Call for Entries


The Call for Entries for the 2021 Milwaukee Film Festival are CLOSED- stay tuned for announcements for future festivals!

NOTE: Our festival submission process is handled through Eventival. Please check out our How-To Guide, if the process proves confusing in any way!

Rules, Regulations, and FAQs

  • Milwaukee Film reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted.
  • Only productions completed after June 1, 2019 may be submitted; due to the impact of COVID-19 on our industry works previously submitted to the Milwaukee Film Festival in 2020 are eligible to submit again.
  • There is no premiere status required for the Milwaukee Film Festival.
  • Works in progress, industrial, and instructional works are not eligible.
  • Accepted films may NOT screen publicly (theatrical, festival, or event-type screenings) in Milwaukee County after February 1, 2021. Milwaukee Film reserves the right to exclude films that violate this screenings embargo from the festival.
  • Public screenings in the Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington counties prior to Feburary 1, 2021 may affect programming decisions.
  • To be eligible for the Cream City Cinema category, 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, all directors 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 Monday, April 12, 2021.
  • Award eligibility will be confirmed at the time of film selection.

The online submission form must be completed by February 5, 2021.


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

  • Accepted films will be invited to screen no later than April 8, 2021.
  • Films not accepted into the festival will be notified by email only by April 8, 2021. 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 a film is invited to screen, the following information will be important to have in mind. Submission of work to the festival does not indicate an invitation to screen, the below is provided for informational purposes only.

  • Shipping & Materials
    • Exhibition copies of all films and videos screening in the Festival must arrive by Monday, April 12, 2021. Technical specs will be provided at the time of booking, to conform with the best possible presentation on our virtual festival platform.
    • We will expect films to provide files that enable the use of closed-captioning, though exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis at the time of booking
    • Marketing materials must be made available; materials provided to Milwaukee Film for purposes of promotion will not be returned.
    • Milwaukee Film will pay all transcoding fees required by our platform; additional technical fees (file transfers, etc) must be negotiated at the time of booking.
  • Screening and Appearance Fees
    • Milwaukee Film values the work of artists and offers to pay screening fees to all films selected to screen in the festival.
    • Milwaukee Film does not require attendance, but values the time and energy of artists. In addition to complimentary access to films and events (georestrictions permitting), we are able to provide a modest appearance fee to those who give their time to engage with our audiences in substantive ways. Details will be provided when appearance is being planned.
FAQ: When can I submit my film for consideration to the 2021 Milwaukee Film Festival?

Submissions are now open! The online application must be completed by February 5, 2021.

FAQ: Where do I send my film?

Links to online screeners can be submitted via Eventival.



Questions about our new submission platform?


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: How is the Milwaukee Film Festival working to highlight new voices and stories within the Festival?

The Milwaukee Film Festival includes programs designed to spotlight underrepresented films and filmmakers. Black Lens since 2014 highlights the best in contemporary African American cinema; Cine Sin Fronteras since 2016 presents stories of the global Latinx diaspora; and GenreQueer since 2018 features films about and by LGBTQ+ people. These programs within the festival broaden our audience’s horizons and bring people together to create community conversation around issues of importance to our city.    

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 February 1, 2021. Please note that screening your film in one of the above counties prior to February 1, 2020 may affect programming decisions.

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.

Additional eligibility determinants are at the discretion of Milwaukee Film.

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 various awards to locally made films. Films selected to screen in competition for these awards will be notified in advance of the festival.

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 often offers awards annually. Films selected to screen in competition for these awards will be notified in advance of the festival.

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 always be added 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 only no later than April 8, 2021. Please add to your list of white-listed senders to assure receipt of this email notification. 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.

FAQ: Why don't my Vimeo stats show you've watched my film?

Accurate statistics are not always recorded using Vimeo’s methods of tracking loads and views. Vimeo videos viewed via a third-party player do not always record statistics in the same way that videos viewed via their direct link in a web browser are counted. If we view your project using the Vimeo app on another streaming device (such as Apple TV or Roku), it is also being viewed via a third-party player. The vast majority of the films submitted to us are viewed in this manner, and therefore the statistics are not counted in the same way that they would be watched via a direct link. This is outlined directly in Vimeo's own online documentation here, the text of which is included below:



"What stats does Vimeo record if my video is displayed using a third-party player?

Unfortunately, there isn’t very much data we can gather from views that don’t occur within the Vimeo player. For PRO, Business, Premium users using third-party player links, we can only approximate the number of times the file is being played. Multiple impressions / plays by the same viewer in the same browser session will not be counted (like they are when our own player is used). We also cannot count finishes or any engagement / duration stats for these plays. In many cases, we will still be able to detect the website where the view is happening, the location of the view, and the device, however, this is less reliable than it would be with our own player."