Formerly known as the ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™ข ๐™๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™–๐™ก and awarded as one of ๐Œ๐จ๐ฏ๐ข๐ž๐Œ๐š๐ค๐ž๐ซ ๐Œ๐š๐ ๐š๐ณ๐ข๐ง๐ž's ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ ๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—น๐—บ ๐—™๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜-๐—ง๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€.

We are Waco's indie film fest, considered one of the most fun events on the circuit - famous for our game night, whiskey tour, and mechanical bull! Plus, with awesome films (made by you) and innovative industry panels, it's easy to see why we're a favorite for fresh filmmakers AND experienced creatives.

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The ๐—ช๐—”๐—–๐—ข ๐—œ๐—ก๐——๐—˜๐—ฃ๐—˜๐—ก๐——๐—˜๐—ก๐—ง ๐—™๐—œ๐—Ÿ๐—  ๐—™๐—˜๐—ฆ๐—ง๐—œ๐—ฉ๐—”๐—Ÿ is here!
July 18-21, 2024

Make us laugh! Make us cry! Make us scream!
If you have a great story, we want to share it with Waco. We accept short films (under 40 minutes), music videos, feature films (40 minutes or more), and short scripts (under 30 pages).

๐—™๐—ถ๐—น๐—บ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ง๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ - Check out Central Texas' varied and unique looks, and see in person the local sites that have made it to the big screen. Afterward, fill up on some amazing Texas BBQ (our treat!). Free for all accepted filmmakers who attend!

๐—œ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐˜†-๐—ฆ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—น๐˜€ - For new and seasoned filmmakers of all stripes, these panels are designed to help improve your craft and business savvy. Free for all accepted filmmakers who attend!

๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜„๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜€ - The awarded "Best Script" is eligible for our new production grant. Details in the Awards & Prizes section.
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We showcase the best in independent film from Texas, the US, and the world in a great theatrical venue with genuine Texas hospitality.

We screen at the ๐—ช๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ผ ๐—›๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ, a former vaudeville theater thatโ€™s over a century old, but renovated with modern touches. The Hippodrome is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and has seen Elvis Presley and John Wayne enter its doors. Always a Waco tradition, the Hippodrome has been reborn as a central Texas destination - complete with recent renovations in seating and projection. We also partner with additional locations around Downtown Waco to accommodate our script readings, filmmaker lounge, and panels.

BONUS! If youโ€™re a fan of the ๐—›๐—š๐—ง๐—ฉ show ๐—™๐—ถ๐˜…๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—จ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, Chip and Joanna Gainesโ€™ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฎ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜ is located just steps away from the Hippodrome. Plus, Waco is the home of ๐—ช๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ผ ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ณ, the ๐——๐—ฟ. ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐— ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜‚๐—บ, and ๐—•๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด.

We are easily within driving distance of Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. Itโ€™s easy to see why our home is called the Heart of Texas.

Come on down, yโ€™all. The stars at night are big and bright ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™๐™š๐™ญ๐™–๐™จ!

๐™Ž๐™๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™‚๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ง๐™š ๐˜พ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™œ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ
Best Comedy Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Drama Short
Best Family Short
Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short
Best Horror Short
Best Music Video

๐™Ž๐™๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™–๐™ก ๐˜พ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™œ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ
Best Texas Short
Best US Short
Best Foreign Short
Best Student Short
Audience Award - Short
Best Short Film - Winning film receives $๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ in addition to the award.

๐™Ž๐™๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐˜พ๐™ง๐™–๐™›๐™ฉ ๐˜พ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™œ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ
Best Director - Short
Best Performance, Drama - Short
Best Performance, Comedy - Short
Best Cinematography - Short
Best Editing - Short
Best Production Design - Short
Best Screenplay - Short

๐™๐™š๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š ๐™๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™–๐™ก ๐˜พ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™œ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ
Best Director - Feature
Best Performance - Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award - Feature
Best Feature Film - Winning film receives $๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ in addition to the award.

๐™Ž๐™๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฌ๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ
Best Script
Honorable Mention Script

"Best Script" award winner is eligible for a $๐Ÿฎ,๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ production grant + hotel + camera/lighting package to film their winning script in Waco - a production package worth $๐Ÿฑ,๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ! Details in the Rules & Terms section.

๐——๐—ข ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ๐—ฅ๐—ฆ๐—˜๐—Ÿ๐—™ ๐—” ๐—™๐—”๐—ฉ๐—ข๐—ฅ ๐—”๐—ก๐—— ๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—”๐—— ๐—”๐—Ÿ๐—Ÿ ๐—ง๐—›๐—˜ ๐—ฅ๐—จ๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—ฆ.

You agree to the following terms and conditions of the Waco Independent Film Festival (Waco Indie):
โ€ข You do not talk about Fight Club.
โ€ข The Waco Independent Film Festival does not accept or consider works in progress.
โ€ข In order for submissions to be considered for competition, a premiere within the Waco area is required - meaning your film has not already screened publicly in the 254 area code.
โ€ข Misrepresenting your film's runtime is grounds for automatic rejection. Your listed total runtime must include all credits.
โ€ข All films must be the original work of the filmmakers, and all filmmakers must have the necessary rights. The festival is not liable for any rights issues.
โ€ข Films must be no older than July 2019. Yes, that is a 5 year window.
โ€ข As per the Waco Independent Film Festival policy, the submission fee is non-refundable.
โ€ข By submitting a film to DitHFF, if said film is officially accepted into this year's lineup, you grant the Waco Independent Film Festival permission to screen your film in a theatrical venue.
โ€ข Only completed entries (including entry form, payment, and final exhibition film copy) will be considered.
โ€ข Can we talk about Kurt Russell for a second? Nine times out of 10, if you start a Kurt Russell movie youโ€™re going to enjoy it. Truly underrated.
โ€ข Short scripts of all genres are welcome to submit. Scripts must be unproduced as of the date of the film festival. (July 18, 2024)
โ€ข We accept digital submissions ONLY. Unless requested, do not send us DVDs, Blu-rays, press kits, dirty laundry, or unruly children.
โ€ข The selected films will be exhibited in a theatrical venue, via a digital file (backups are Blu-ray & DCP).
โ€ข Keep readingโ€ฆ thereโ€™s a promo code in here somewhere...
โ€ข All entries must either be in English or subtitled in English. Submitting a foreign language film without English subtitles is grounds for automatic rejection.
โ€ข If your film has been selected, you will have 14 DAYS TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ACCEPTANCE. If we do not hear from you within 14 days of notification, your filmโ€™s status as an official selection may be revoked.
โ€ข Your film will not be screened unless you agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the Waco Independent Film Festival.
โ€ข We accept short film submissions of any genre/topic. (Run time is 39 minutes or less.)
โ€ข We accept feature film submissions of any genre/topic. (Run time is 40 minutes or more.)
โ€ข We accept student-made short film submissions of any genre/topic, created by college or high school students. (Run time is 29 minutes or less. School ID is required that matches the date your film was created.)
โ€ข Each submission will be considered for all appropriate award categories.
โ€ข We accept music video submissions in their own category.
โ€ข We accept unproduced short scripts in their own category.
โ€ข Films that have screened on television or are available publicly on the internet or streaming services may not eligible for competition. (Password-protected and private links are acceptable).
โ€ข If you know Matthew McConaughey, and you have him commit to attending our festival, then your film is an automatic "in." Just sayin'.
โ€ข Notification of selections will be made by May 28, 2024.
โ€ข The Waco Independent Film Festival reserves the right to change our programming without notice. The official selections and screening schedule are at the sole discretion of the festival.
โ€ข Sorry, but we are not responsible for free transportation or lodging for the event. Hotel discounts may become available as the festival approaches.
โ€ข Entrants are responsible for all costs incurred to attend this festival.
โ€ข You may submit as many entries as you like. Each entry requires its own entry fee. Entry fees will not be refunded.
โ€ข Official selections will receive TWO free passes to the film festival for the duration of the film festival.
โ€ข Filmmakers with Official Selections are highly encouraged, but not required, to attend the festival. Seriously, check out our past festivals and you'll see that it's worth it!
โ€ข Our success depends on the quality of submissions, so we cannot offer full waivers. But since you were smart enough to read these rules, use the promo code IAMAREADER and you'll get a discount.
โ€ข Exceptions to these rules will not be made unless we make an exception.
โ€ข Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Upon submission of your film, you grant the Waco Independent Film Festival the following:
โ€ข Permission to exhibit your film in a theatrical venue. Films must be available for screening during the festival.
โ€ข Permission for photos, posters, highlights, or excerpts of your film (e.g. a trailer) to be placed on the Waco Independent Film Festival website and/or social media and used for other marketing and promotional purposes. You also must agree to allow DitHFF to promote the following year's festival with the material listed above. DitHFF will never solicit or screen elements of your film outside the promotion of the DitHFF.

The first-place winner of the Waco Independent Film Festival short screenplay contest is eligible to win the ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™™๐™š ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™‚๐™ง๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ. If the winner opts out of the grant, the honorable mention winner becomes eligible for the ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™™๐™š ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™‚๐™ง๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ. Staff members from Waco Independent Film Festival and personnel affiliated with ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฉ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜€ and ๐—ช๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ผ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—•๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜‚ are not eligible to win.

The Screenplay Grant provides:
โ€ข Up to 4 nights of complimentary hotel stay provided by the ๐—ช๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ผ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—•๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜‚. These nights may be used for pre-production scouting or during the production.
โ€ข Up to $2,500 in rebates provided by the Waco Independent Film Festival. These purchases must go toward McLennan County people, places, and things. You can pay cast, crew, catering, costumes, all sorts of filmmaking goodies. But the purchases must be made in McLennan County, the filmmaker must provide receipts.
โ€ข Camera and Lighting Package. Our partner, ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฉ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜€, veterans of stage and screen, will work with you to provide a suitable camera and lighting package for your shoot.
โ€ข 5 hours of filmmaking consulting. ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฉ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜€ may provide advice on equipment, potential revisions, directing, and local production.

โ€ข The winning screenplay must have originally been entered into the Short Screenwriting Contest for this yearโ€™s film festival.
โ€ข Screenplays must be no longer than 30 pages.
โ€ข 50% of your film must be shot in McLennan County.
โ€ข Your film must complete production within 18 months of winning the screenplay award.
โ€ข $2,500 will be paid as rebates. The ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™™๐™š ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™‚๐™ง๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ will refund you up to $2,500 on people, places and things related to your shoot. (Eligible items include, but are not limited to cast, crew, catering, etc.). Items purchased in Waco, but shipped from elsewhere are not eligible. (For example, a shirt purchased online but shipped to Waco would not be eligible). Receipts must be provided.
โ€ข ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™™๐™š ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ logo must be added to the credits of the film.
โ€ข ๐—ฉ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฉ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜€ must be recognized as Associate Producers of the film
โ€ข Filmmaker will be required to provide a short summary (150-200 words) of how the funds were used, their experience of filming in Waco, and the impact of the ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™™๐™š ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™‚๐™ง๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ on this production.

For further questions and inquiries about any of the Rules and Terms, please email

Overall Rating
  • This is one of the warmest, most welcoming fests I've attended. The heads of the festival were super engaged with the filmmakers, the after parties were an absolute blast, and the programming was varied and high-quality. I had, admittedly, dismissed Waco in the past (though I'm a Texan myself) but I was SO impressed with the nightlife, food, history, and the robust local community that showed up for the festival. Highly recommend!

    September 2023
  • Justin Rodriguez

    This is a great festival. It has everything you want plus more all the way down to the little details. Great parties and networking opportunities. I would definitely submit every time. Great city.

    August 2023
  • Thank you so much for your support in selecting our film. What an amazing festival and vibe ๐Ÿซถ๐Ÿป

    August 2023
  • Charles Featherston

    This was my first festival and it was amazing, the coordinators are some of the nicest people and their selection and programmers are dedicated to delivering some truly amazing content. The people I met were amazing and I really hope to see more festivals like this one!

    August 2023
  • I cannot speak to how it went on the ground as I could not attend (and deeply regret that) however; everyone could not have been more helpful and accommodating during the "pre-festival". In addition, we ended up winning "Best USA Short" and they are mailing us our trophy!!!

    I highly recommend DITHFF soon to be Waco Independent FF.


    July 2023