After a successful 2019, the Lake County Film Festival has expanded to a eleven-day program from its traditional long weekend, creating more opportunities for filmmakers across the world and within the Chicagoland area to showcase their work.

Hosted by the College Of Lake County, the LCFF screens to an audience of more than 700,000 county residents in a community underserved in the area of independent cinema. Patrons of the film festival are engaged, eager, and excited to watch films from independent filmmakers across all different genres and walks of life.

In 2019, the LCFF touted a program with nearly 50% women feature filmmakers and hope to grow that number in 2020. The festival prides itself on providing a platform for a diverse group of filmmakers. From sex to race to genre: the LCFF has stories for everybody. And with an expanded program slated for 2020, the festival hopes to screen over a dozen narrative features, a dozen documentary features, and approximately 100 short films.

We are proud of our history showing the early work of filmmakers like Mike Flannagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep), Chad Hartigan (Morris From America, This Is Martin Bonner), Alex Karpovsky (Girls), and Leah Meyerhoff (I Believe In Unicorns), but we're also incredibly proud of all the great films we've shown by people that haven't achieved the same level of recognition.

If nothing else, the Lake County Film Festival is a filmmakers’ film festival. From the number of filmmakers who have attended in years past, the consensus is those who attend the screenings are passionate movie lovers, creating opportunities for filmmakers and audiences to engage with one another on their shared passion.

If you love independent movies as much as we do: we want to screen your film. So submit to us! We are ready to showcase your work to our vibrant audiences.

We usually give our jurors a lot of leeway with awards, but we will definitely be giving out awards for the following:

Audience Awards:

Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Short FIlm

Jury Awards:

Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short

We aren't big on rules, but if you're submitting, please make sure that you are authorized to commit the film to screen a couple of times during the festival, and if you are unable to screen, please let us know when we contact you with your acceptance.

Overall Rating
  • Zachary Dehm

    I can't recommend this festival enough! I had the opportunity to premier my very first film there, WAY back in 2006. And this year I was so thrilled to come back to screen my short film, 'Peep.' Nat is an amazing festival director, who's remained in touch after all these years. The festival is committed to supporting and encouraging its filmmakers.

    October 2019
  • Bill Sebastian

    LCFF was such an amazing place to premiere our film, ”Midlothia.” Met and connected with other filmmakers, was treated great. The audiences were engaged. I will always remember dancing at the local legion hall late at night with grilled cheese sandwiches (that may not happen every year, but it happened to me). And I can draw a direct line from LCFF to my next feature film. Apply! You will have an amazing time, and you’ll be glad you made the trip.

    October 2019
  • Zac Goodspeed

    Such a blast to have a a film festival in your own backyard! It still blows my mind that Nat a local lover of film started this from scratch. It’s generosity toward the heart of filmmaking makes it an amazing vibe. I am looking forward to submitting and attending next year.

    October 2019
  • Patrick Smith

    Great festival.. missed it greatly when it was on hiatus. Nat is a epic networker, in person and on social media.. really gets your film out there and noticed. highly recommend.

    October 2019
  • Brett Hanover

    I wasn't able to attend the festival this year, unfortunately, but I heard that everything went great. What I can say is that Nat is a great programmer, and I have been fortunate to get to know him through this fest and the Nashville Film Festival over the past few years. He was someone who took a personal interest in my work, and became a real supporter of my low budget, experimental, hard-to-program film. So while I can't review the venues or the concessions, I will tell you that you that you're submitting your work to a festival that will give it time and attention, and to programmers who will look at it with an open mind. A small festival, and behind it, real people who will be excited to see something new. (PS to Nat - this review is a reminder to keep programming the weird stuff!)

    October 2019