Call for Entries


The Call for Entries for the 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival is CLOSED - filmmakers will be notified as to their film's status by Monday, 9/21! 

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

The deadline for online submissions has been extended to July 15th, 2020. Questions/comments/concerns? Please peruse our FAQ below, and direct any unanswered questions to our programming team at

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.
  • 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 June 1, 2020. 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 June 1, 2020 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.).
  • Non-English 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 Friday, September 18, 2020.
  • Award eligibility will be confirmed at the time of film selection.

Online submissions must be made by July 15, 2020.


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 28, 2020.
  • Films not accepted into the festival will be notified by email only by August 28, 2020. 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
    • Features Films are required to provide (1) DCP on physical hard drive and (1) Blu-Ray Disk. Blu-Ray Disk are for backup purposes only and will not be accepted as the primary exhibition format.
    • Short Films are required to provide a DCP and HD File.
    • Alternative formats including 35mm, 70mm, 16mm, and 3D DCP are negotiable on a case-by-case basis.  
  • Shipping & Materials
    • Exhibition copies of all films and videos screening in the Festival must arrive in office by Friday, September 18, 2020. Complete care is given to every film. However, Milwaukee Film cannot be held responsible for damage en route.
    • Marketing materials provided to Milwaukee Film for purposes of promotion will not be returned.
    • Milwaukee Film will pay only for outbound shipping of exhibition copies of feature films unless otherwise negotiated at the time of booking.
  • Travel and Hospitality
    • Milwaukee Film values the work of artists and offers to pay screening fees to all films selected to screen in the festival.
    • Additionally, 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 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival?

Submissions are now open! The online application must be completed by July 15, 2020.

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 June 1, 2020. Please note that screening your film in one of the above counties prior to June 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.
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 offers several cash 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 no later than August 28, 2020. 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.