ASKING FOR A WAIVER CODE**
(those who fail to acknowledge this will be permanently disqualified from our festival)

WE DO NOT PAY SCREENING FEES.
We do not pay screening fees for ANY films, and we never will. Don't even ask.
(those who fail to acknowledge this will be permanently disqualified from our festival).

OUR JURY/SELECTION COMMITTEE IS ANONYMOUS.
Our jury members/selection committee, made up of seven individuals from various and diverse backgrounds are completely anonymous - even to each other. This is to protect our jury members from any potential harassment, coercion, and/or backlash from their decisions, as well as to keep the judging process as fair and unbiased as possible. We will not reveal the identities of our judges under any circumstances. The Board of Directors do not vote in the selection process.

Submission to the Stranger Days Independent Film Festival (SDIFF) will be considered to be an acknowledgement of and agreement to all film festival rules, and grants the SDIFF full authorization to screen the submitted film, as well as use materials from the selected film for any/all screening and/or promotional purposes during the the year it was submitted, at the sole discretion of the festival directors. Event date(s) and location(s) are subject to change. Submission does not guarantee acceptance. Submission fees are non-refundable. SDIFF reserves the right to reject or disqualify any film at any time, for any reason. Selections, nominations, and awards are chosen by the selection committee and their decisions are final.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Julie Whitis-Church

    Great festival. Would definitely submit again!

    July 2021
  • Even though they couldn’t hold a festival, I applaud the organizers for still going ahead to watch our films and recognizing our work! Communication with them has also been great.

    January 2021
  • Great fest! Such a privilege to have our movie not only get selected but get nominated as well. Will definitely submit again!

    January 2021
  • We loved our time at the Stranger Days Independent Film Festival. I would highly recommend this festival as a fan of cinema and as a filmmaker. When it comes to cool festivals who know how to take care of the filmmakers, this is one of the best. A must on every level! We are looking forward to the next one.

    December 2020
  • Michael Fausti

    Outstanding festival with hosts that really know the indie horror scene. Wasn't able to make it person but received first rate communication throughout. The festival has a strong social media presence and some superb branding. What's more our film, Dead Celebrities, won an award for Best International Short! Highly recommended.

    February 2020