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. We accept films from across the country and across the world from filmmakers of all ages. We like narrative, documentary, animated, experimental, youth films, features, and shorts. In addition to our competitive film screenings, we also hold 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. 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 2nd - Saturday, April 4th 2020), 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 at least $1000 in prize money that will be divided up for the following awards:

Best of Show
Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Animated Film
Best Experimental Film
Best UPIKE Film
Young Filmmaker Award
Spirit of the Mountains Award

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. TV pilots are accepted just submit to the appropriate category based on your page count.

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
  • An amazing experience! Nothing better than watching local films and connecting with filmmakers!

    September 2019
  • Burr Beard

    Thanks for a wonderful low key festival. Networking brought on great friendships.

    April 2019
  • Deborah Novak

    Thank you for honoring "Andre Van Damme & The Story of the Charleston Ballet" with the Best Professional Film award. What a wonderful film festival! Andrew Reed and the film students of UPIKE made us feel so welcome. Again, thank you all very much!

    April 2019
  • I had a great time at UPIKE FMA Festival this year. Andrew Reed and staff really went out of their way to make filmmakers feel welcome and valued with lots of personal attention and thoughtful details that added to the great time all us filmmakers had. I especially liked spending time with the film students as they were excited about film, eager to learn and shared many of their film ideas with me. It was just a great experience overall. Pikeville is also a great little town and everything is within walking distance of the festival and hotel. Lots of shops and restaurants and nearly everyone you pass on the sidewalk looks you in the eye with a friendly greeting. Thanks to Andrew and everyone else who worked so hard to make this a great festival this year!

    April 2019
  • This was such a warm and charming festival, put together really well and Mr. Andrew Reed was awesome, organized and easy to communicate with.

    April 2019