Hosted by the College Of Lake County, the Lake County Film Festival 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.

The festival prides itself on providing a platform for a diverse group of filmmakers. From sex to race to genre: the Lake County Film Festival has stories for everybody. We strive for gender parity in our slate, and we crave more work from diverse voices.

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, Film Fatales), 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. It is one of our great pleasures to present films that recently screened at some of the countries' largest film festivals side by side with films that were made by people with their daughters over the weekend.

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.

We love independent movies, and we want to see your film, so submit to us!

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

This year our hosting sponsor, The College Of Lake County, will be offering two prizes of $250 each to the two winners of the student short film competition. One for best documentary film, and one for best narrative film.

• Please submit using a link to a digital screener on YouTube, Vimeo, or through FilmFreeway.

• 40 minutes is our cut off point between shorts and features.

• We do not have premiere requirements. We will show films that have held in-person screenings in the area, and even films currently available for free streaming. (About 5% of the shorts screened in 2020 were also available on streaming websites). HOWEVER, we ask that you let us know about this through your FilmFreeway screenings panel, or let us know when we contact you about a possible acceptance.

• When you submit a film, you should be authorized to submit this film for screening at the 2021 Lake County Film Festival. For live screenings, each film is shown 2 - 4 times, and streaming screenings may be available for as long as two weeks. You grant the Lake County Film Festival the nonexclusive right to use submitted materials in connection with any and all publicity and promotional materials regarding the festival. They warrant that the submitted film does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any person or entity and agree to hold harmless and fully indemnify and defend the Lake County Film Festival and its representatives against any and all claims made for such infringement or any other violations of law. They also acknowledge that the film submission fee does not guarantee acceptance and no refund will be provided if your film is not selected.

Overall Rating
  • Nat is simply incredible. His passion and support for filmmakers is matchless! Thank you for including "papa y yoyo" in your experimental short film section!

    November 2022
  • Nat works so hard to make this festival run as smooth as it does, and his passion for film and filmmakers is apparent. We had a blast participating in The Lake County Film Festival and will submit again without hesitation when our next film is ready. Thank you, Nat!

    April 2022
  • Wonderful experience! Hope to be part of this festival again. Thanks for having me on the panel!

    December 2021
  • Donna Guthrie

    A well-run film festival. I wish I could have attended.

    November 2021
  • Great Film Festival! I was very honored to present my short "Ils salivent" (They salivate) there. Warmest regards.

    November 2021