Some festivals rely entirely on submissions for their titles, whiles others are completely curated and programmed without a request for submissions. The Wisconsin Film Festival works both ways in its efforts to showcase emerging local talent while presenting the best films available from around the globe.

The Festival presents quality work from outside the mainstream film industry that otherwise may not reach commercial theaters. We look for films that represent different facets of filmmaking, from polished productions to no-budget gems. Each year’s selections are a blend of films made available to festivals, scouted from around the world combined with smaller, under-the-radar works that illustrate a variety of cinematic styles.

By submitting your film to the Festival, you are agreeing to the final decisions made by the selection committee. The Festival staff is unable to provide comments about work not selected for the Festival.

*YOUR FILM MUST HAVE A WISCONSIN CONNECTION TO BE ELIGIBLE*
Eligible films are those shot primarily or significantly (at least one-third) on location in Wisconsin and/or one or more of the film’s principal creative personnel – director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, lead actor, etc. – must be one of the following: born in Wisconsin, a current or former Wisconsin resident for one or more years, or an alumnus or current student at a school located in Wisconsin.

Within these guidelines, we accept narrative, documentary, experimental, or animated work of any length. Your film must have been completed after January 1, 2018.

*** Please review the above paragraphs carefully. Submission fees will not be refunded simply because your film fails to meet the ‘Wisconsin’s Own’ requirements. ***

For additional details, see Rules & Terms below.

The films accepted in the Wisconsin’s Own category for inclusion in the Festival are reviewed by Festival programmers and a jury.

The jurors are generally filmmakers, film industry professionals, critics or curators who have a commitment to supporting regional filmmakers and film culture in Wisconsin. Often, jurors have Wisconsin roots or are UW-Madison alumni.

The jurors award prizes called “Golden Badgers” to films that show significant technical and artistic achievement.

Cash prizes are awarded with amounts dependent on the number of awards given. Additionally, our audience votes for their favorite narrative and documentary feature films (Steep & Brew Audience Awards).

By submitting your film to the Festival, you are agreeing to the final decisions made by the juries. Neither the Festival staff nor the juries are able to provide comments about work not selected for the Festival. Any filmmaker who contacts a juror about the status of a submitted film may be disqualified.

*YOUR FILM MUST HAVE A WISCONSIN CONNECTION TO BE ELIGIBLE*
Eligible films are those shot primarily or significantly (at least one-third) on location in Wisconsin and/or one or more of the film’s principal creative personnel – director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, lead actor, etc. – must be one of the following: born in Wisconsin, a current or former Wisconsin resident for one or more years, or an alumnus or current student at a school located in Wisconsin.

Within these guidelines, we accept narrative, documentary, experimental, or animated work of any length. Your film must have been completed after January 1, 2018.

*** Please review the above paragraphs carefully. Submission fees will not be refunded simply because your film fails to meet the ‘Wisconsin’s Own’ requirements. ***

The Wisconsin Film Festival does not insist upon premiere status. Films shown in other festivals, in limited noncommercial exhibition, or at cast/crew screenings are eligible. However, programming preference is given to films without significant exposure in Wisconsin theatrical and broadcast markets prior to the Festival.

Rough cuts, temp prints, temp/scratch music, etc. may be submitted. However, substantially incomplete films are harder to evaluate, and you must be confident that your film will be finished in time for inclusion in the Festival. Before submitting a rough cut, please seriously consider how well your current version reflects the final intention of your work.

Since the Festival does not accept films that have been submitted in previous years, sending in a rough cut would count as the film’s single eligible submission opportunity. If you don’t feel that the current version of the film is sufficient for Festival programmers to make a final decision, wait until the film is complete and submit for next year’s Festival. Programming decisions are final. Review your options carefully before sending an unfinished project.

The Festival will not consider:

1. Commercials or advertisements. Music videos. Educational, industrial, medical, or institutional films. Video games. Stand-alone trailers. Films with prior substantial theatrical exhibition, commercial TV broadcast or webcast, or commercial video distribution in the Madison, Wisconsin market.
2. Films submitted to the Wisconsin Film Festival in previous years, including work that had been submitted earlier as a rough cut.
3. Films completed before January 1, 2018.
4. Work that will not be completed in time for the Festival. The Festival does not include “works in progress” in its final program.

By submitting your film to the Festival, you are agreeing to the final decisions made by the selection committee. The Festival staff is unable to provide comments about work not selected for the Festival.