We’re excited to invite you to take part in the 9th Annual Elgin Short Film Festival. This is a one of a kind event-taking place in Elgin, IL on Saturday, September 23, 2017. The ESFF has drawn film entries from around the world making this an impressive event that has entertained film lovers since 2009. We are currently inviting filmmakers to submit their short films (20 minutes in length) for competition in our festival.

The Elgin Short Film Festival is the only short film festival of its kind in the area. Entries in our festival can only be up to 20 minutes long including credits. This competition will allow any filmmaker to submit work, even if it has been entered into other festival competitions! We encourage submitting films in every genre and subject matter as long as they are within the scope of the official rules.

Exciting components to our festival:
• There are two categories for films to be entered. The ESFF will feature a Live Action category and an Animation category.
• Next In Finalist- Each category will have 5 potential finalist. The top 2, as voted on by the selection committee, will make the finals. The next 3 films in each category will compete to make the finals on September 16th an 17th as part of the Elgin Fringe Festival.
• The Top Finalist’s films selected will be treated to a red carpet arrival the night of the festival and will be shown in the 1200 seat theater of The Hemmens Cultural Center!
• 1st Prize: $1,000 plus trophy!
• 2nd Prize: $500 plus trophy!
• 3rd Prize: $300 plus trophy!
• Mike Toomey, comedian and integral part of the WGN morning show, returns to MC our event.

So as I’m sure you will agree, this will be a great event. We encourage your participation and look forward to your submission for the 2017 Elgin Short Film Festival. The entry fee for films submitted by August 1st, 2016 is $40. Films submitted after August 1st will have a $50 fee. The deadline to submit your film is August 25th, 2017!

For a complete list of rules and regulations, and to download an application, go to:

Good Luck, and let us know if you have any questions!
Joe Vassallo and Rich Jacobs
Co-Chairs, Elgin Short Film Festival

Awards & Prizes

First Place for Best Film: Trophy & $1,000
Second Place for Best Film: Trophy and $500
Third Place for Best Film: Trophy & $300
The People’s Choice Award (based on audience votes cast during intermission): Trophy

The top 3 films in each category will be recognized on the night of the festival, September 23, 2017 .

Rules & Terms

Please see website for full rules. Since submission of a film constitutes acceptance of these Entry Rules & Regulations (by filmmakers and their agents), please review this document carefully.


General Rules:
Since submission of a film constitutes acceptance of these Entry Rules & Regulations (by filmmakers and their agents), please review this document carefully.

To be eligible for consideration, entrants must fully comply with the following Rules & Regulations, including deadline and entry material requirements and selected film requirements.

Films must be no more than twenty (20) minutes in length (including credits).
1. Films must be postmarked no later than August 25, 2017. Early Entry rates are available for entries postmarked by July 28, 2017. See page 2 for details. The ESFF Committee may temporarily prohibit the acceptance of film entries or may advance the aforementioned submission deadline to any date prior to August 25, 2017 in the ESFF Committee's sole discretion without prior notice.
2. All entries must be either in English, contain English subtitles, or be dubbed in English.
3. Because the ESFF is an all-age event, the ESFF reserves the right to reject submissions which are not appropriate for all ages in the sole discretion of the ESFF (e.g., submissions which contain nudity, excessive violence or vulgarity).
4. Films that have been previously submitted to the Elgin Short Film Festival are NOT eligible for competition.
5. Films must be submitted either electronically through the FilmFreeway website at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/ElginShortFilmFestival or on three (3) identical DVD’s (NTSC) delivered to The Hemmens Cultural Center. The production’s title and entrant’s name must be on each case and DVD.
6. All entries must be a complete film. Submitted works that are considered a “work in progress,” “rough cut,” or a portion of a larger work will not be accepted.
7. Entrant confirms and warrants that he/she has the required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.
8. Submitted works must not have been commercially exhibited in the U.S. or publicly broadcast.
9. Selected films may be promoted through all media types and outlets for promotional purposes by the Hemmens Cultural Center and the City of Elgin. In addition, ESFF reserves the right to re-screen selected projects at events and promotional showcases featuring festival highlights.
10. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. Underage filmmakers must have their film submitted by a parent or guardian over the age of 18.

2 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Christopher Oliva

    Was excited to be a part of this. The people involved with the fest seemed nice and the fellow filmmakers there were nice to meet. However, they started our film 20 or more seconds into the movie and it was not restarted (the very opening of our film has an important bit for the audience and it was missed) And however they exhibited our image, it stretched our frame and looked distorted. I emailed them right away to ask if they wanted a new file for the next evening and got no response. I know our file was okay because I double checked it when I got home. My assumption is it wasn't tested until the very last moment. It took several emails over the course of two-three weeks to get a response. The rest of the films that played also started a little late in the film, but they were restarted right away. The rest of the program was very interesting and was happy to see them. Again, the people that run the fest seem very nice and excited about independent film. Our experience was technically disappointing and we were sad about that.

    October 2017
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    Brad Riddell

    Elgin offers a fantastic experience that rivals the big fests. Finalists ride in a limo to the show and walk a red carpet. Winners received generous cash prizes and beautiful trophies. It was a night my team and my family will never forget, and I'm so glad I submitted!

    September 2017