With Golden Globe winner and fellow Green Bay native, Tony Shalhoub, as our honorary member, our 5th season is in motion! We accept most genre shorts, feature films, music video entries. Animated or non-animated productions, narrative fiction or non fiction, independently produced or in union status. You name it: shorts, features, pilot or series eps, music or creative videos and documentaries. Westerns/ Sci-fi / Halloween-themed are all welcome.

For horror types, which we accept here, we also have our sister competition Scene Awards, also being at the same Galas we co-host (filmfreeway.com/sceneawards) but horror with sci fi or sfx elements is also welcome here under category 5. Also comedy, romance, thrillers, SFX films under this same category. We also love music videos (we call them jewels).

MLC stands for Mobster (as in drama, thrillers, scifi, horror, crime) - Latinx - Comedy. While those are three basic pillars in what we like to judge in productions, we are open to and have many awards in other aspects--see submission categories and awards on mlcawards.com).

Back to our current window, the MORE categories you think your film will fit in, the BIGGER the chances of selection, nomination or even award or a chance to have your film screened. We also do videos (creative, experimental... see Best Jewel submission category).

We also honor cast even beyond what the submission categories indicate. This means that if we like a supporting or day player actor, or a specific sound or color treatment aspect, we can nominate and award this actor.

We select over 60 films per semester/window.

We celebrate all genres, but most especially "M-L-C components" described in the Awards & Prizes section. MLC stands for Mobster - Latino - Comedy. We also love Midwest-Made productions (see our Midwest section) and anything loaded with VFX, great sound, animation, etc. We also welcome creative youtube videos, promo videos, trailers of movies, etc.

See Rules & Terms (or the categories themselves) for a detailed explanation on our submission categories.

See Event description section.

We issue awards recognizing all budget type productions--besides cast and crew--every 4-5 months in over 30 categories. Indeed, other than the awards listed on each category (see each submission category), we also have Honorable Mention (HM) and Special Jury Mention (SJM) Awards. These, along with the Semester (Fall or Rise Semesters) Award winners receive an e-certificate. Wildcards do not receive a certificate, but get Outstanding Achievement credit on IMDb and can order a trophy.

We have SUBMISSION CATEGORIES, which give us an idea of what submitters want us to pay close attention to. We also have MERIT CATEGORIES we do not list which we place folks under when we see merit based on performance, creativity, originality, etc.

Visit www.mlcawards.com for winners and nominees of our previous window, but do keep in mind the new changes, expanding awards (see categories and pricing).


We reserve our right to remove categories should these not have enough participants. Contestants will be moved to the following window, should that occur.

Filmmakers or Producers, including student filmmakers/producers, from all over the world, over the age of 18, all budgets, are encouraged to submit. Your project can be independent or part of a union contract. You must clear permissions to submit it to us.

Any films not in English must have English subtitles. Films in English with hard-to-hear scenes are encouraged to include subtitles.

We are all about (but not necessarily excluding others):

* Fiction or non fiction animated or non-animated short films (40 minute maximum length, 1 minute minimum, including opening and closing credits) as long as completed as of January 1, 2017. All genres. See categories 4-5-6...if you submit your short or documentary short there (as long as it meets criteria), you also compete under category 1.

* Fiction and non-fiction pilots or web/TV/streamable episodes/series (released or not, union or non union, 55-60 minute maximum length excluding opening and closing credits), as long as they were completed as of January 1, 2016. If a web series, send us the most representative episode. We also consider shorts with a series potential (with a pilot flavor). You must adhere to the M-L-C criteria described below.

* Fiction or non fiction Midwest-Made short films/productions: Maximum 40 minute length, including credits. Midwest: Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio. Completed as of January 1, 2016. Documentaries go under the Documentary section, but if you indicate that your documentary was made in the Midwest, you will be considered for awards stemming from this submission category.

* Westerns/Mobster-Driven films. Not only classic or modern Westerns. Think pirates, smugglers, mafias... money and power driven productions with persecuted families or groups (shorts or features). 180 min max length.

* Adventure/Fantasy-Horror/VFX-SFX. We looove to see your creativity and stories. Completed as of January 1, 2016. Should be 180 min long or less.

* Documentaries (fiction or not) and docu-series episodes: all lengths.

* Creative Jewels: experimental or artistic shorts or videos, music videos, youtube/vimeo content or proofs of concept with After Effects or any other software/technique elevating image and sound. Go animation, go experimental. Videos can be any length. Animation shorts will also compete under this category, even if they submitted under a different one. A submission with a series of, say, five videos submitted under one single entry showing no story connection will be not be judged past the first video. You must submit each video separately.

MLC stands for Mobster - Latino - Comedy. However, we do not exclude productions lacking some or all of these.

By L-atino, we mean any of the cast members or director from a latino culture, be it geographically, by language, etc. Or film score in a latino language (Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian; all Latin American cultures welcome...

By M-obster we mean the film has to have a fiction organized crime component (Westerns are welcome, even horror/thrillers as long as there is crime involved, also mafia stories, piracy, smuggling, etc). We do not celebrate violence, but love thrillers with great character treatment and a great dialogue-action ratio.

By C-omedy we mean anything from dark to light comedy. We love sarcasm with taste, great dialogues and punch lines.

You should ideally (but no obligation) adhere to the M-L-C criteria described above. Think of funny shorts, with latino flavor, law enforcement, Westerns, video clips, etc.

Shorts and pilots/eps/ series potential shorts with MLC components showcased have a big chance to be selected and win and are entered in the top 3 categories. We love resourcefulness, ALL budgets, creativity. Although not obligatory to type up, we read (and appreciate) submission cover letters.

Screenplays: see event description.

-We reserve the right to amend rules and nominate contestants, if applicable, for other categories we see fit and not necessarily in the categories the were submitted under.

We are okay with films that have previously screened at festivals. We do not accept and will not pay any screening fees. We may select and nominate your film or cast in category(ies) you did not submit for. Yet we will pay close attention as your notes and initial submission.

SHORT FILMS: TRY to limit yourself to up to 3 submissions per filmmaker per quarterly window.

LANGUAGE: Films can have any kind of swearing and rough language. Mature audiences will be at the quarterly (judges) or the annual (+ audience in general) events. All types of graphic violence are okayed as long as there is a story to tell versus fillers that do not connect will the story.

We mostly accept unlisted YouTube links (our preference) or Vimeo links with or without password. If you want to submit more series episodes besides the pilot, please email a link to subsequent eps separately. We do not guarantee we will watch them, but it can help your CAT 2 submission for bigger winning chances. We do not require DVDs or hard copies.


By submitting you agree to hold the festival / event organizers / members / sponsors harmless from fees of any kind such as, but not limited to, screening fees, no transportation or other expenses you incur to attend the festival's drive in screening events.

Free format, but we only accept digital submissions (no mailed DVDs or anything of the like). Editing should ideally be anywhere between 24 fps and 60 fps (the latter preferred for fast moving scenes) with the exception of 6K shoots with tasteful slow motion work.

Any filmmaker, even students, with ages above 18 is welcome to submit. Not all submission categories have student discounts, but that does not mean a student cannot submit. We welcome and specially consider first time filmmakers.

EXTRA CONSIDERATION SUBMISSIONS: we will watch paying special attention to the following:

Best Actor in a leading role
Best Actress in a leading role
Best Film Score / Best Song
Best Editing / Best Cinematography

The EXTRA CONSIDERATION should be purchased ideally separately from the Main category, but we will not bar single purchases, unless you submit a film longer than the minutes posted under each Main category. Again, if your film exceeded the length posted or did not include MLC components as we require under the MAIN CATEGORIES rules, then we will not view your film. NO REFUNDS. Although please read further down about chances of being selected with EXTRA submission-only.



* To increase your chances of being selected, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT FORIBDDEN, don't submit for EXTRA consideration categories-only. Those who submit the same film together under Main and EXTRA categories will have more chances of Selection and Win under the EXTRA CONSIDERATION category than those who just submit under EXTRA CONSIDERATION-ONLY.

Phone films are accepted as long as in good sound, 1080 and not entirely shot with a mobile phone (using other equipment). Drones, Action Cams are okay. Be creative. HD or 4K cameras preferred. Please use a microphone attached to your camera, as we value good quality sound.

* All genres are welcome, including experimental.

Porn and/or erotic themed films are EXCLUDED and will not be judged/considered. Nudity okay with moderate dosage.



* We accept already-distributed films or films that premiered elsewhere. All of the above except Westerns must be COMPLETED PRODUCTIONS (we do not accept work in progress) AND RELEASED ANYTIME after January 1, 2016. See Rules for more info and film lengths.

* No screening fees will be paid by this festival to anyone with no exceptions. This is mainly to keep costs down for everyone.

* Quarterly Winner trophies similarly-looking to the one displayed in our Festival logo will be delivered to those winners attending our September 13, 2020 drive in event (we do not mail due to COVID reasons). Trophy will read "Quarterly Category Winner".

* We reserve the right to promote submissions via posters-only (no actual footage). For Facebook (Recently Submitted...) purposes, we reserve the right to 2.5D or 3D the poster or put the poster in a video sequence. If a trailer is available and publicly downloadable, we reserve right to showcase it along with the submission on our FB portal. We will properly quote all links, etc., in an effort to help promote the showcased submissions. These types of Facebook posts (go to www.facebook.com/mlcawards) could be shared with over 30+ worldwide groups of filmmakers and producers we are part of.

If your production previously won a category in a specific window, please do not resubmit it. We like to see more of your work. It showcases your style best with us when you submit variety. You may resubmit if you did not win.

We also reserve the right to amend rules of participation, venues and dates of events, etc., as we see fit to protect the integrity of any MLC event, participants and its organizers. See our website (and privacy policy), Facebook portal or Event Description section above for more information.

Overall Rating
  • Obi Ejikeme

    verry glad to have been part of the festival

    November 2023
  • Lots of cool filmmakers in attendance and it was great to hear from them all!

    September 2023
  • We very much enjoyed the 2023 MLC "Best of the Year" Awards!

    The three-day event showcased the talents of many filmmakers at the historic Tarlton Theatre, St. Brendan's Inn, and the Neville Public Museum. Our film "Confessions of a Sailor" was recognized with director Kurt Krauss winning "Strong Filmmaking Talent of the Year" and actor John Schakel Jr. nominated for "Outstanding Supporting Role" for his performance as William "Old Tobe" Tobit.

    A special shoutout and thank you to the judging panel and organizers of the MLC "Best of the Year" Awards for a very fun and memorable event!

    September 2023
  • Thanks so much to the MLC staff for the selection of our movie, "Lion of Judah Legacy"! Y'all are so supportive and wonderful! Appreciate you always!

    July 2023
  • Thanks for selecting "Enter the Room" into your festival as a Wildcard for Best Alternative Reality Film. While I wasn't able to attend the festival in person, the communication was very frequent, clear and concise and I received everything I needed. It was a lot of fun watching the Awards Ceremony on the festival's Instagram page. I had a very good experience overall and will definitely consider submitting future projects to MLC Awards.

    July 2023