Sunrise 45 Film, Music, and Art Festival is like no other. Nestled in the small town of Alpena in Northeast Michigan (what we call the Sunrise Side of the state), Sunrise 45 features three different screening venues, all within walking distance from each other. It takes place in late Summer, the best and most beautiful time to be in Northeast Michigan, and is split in two by the Thunder Bay River. Our town is an eclectic mix of post-industrial blue collar and northern charm, with a good dose of youthful spirit and vibrancy. Come discover this gem off the beaten path. We mix film, music, and art installations that take over the entire downtown which, when combined with our natural landscapes, is more than enough eye-candy for this three-day festival.

The big winners will get some locally-made trophies to take home. If you're a filmmaker thinking of visiting the festival, you'll be in for a few treats on us during your stay, including all-access pass to the festival, a catered filmmakers reception in the heart of downtown, and more! Just head to our website and shoot us an email for more information.

By submitting to the Sunrise 45 Film Festival, you agree to all terms and conditions stated below and herein:


The Sunrise 45 Film Festival accepts all categories of films, including but not limited to narrative, shorts, documentary, experimental, animation, silent, and more. We accept films in any language. However, for Non-English language films we require English subtitles. We do not offer refunds for film submission fees. The number, date and time of screenings are at the discretion of the festival. Submitting your film does not guarantee entry/exhibition at the festival. You may only submit one film per entry, but may submit as many entries as you like.

All entries must be submitted online via FilmFreeway or other online platform. Vimeo is preferable for high quality and reliability.

Please contact us if you wish to submit a physical copy of your finished film on DVD, Blu-Ray, or Flash Drive. We will accept physical submissions by special request only.

All submission fees are listed in the deadline/fee section. We recommend submitting press kits including production stills, a short synopsis, a filmmaker bio, a list of the principal cast and credits, and any other media information available. Any of the above submitted may be used for festival promotion. Electronic files preferred.


If your film is selected to screen at the festival, you must submit the film online via download (dropbox, etc.), or mail a physical copy on DVD, Blue-Ray, or unencrypted Flash Drive or Hard Drive to arrive no later than two weeks before the festival.

We will accept .mov, .mpeg, or .mp4 files only up to 1920x1080p resolution. Apple Pro Res 422 or H.264. 24-bit audio at 48khz. Your materials will NOT be returned, so do not send us your original copy. Physical submissions must be postmarked by our REGULAR submission deadline, with an included check in the amount of the applicable entry fee. Please send us an email for more information. 


Filmmakers submitting to the Sunrise 45 Film Festival must own all rights over their work including relevant licenses for music and footage and take all responsibility for such. The person(s) submitting assumes all responsibility for copyright violations. Sunrise 45 Film Festival assumes no responsibility.

Sunrise 45 Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

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 undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Sunrise 45 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.

If a film is accepted, the programmers request the right to screen the film for educational and promotional purpose, for the period of one year, and may do so unless directed otherwise.

Submissions that are found to have violated any of the Eligibility Requirements listed above may be disqualified at any time by Sunrise 45 Film Festival. If you have any questions regarding the above rules or anything else, please feel free to contact us before submission. We will answer your questions as quickly as possible.

Thanks for your interest, and we look forward to seeing your work!

Overall Rating
  • Don Hessell & Alan LaFave

    The Sunrise 45 Film Festival was an overall wonderful experience. Taking place in the beautiful lakeside town of Alpena, Michigan, the setting is perfect for film-goers and filmmakers to come together and share in their passion for the art they love most. As festival organizers go, this team is very welcoming, and showed us a great time throughout our stay in Alpena. Regardless if we have another film in the fest, we will be returning!!!

    Don Hessell & Alan LaFave
    Co-directors / Co-producers

    August 2019
  • Thank you for screening my short film "Penny from Heaven" at Sunrise 45 Film Festival. It was nice to have a wonderful festival so close to home. Thank you!

    August 2019
  • It's easy to rate this event highly.

    Small festivals can be hit or miss when it comes to the value they offer, but when you arrive in a beautiful town and the organizers are making a sincere effort to show you a good time, that makes a wonderful impression and we'll absolutely be submitting again!

    Thanks S45FF. Keep up the good work.

    August 2019
  • Jimmy Kustes

    My film Body Swap played at the 2019 Sunrise 45 Festival. Joe and Krissy put on a great show with a lot of after parties and great turn out. Lots of filmmakers went to each other's movies. Alpena is a beautiful place.

    August 2019
  • I had a great time at the sunrise 45 film festival. They are very welcoming to all of the filmmakers. The programmer is incredibly nice and enthusiastic. They do a great job with making the filmmakers feel at home and throwing some great parties! The film festival is only a few years old. I can't wait to see how it grows!

    October 2018