Call for Entries

The Call for Entries for the 2018 Milwaukee Film Festival is now closed.

If you'd like your film to be considered for next year's festival, check back in January 2019. We'll update this page with deadlines and other important information as we get closer to next year's fest. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to our programming team at


Looking for volunteer opportunities? We have tons of volunteer positions to fill both during the festival and year-round.

Rules, Regulations, and FAQs

  • Milwaukee Film reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted.
  • Only productions completed after January 1, 2019 may be submitted; works previously submitted to the Milwaukee Film Festival are not eligible.
  • Works in progress, industrial, and instructional works are not eligible.
  • Accepted films may not screen publicly in Milwaukee County after June 1, 2019.
  • Public screenings in the Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington counties prior to June 1, 2019 may affect programming decisions.
  • To be eligible for the Cream City Cinema or Milwaukee Youth Show categories, the director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, sound editor, or lead actor(s) must reside in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington County.
  • To be eligible for the Cream City Cinema awards, the director must reside in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington County.
  • All films must be submitted for selection through an online password-protected streaming service (such as Vimeo, FestivalScope, etc.).
  • Foreign language films must be made available with the original language soundtrack and English subtitles.
  • For films invited to screen at the festival, exhibition formats must arrive in Milwaukee no later than mid-September, 2019.
  • Award eligibility will be confirmed at the time of film selection.

The online submission form must be submitted by the posted deadline, which will be determined by January 1, 2019.


The entrant confirms and warrants the required legal authority to submit the film entry into the festival and to use all music, images, and content in the film entry. In addition, entrants will allow usage of clips from the film for promotional use on television, radio, in print, and at live festival events.

  • Accepted films will be invited to screen no later than August 31, 2019.
  • Films not accepted into the festival will be notified by email only by August 31, 2019. Please add to your list of white-listed senders to assure receipt of this email notification. Due to the number of submissions we receive, Milwaukee Film cannot provide feedback on any entries. No calls, please.

If your film is invited to screen, please review the following information. Submission of work to the festival does not indicate an invitation to screen; the following information is provided for informational purposes only.

  • Technical
    • Preferred exhibition formats are DCP or HD File. (Accepted HD File formats: Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) Quicktime; Avid DNxHD Quicktime; Avid DNxHD .MXF. Audio formats must be 24 bit, 48khz, Linear pcm, little endian, Stereo.)
    • Alternative formats are negotiable and handled on a case-by-case basis but are limited to: HDCam, 35mm.
    • Blu-ray is accepted only as a backup format. It is not accepted as the primary exhibition format.
  • Shipping
    Exhibition copies of all films and videos screening in the festival must arrive in office by mid-September 2019. Complete care is given to every film. However, Milwaukee Film cannot be held responsible for damage en route.
  • Travel and Hospitality
    It is Milwaukee Film’s intention to provide, within its budget, travel and accommodation for filmmakers whose work is selected. However, acceptance into the Festival in no way guarantees that Milwaukee Film will pay for or reimburse the travel or accommodations of each filmmaker.
FAQ: When can I submit my film for consideration to the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival?

Submissions will be accepted starting in January 2019. The online application will have a due date in late-June, 2019.

FAQ: Where do I send my film?

Links to online screeners can be submitted with the online application. If your screener link is password protected, please include that in the field provided on the application.

FAQ: How much does it cost to submit?

Your first film submitted is free. Tell everybody!

Submissions are limited to one per person, so any additional films submitted by the same filmmaker without consent from our programming team will be automatically rejected. Please email if you’d like to inquire about submitting more than one film.

FAQ: What types of films does the Milwaukee Film Festival accept?

We accept short (under 40 minutes) and feature (40 minutes or longer) films of documentary, narrative, experimental, animated, and music varieties. Works in progress will not be accepted. Please see our Rules & Regulations (above) for additional eligibility requirements.

FAQ: What are the eligibility requirements for local categories such as Cream City Cinema and the Milwaukee Youth Show?

In order to qualify for the Cream City Cinema program or the Milwaukee Youth Show (our short film showcase for local filmmakers ages 18 & under), your film must meet the following requirements:

  • Director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, lead actor(s), or sound editor must reside in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington County.
  • Your film cannot screen publicly in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington County after June 1, 2019. Please note that screening your film in one of the above counties prior to June 1, 2019 will be taken into consideration by our programming staff.

Additionally, to qualify for the Milwaukee Youth Show:

  • All films submitted must be short films of approximately 20 minutes or less.
  • The work must primarily have been created by young people (ages 18 and under) with only minimal help from adults in an advisory capacity.
  • Work may have been created in or out of school or other educational environments. In the online application you will be asked to explain such contexts.
FAQ: Does the Milwaukee Film Festival offer any awards to locally made films?

Milwaukee Film, in its ongoing efforts to inspire and promote filmmaking in southeastern Wisconsin, offers two awards for locally made films.

Shorts and feature-length fiction and documentary films that are screened in the Cream City Cinema section and whose director resides in the greater Milwaukee area (see counties above) are eligible for our Cream City Cinema Jury Award which includes a cash prize of $5,000. Films selected to screen in competition for this award will be notified in advance of the festival.

In 2016, we launched a second local film award to celebrate the local music and film communities together. This award will be given to the best music video as selected by our jury and includes a $5,000 cash prize to be shared evenly between the video’s director/s and the video’s musical act.

However, it should be noted that Milwaukee Youth Show films, those films made by employees of Milwaukee Film or their families, and any films produced in conjunction with Milwaukee Film education programs are ineligible to receive these awards.

FAQ: Are any awards offered for non-local films and filmmakers?

Outside of our Cream City Cinema program, the Milwaukee Film Festival offers several additional cash awards annually. A number of juried cash awards are scheduled to be given in 2018, including the Black Lens Jury Award, the Kids Choice Jury Award, and the Shorter is Better Award.

In addition, two audience awards, presented by Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig, are given to the top-rated short- and feature-length films in the festival based on audience ratings. Additional awards may possibly be announced at a later date.

FAQ: When can I expect to hear about the status of my submitted film?

You will be notified about acceptance via email no later than August 31, 2019. Please do not contact our office before that time.

FAQ: My film was not accepted. Can you send me feedback?

Unfortunately, due to the vast amount of submissions we receive, we cannot provide feedback for any individual films.