The Unspooled Film and Animation Festival strives to be a platform for independent filmmaking and animation, creative expression and multimedia entertainment. By screening content, offering workshops, and hosting guest speakers the Unspooled Film and Animation Festival actively supports emerging and seasoned storytellers. We seek to highlight the convergence of technology and imagination through presentation events, premieres, exhibitions, and outreach.

Independent filmmakers rub elbows with students and members of the local community in this juried annual event held over a three-day period in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Our festival features films and animations made by regional and international independent storytellers. Films will be screened in the recently restored historic Harvey Hall Theatre.

Best Animated Film
Best Narrative Film
Best Documentary Film
Best in the Midwest
Best Student Feature
Best College Student Film
Best High School Student Film

Selected projects from all categories will be presented to the public at the Festival Event currently scheduled to take place in the Spring (May 12th-14th). Since submission of a project constitutes acceptance of these Entry Rules & Regulations, please review this document carefully.

Submitted projects must not have screened or exhibited publicly in the Northwestern Wisconsin region.

Feature and Short Films/Animations:
Unspooled showcases short and feature films and animations from emerging talent and established content-creators with unique perspectives and audacious new ideas. Films invited to participate in the 2023 Festival Event will be shown in the section determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, in their sole discretion.

Eligible projects include feature films/animations (runtime ≥ 40 minutes), short films/animations (runtime < 40 minutes); including documentaries, narratives, commercial projects, animation, and experimental films.

Eligible projects can include virtual, mixed, and augmented reality projects, 360 films, 3D films, interactive digital or multi-platform projects, immersive multimedia installations, immersive audio, augmented live performances, and virtual worlds.

1. You must fully comply with these Entry Rules & Regulations, including all deadlines, project length, entry material, and other requirements.
2. Non-English language projects must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.
3. The project MUST maintain at minimum a “Western Wisconsin Regional” premiere status prior to screening.

How to enter
Apply online via FilmFreeway.

Entry Materials
All entries must include the following:
1. A private and/or password protected streaming link of the project.
2. If submitting an IMMERSIVE or INTERACTIVE project, we require a downloadable link for optimum reviewing. For Immersive, you can submit a link to a folder with a master copy (360 video, apk, exe, Steam build, etc.) or a link to a beta version of the experience (web/AR). Games can submit full game links however must submit a minimum of a 10 minute playable demo for consideration.

It is also your responsibility to ensure the streaming link is functional and the link and password submitted are accurate. The password protected link must be active at least through June 7, 2023. Regardless of your method of entry, all entry materials MUST be received by the Festival no later than the applicable deadlines referenced above. The Festival reserves the right to disqualify any submission, without refund of any kind, if it is not completed in accordance with these Entry Rules and Regulations.

Multiple Entries
Each project must be individually submitted; please do not send links to multiple projects, as any or all of them may be disqualified.

If your project was submitted and considered for previous editions of the Festival, you may re-enter it if you have made significant changes and if all applicable eligibility requirements are met at the time of entry.

Invited Projects
Festival programmers select and invite all projects to be presented at the spring Event, with Premiere status considered.Invited creators will be notified by email or phone via the information provided on the submitted entry form. Make sure to update the Festival with new contact information or any other festival invitations prior to the Event. If your project is invited, your Premiere status will be confirmed with you and locked. Should you accept any other festival invitation that breaches this Premiere status commitment, the Festival reserves the right to rescind the invitation.

Festival Screening Sections
Projects invited to participate in the Festival will be shown in the section determined most appropriate by Festival programmers, in their sole discretion.

Overall Rating
  • Mack Martin

    Fantastic films for a fantastic festival. Such a cool experience. Would submit again.

    July 2023
  • It was an AMAZING experience attending the Unspooled Film & Animation Festival. So honored to have two of my films be selected and have one of them win Best Documentary Film for 2023. Thanks to everyone who made this event special.

    May 2023
  • Great first year, excited to see it grow! Big props for providing screening opportunities for film and animation students.

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Student work is a part of our DNA!

  • Joel Sacramento

    I had a great time attending the Unspooled Film Festival. The organizers were genuinely super excited about the festival and about having filmmakers in attendance.

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    We were really excited to see you here in Menomonie! We'd love to see you next year, too. First round's on us!

  • maria salvin

    It was ok.thank you fir your help

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    "Light" was a great addition to the animated line-up!