Nestled in the heart of farming country in North Central Oklahoma is the small town of Tonkawa. First settled by the Tonkawa Indian tribe in 1884 at a time when numerous tribes from across the country were being sent to what at the time was Indian Territory. Oklahoma later became a state in 1907. In 1921 oil was found in an area just south of Tonkawa later named ‘Three Sands’, making millionaires overnight as it became one of the largest oil fields in the world at the time.

Today, Tonkawa is home to just over 3,000 citizens, as well as Northern Oklahoma College which was established in 1901. With state of the art facilities, it provides the screening experience filmmakers and film lovers deserve.

Our inaugural year was truly a success. We were so honored to have special guests writer/director Alex Smith (Walking Out, The Slaughter Rule) and actress Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Friday Night Lights, Nashville, Tombstone) in attendance. We also had special videos sent in from actors Matt Bomer (White Collar, The Sinner), Bill Sage (We Are What We Are, American Psycho), Joe Perrino (Power), and Josh Wiggins (Walking Out). Filmmakers from across the country enjoyed free lodging at the Tonkawa Hotel & Casino and were the guests of honor in our one of kind film festival parade through downtown Tonkawa. We are looking forward to doing it all again in 2021.

The Tonkawa Chamber of Commerce and the citizens of Tonkawa are excited to welcome filmmakers from around the world to screen their films at the beautiful 200 seat theater in Wilkin Hall located on the Northern Oklahoma College campus.

OKLAHOMA FILMMAKERS: If you are a resident of Oklahoma, email a copy of your license showing Oklahoma residency to and we'll send you a code for $5 OFF your entry fee.

We look forward to meeting you and celebrating you and your films!

Awards in the form of trophies will be given in each category. As well as a Best of Fest award of $500.

-- Competition is open to entries from around the globe. Please check individual categories for additional requirements.

-- Short films are under 20 minutes in length.

-- Films not in the English language must be subtitled in English.

-- You may submit multiple entries but must fill out a separate entry form and pay an entry fee for each.

-- OKLAHOMA FILMMAKERS: If you are a resident of Oklahoma, email a copy of your license showing Oklahoma residency to and we'll send you a code for $5 OFF your entry fee.

The individual or corporation submitting the film warrants that he/she is authorized to commit the film to screening at any time during the 2021 Tonkawa Film Festival. Selected entries must send festival screening copy in H.264 (.mp4) format.

Every possible care will be taken with entries while in our possession, however, we cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or additional charges incurred en route, or due to normal wear and tear, or due to equipment failure. Do NOT send original prints or master copies. Additionally, Tonkawa Film Festival and the Tonkawa Chamber of Commerce is held harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity or screening of any film.


-- Entry fee (must be paid online).

--3-Line Synopsis (may be used for Festival Program and website)

--COLLEGE STUDENTS: Include proof of student status at the time of production. (Copy of student ID or transcript.)

--YOUNG FILMMAKERS: Include a copy of your state or student id verifying your age at the time of completion of the film. You may submit a letter from a teacher if you do not have photo ID.

--OKLAHOMA RESIDENTS: Include proof of residence or proof that the entry was shot predominantly in the state of Oklahoma.

--Accepted entries must submit at least one digital, horizontal 300dpi still photo from the film and at least one web-ready still at 72dpi and 560x315 pixels. Also submit film posters in .jpg format if available.

Notification of Festival acceptance status is scheduled to be given to all entrants on or about March 7, 2021.


Trophies accompanied with a certificate will be awarded in each category as well as a Best of Fest Award.

*Additional jury prizes may be given out

Overall Rating
  • The Tonkawa film festival outdid themselves on their very FIRST festival! No exaggeration, the entire town came together to give us filmmakers the star treatment (plus, we were IN a parade, how many film fests can brag about that?). Personal thanks to James, Lance, and everyone who came from all over the U.S. to do something special like this. The hard work definitely showed and I appreciate it so much!

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    We were so honored to have you there Sara! Thank you for bringing such an interesting piece of history to share with the town of Tonkawa!

  • Although we were unable to attend, we were thrilled to screen with Tonkawa! We received regular contact and it was clear that the experience was amazing for those who could go. James Oxford is a class act; so is this festival. I recommend submitting for sure!

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the amazing laughter that your film brought to the audience of Tonkawa and for being a part of our very first year!

  • Ray Murphy

    Hands down, this is one of the best festivals a filmmaker could hope to experience. Film presentation and communication were of the highest quality, and the town of Tonkawa took hospitality to new heights. This is an event not to be missed.

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for making the long drive to be a part of our festival. And to bring a few scares to our audience!

  • Tonkawa is such a welcoming town filled with pleasant, kind-hearted people. James and Lance were very accommodating and communicated well. This is a festival that supports the filmmakers. I'll recommend this fest to anyone.

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Your film reminds me of our festival. Something special in a small package! Thank you for sharing your film with us!

  • The Tonkawa Film Festival is a truly unique experience. I was amazed and humbled by the hospitality of the entire town and the festival organizers. We were treated to meals, a tour of the town that included an art gallery, street murals, the largest collection of hand-painted posters, the Heart in the Park labyrinth, a stay at the Tonkawa Hotel and Casino, and best of all, we rode on a horse-drawn carriage in a parade. We were treated like kings and queens. The screening of the films went smoothly, with great picture quality and sound, followed by a Q&A that delved deep into the filmmakers' creative processes. It's amazing how much this festival accomplished in just two days. I thought I'd be tired by the end, but I honestly was sad that it was over.
    At the end of last year, after having attended many festivals, I was drained of any positive energy due to lukewarm experiences at other fests. I told myself I never wanted to make another film so that I wouldn't have to attend another festival. But Tonkawa Film Festival changed all of that for me. I was reinvigorated with that fire to keep on making films. I was reminded what it's like to be among creators who are just as passionate about storytelling as I am, and why I started doing this in the first place. For that, I will always be grateful to the inaugural Tonkawa Film Festival.

    March 2020
    Response from festival:

    Be careful, you're going to make us cry!! Thank you for your amazing film and for honoring us with you and Liz's involvement.