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 2022.

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 2022 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 5, 2022.


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
  • SUCH AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE! Tonkawa Film Festival is a filmmaker's dream event. We were treated with such respect and dignity. Each day was well planned and organized by the festival's director and the town of Tonkawa welcomed us with open arms. The festival paid for my hotel expenses (and meals!), picked us up at the airport, provided transportation to/from venues, took us on tours of the city, AND the town of Tonkawa held a parade in the filmmakers' honor. We paraded through town on covered wagons. I kid you not. I rode through town singing "Oklahoma" at the top of my lungs while onlookers cheered and tossed candy. Fantastic perks aside, Tonkawa excels because of its festival director, James Oxford. He devoted so much energy into spending quality time with the filmmakers and making sure we really connected with audience members during the screenings. This festival is a must for any filmmaker hoping to screen their film at an event where they'll receive individual attention and not just be a name on the roster. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

    June 2021
  • Devin Montgomery

    This was my favorite film festival experience I've ever had! Seriously. Would highly recommend this festival to any filmmakers to submit to, and also anyone who wants to attend an amazing festival w/ amazing, caring people who love film! They put on a great atmosphere as well. I'm so happy my film "A Monster Within" was accepted and able to play here. Look forward to making many more trips to Tonkawa for this festival for years to come.

    June 2021
  • Jesse Cowan

    I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to James Oxford and the crew at Tonkawa Film Festival. I was really looking forward to visiting Oklahoma, and regret having missed out on that opportunity, due to a certain viral pandemic. Never the less, they kept me in the loop, and were very gracious hosts. Thanks so much for letting me participate in the 2021 Tonkawa Film Festival!

    June 2021
  • Lance McDaniel

    James Oxford has rallied the entire town of Tonkawa to celebrate independent film at this awesome film festival. From the opening BBQ to the full town parade, this festival works hard to give filmmakers an unforgettable experience. And, the excellent selection of short films entertains and challenges the highly engaged audiences. Submit to this festival!

    June 2021
  • Mariah Hall

    TONKAWA IS A MUST. I've spent the last 10 years working in and attending festivals, and this one stands out for so many reasons!!

    I have NEVER felt more cared for as a filmmaker. Not only did they pay for all the filmmakers to stay in a hotel, but they shuttled us around to a weekend full of fantastic events and fed us delicious food! It was fantastic to be able to put all of your energy into connecting with other filmmakers and movie lovers in this town because James and Lance and the rest of the town had taken care of everything already!

    The town is truly something special and a must see. You could feel the community love and heart that went into making this a must do event. The town threw the film festival and filmmakers a parade through the downtown and it was touching to see everyone come out for this new event in their small town.

    Not only were the films outstanding, but all the attending filmmakers were a joy too. This festival created such a welcoming environment, and created some lifelong friendships with filmmakers and the staff and volunteers of the fest.

    I truly cannot speak highly enough of the Tonkawa Film Festival. Again - it's a must! I cannot wait to attend next year.

    June 2021