The inaugural Cleveland Horror Fest kicks off this October 1st - 3rd at Atlas Cinemas in Shaker Square, Cleveland.

This three day event will showcase independent horror shorts, feature films, and web/new media format films from all around the world showing on two screens throughout the event weekend. We are also accepting horror genre screenplays of all lengths for our screenplay competition--top screenplay submissions will be showcased as a directed table read during the festival.

In addition, we've lined up some great workshops and fun events, covering screenwriting, special effects, distribution/sales agents, and movie trivia. Come out for the whole weekend, or pick and choose which events you'd like to attend--just be prepared for plenty of great horror, and a fun time for all!

Films and screenplays will be judged by a panel of industry professionals for the awards listed below.

Can't attend in person? We will also be streaming the films online via Sparqfest, an excellent online platform that brings independent films right to you at home.

Submissions are currently open! We are seeking independent films and screenplays in all genres of horror, including (but not limited to): slasher, haunted house/location, android/robot, asylum/insanity, sci-fi horror, B-movie, psychic powers, cannibalism, supernatural, escape room, horror with kids, dark comedy horror, cult, found footage, mad scientist, funhouse/freaks, serial killer, Lovecraftian, phobia/isolation, cursed toy/object, home invasion, mummy/werewolf, psychological horror, virus, monster/creature feature, zombie, body horror, witchcraft, clown, gore/splatter, and dark mystery thriller.

Cleveland Horror Fest is produced by the Cleveland Film Collective and Brian Jeffery Bowers. Brian has worked most of his life in the entertainment industry, as an actor for stage and screen, a festival/event producer, photographer, filmmaker, talent agent, and more. He is Assistant Director of Operations for the global 48 Hour Film Project (, the world's largest timed film competition, and founder of Gorilla Film School and the Cleveland Film Collective.

Films will be judged by a panel of film professionals and horror fanatics and include:
Best Feature Film
Best Short Film
Best Story
Best Writing
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Directing
Best Sound Design
Best Musical Score
Best Ensemble Acting
Best Acting (male and female)
Best Practical Effects
Best CGI Effects
Best Young Director (under 21)*
Best First Time Director*

Screenplay awards will vary depending upon type and number of submissions.

*to be considered for these awards, send an email to for more information

All films/screenplays must be genres horror (we do want to scare people).

Filmmakers must own or have licensed the rights to music, characters, stories, and any other elements that are part of the film.

By submitting, you are agreeing to having your film screened theatrically during the festival, and online via Sparqfest (for a limited time only/for paid festival attendees/secure online platform)

Submit any playable file format for consideration. If accepted, we will play the highest resolution/best version of your film you have available.

We may use short clips, trailers, photos, and other marketing materials you provide to help promote your film and the overall festival.

If accepted into the festival, we may also screen your film locally (greater Cleveland area) at different free or paid screenings and events for a period of one year after the festival.

While there are no screening fees for films that play during the festival, we will pay filmmakers a small screening fee if their film is screened during a paid event after the festival. Half of the profit from any paid screenings/events (post-festival) will be divided amongst the films screening and paid out to those filmmakers. More details will be provided to filmmakers if/when those sorts of events come up.

If you are accepted into the festival, we will do our best to promote your film/screenplay and work during the festival and throughout the year. Any marketing materials that you can provide will help, including press releases, images, trailers, posters/graphics, and links to websites/bios/social media, etc.

While our preference is to screen as many new and/or undistributed films as possible, we are accepting films that have been screened at other festivals, currently have distribution deals, etc.

If you cannot afford to pay the full submission fee, please contact to let us know what you can afford to pay. While submission fees are an important part of revenue for the festival, we are sensitive to the many costs involved in filmmaking. Our goal is to get the best quality films, and to produce a great event. By paying the full submission fee or even a portion of it, you are helping us to promote you and the the work of other independent filmmakers from around the world.

Overall Rating
  • Graham Bowlin

    I couldn't go to Cleveland Horror Fest but their online communication was great and their social media presence is strong. I will definitely submit again.

    November 2021
  • Jared Tipton

    Cool festival! Was grateful to be a part of it! Looking forward to 2022!

    November 2021
  • At first I was very happy with the festival, but in the end they disappointed me completely. The festival is over and where is the list of awarded films? I have written several emails, but I have not received any replies. They also deleted their Facebook page... I'm sorry, but that's not good!

    November 2021
  • John Maslowski

    An excellent festival with prompt and professional communication. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend in person. I plan on submitting again in the future.

    October 2021
  • Thank you so much, Cleveland Horror Fest, for showing so much love to my short silent film, "Something Wicked Dwells." I am honored by this achievement! The cast: Bill Oberst, Jr., Troy Mittleider, CJ Brady & Fabian Alomar 'thank you' as well. Production designer Aaron Glazer & editor Jordan Kerfeld 'thank you!' I look forward to submitting future work!

    October 2021