Founded in 2008 here in Lexington, KY, the ScareFest is celebrating its 13th year. The ScareFest is an annual Horror, Paranormal & Fandom Convention held every year at the Lexington Convention Center with over 10,000 local, out-of-state & international attendees. The ScareFest is one of the largest of its kind in the country, bridging the horror and paranormal with over 50,000 followers on social media. Every year we host celebrities, of the small and large screens, from the horror and paranormal world as well as local artists, businesses and entertainers.

The ScareFest Film Festival is a 4-day celebration of the macabre and all things horror. We are an event ran by fans for the fans, bringing terror from around the United States into Kentucky. We love to support independent filmmakers, students, & studios looking to showcase their work and anyone who is bringing innovation and excitement to the horror genre. Independent films and low budget masterpieces are central to the Horror genre and so that’s what we to showcase to our audiences.

We accept films from any genre of horror… SPLATTER, SLASHER & SUPERNATURAL! Comedy horror, documentary, dark sci-fi… if it’s got blood and guts or will keep you on the edge of your seat then we want to showcase your work!

Our attendees want to see original and pioneering films and shorts. We are looking for films that haven’t been released, not available on YouTube or DVD and are less than years old preferably. We are looking for new and fresh works to show our audiences and that’s what they’ve come to expect. Also works from students & our local indie filmmakers are always wonderful and we love to promote our Kentucky Horror Filmmakers!

IMPORTANT: We made mistakes in our 2019 Film Festival. We were simply unprepared for the high number of entries we received after switching from a "private submission" platform to FilmFreeway. For 2021 we have a new leadership team in place for the Film Festival and have handed over management of the event to our Media Team.

All film submissions chosen as finalists will automatically receive free VIP passes for the weekend which will gain you early entrance to meet your favorite celebrities & browse our exhibitor halls. It also gets you into our Friday VIP events and our Halloween Costume Ball held on Saturday night with music, drinks and all-around great time. We also offer discounted booths to our entries so you can sell merchandise & actively promote your film to our thousands of attendees as they pass by.

Awards will be available in the following categories:
• Best of Show
• Best Horror Comedy
• Audience Choice
• Best Documentary
• Best Supernatural/Ghost Story
• Best Screenplay
• Best Director
• Best Actor & Actress
• Scariest Moment
• Best Special Effect

Each winner will receive a statuette at our awards ceremony to be held at the Saturday Night Costume Ball during the event. Winners will also be featured on all social media, as well as ongoing promotion through all our social media platforms and website. Main Prize Winners may be invited to be guests on ScareFest Television, our weekly video podcast.

New for 2021: Showings of our finalists entries will be held at The LexLive Krikorian Theaters and open to the public as well as our attendees. This venue will allow your entry to be viewed in an actual theater setting and not just a meeting room at the convention center.

ALSO: Many of our entries will be streamed privately for our subscribing judges at The Scarefest Television AfterParty Project. These streaming copies may be resampled at a lower resolution and will be available for a very limited time.

• Productions cannot have been previously screened at the event.
• Premiere status will be preferred and will be a factor in inclusion decision.
• Films that are not available to the public will be a factor in inclusion decision. We prefer to not have films readily available online to on current streaming services.
• By submitting, you're giving us permission to exhibit your film at the event, and other screenings (such as promotional events, etc.).
Online submission will be accepted through film festival platform FilmFreeway.
We will accept hardcopies in some cases. These must be a digital copy on DVD (minimum 1920×1080). Please contact us for mail submissions.

By submitting, you represent and warrant that you have full legal right and authority to submit the film/video project for consideration by The Scarefest, and that all necessary consents, licensing, and approvals have been obtained with respect thereto. You agree to hold The Scarefest and its sponsors harmless in any and all matters pertaining to the consents, licenses, and approvals of heretofore film/video project. You understand that your submission is in no way a guarantee of acceptance into The Scarefest Film Festival. No one from The Scarefest or its sponsors has guaranteed you admission into the festival. Should your film be accepted to The Scarefest Film Festival, you grant The Scarefest the right to use any footage from the preview screener, and all submitted publicity photos and any other materials pertaining to this entry for The Scarefest's promotional non-commercial purposes, without limitations.

All submissions are final. No refunds are provided.

Overall Rating
  • Michael Fausti

    Wasn't able to attend in person but what a great festival! Excellent communication throughout and the festival has a good social media presence. Well worth submitting to. Hope to attend one day in person, looks incredible.

    February 2020
  • Mikey McMurran

    A great festival! Unfortunately, I couldn't be there in person but was honoured that we won Best Horror Comedy, Best Ghost Story, and Best Actress for my film: The Final Ride! I would recommend Scarefest to any filmmaker in the horror genre.

    October 2019
  • Matthew Dunehoo

    It's an honor to be accepted anywhere, and no one from our team was able to attend the screening...but...we had little help.

    There was zero communication from the festival. I was completely bewildered. It just played. Maybe? I'm not even entirely sure it played. I tried inquiring about details of the screening so as to possibly make arrangements to attend. Zero communication from anyone at the festival outside notification of acceptance and details surrounding format needs and remission. Again, bewildering. Hard to leave a review, hate to leave anything not positive but...crickets.

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    We are sorry for your bad experience. We were ill prepared going into 2019 and did not have the infrastructure in place to successfully take that festival from beginning to end. With new festival management in place, a larger dedicated team, and a new venue to show our submissions we expect 2021 to be a great year.

  • Sam Hodge

    The festival itself is amazing and I urge anyone to attend this horror festival. However, as they have acknowledged, there were severe problems with displaying the films. They attempted to stream these films from a router everyone knows is always bogged down, instead of pre-downloading these films to an external hard drive. With the money received from submissions, an external hard drive capable of holding films should be easy to purchase. I will submit again because I know the potential of this festival.

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    These issues are fully addressed for 2021 with our new venue at LexLive. Films will actually be shown in a theater via state of the art equipment - and not downloaded to a small projector.

  • Although I didn't get to go to this festival, we had a great experience in having our film accepted and screened. Great communication, great staff, and from what I could tell from afar a very good lineup of films!

    September 2019