The goal of the UPIKE Film & Media Arts Festival is to promote the art of filmmaking on both the UPIKE campus in Pikeville, KY and in the surrounding region. In addition to our competitive film screenings, we are also holding a screenplay contest.

We accept paid submissions for films and screenplays from across the world, but films from Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia can be submitted for free (screenplays still require an entry fee).

These entries can come from professionals, college students, high school students, and middle school students and we are accepting works of all lengths (shorts and features) and types (documentary, animation, music video, and traditional narrative). For more information on rules and regulations check that section out further down the page.

We plan to hold a variety of events over the course of the 3 day festival (Thursday, April 4th - Saturday, April 6th), but the primary event will be competitive screenings of films, a table read of the award-winning scripts, and an awards dinner. We encourage the filmmakers and screenwriters whose works are selected to also bring their friends and family to support them as all festival screenings and events are free (though the number of guests for the awards dinner will be limited).

We prefer to accept submissions to our festival through this page using the FilmFreeway platform. It's very easy to create a FilmFreeway account, upload a digital copy of your film to FilmFreeway and apply to our festival. Once you've submitted your film to our festival it's easy to use the site to find and submit to additional festivals so we encourage you to take advantage of those opportunities as well.

If you have any additional questions please email us at

We will have cash prizes that will be divided up for a variety of rewards for films including:

Best of Show
Best Professional Film
Best College Film
Best High School Film
Best Middle School Film
Best UPIKE Student Film
Spirit of the Mountains

In addition we will give the following screenplay awards:
Best Feature Screenplay
Best Short Screenplay
Best UPIKE Screenplay

Also, any high school senior that submits a film of high quality will be considered for a Film & Media Arts scholarship to UPIKE.

Filmmakers must be present at the festival to win cash prizes.

All filmmakers (international and USA) must pay the required submission fee to enter unless they are from the states of Kentucky, Virginia, or West Virginia or their film was shot in one of those states. For those filmmakers we have a special submission category that is free to enter. All screenplay categories require a submission fee no matter the location of the filmmaker.

All filmmakers that submit to this category are required to clarify their Kentucky, Virginia, or West Virginia connection in an accompanying cover letter or in their film information. Failure to clarify this will result in us marking your submission "Incomplete" until you can clarify your entry's eligibility. We require this because a significant number of films are inappropriately entered into this free category as an attempt to avoid submission fees. If you fail to explain your film's eligibility it will eventually result in your entry being disqualified.

Film submissions can come from professionals, college students, high school students and middle school students and we are accepting works of all lengths (shorts and features) and types (documentary, animation, music video and traditional narrative).

For purposes of categorization, we are considering feature films to be 40 minutes or longer, and shorts to be less than 40 minutes.

All that being said, if you are making a film specifically for this festival we encourage you to produce short films that are less than 10 minutes. As with any festival we only have so much time to show films, so the shorter your film is then the greater its chances are of being accepted and screened.

All entries need to be original work, and you must have the legal authorization to utilize all the content within your film. For example we will accept music videos, but you must have permission from the owners of the song to use it or we will not screen it.

We do not have a premiere requirement, but we do ask that you only submit works that were completed within the last 2 years.

Feature screenplays should be 50 pages or longer, and short screenplays should be 49 pages or less. If you have TV pilot script and it's 49 pages or less you can submit it to the short screenplay category.

Finally, we reserve the right to disqualify or reject your submission if we believe that it does not adhere to our rules or requirements.

Overall Rating
  • Joseph Spence

    It was an honor to have our feature The Pea Shooter accepted and screened at UPIKE!
    Although we weren't able to attend, Andrew Reed and the festival staff were very helpful in communicating with us. We had the good fortune of winning Best Professional Film and they were kind enough to send us our award certificate in the mail. I only wish that they would have done a FB live stream of the awards ;)
    We will definitely be submitting our new project to next years fest.
    Thanks again UPIKE!

    May 2018
  • W. Trent Welstead

    Friendly organizers. Quick communication. I'm thrilled that my film was selected!

    May 2018
  • Jim Weter

    Great film festival and great communication between myself and the organizers!

    May 2018
  • Excellent festival. Wonderful hosts. Organized efficiently. Incredibly welcoming.

    April 2018
  • Austin Parsons

    This was my first experience at a film festival as a filmmaker with a film screening, and I had an absolute blast! I hope I can come back in the future! Great job to all those who made the festival run! Total success!

    April 2017