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

• 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
  • Will Schneider

    Nat did a fantastic job promoting and organizing this festival despite the obvious challenges with covid. I look forward to submitting here every time I have a new film and cannot wait for the festival to take place in person!

    April 2021
  • Anthony Short

    A great festival. Programming that really feels like it is made for the love of film and a celebration of the filmmakers. Conversations are deep and thoughtful. Communication was responsive and clear. I was surprised and impressed by the ability to roll with all the punches during the pandemic year. So happy to be apart of this community. Thank you Nat.

    March 2021
  • Christopher McNeany

    Nat was so invested in making the fest the best it could be in an online format. Setting up networking opportunities, Q and A's for all of us, and making us feel truly valued as filmmakers. His passion is so apparent. Will definitely submit again!

    March 2021
  • Really great fest! Nat does such thoughtful programming. Pairing my 14 minute narrative comedy with a 30 minute documentary felt totally natural because of the films’ common themes. It made for a very interesting conversation with the other filmmaker, who I’ve kept in touch with. Fruitful networking at a virtual fest during a pandemic? It’s possible with a fest that has as much heart as Lake County.

    March 2021
  • Nat clearly loves what he does, and he handles the festival accordingly.

    March 2021