Heed the call of cinematic horror

Compete for gory glory in northwest Vermont's biggest amateur film festival.

Create a 5-10 minute short film for our horror festival at the Welden Theatre. Both amateur and experienced filmmakers are welcome

September 1st
• Film submissions open
October 1st
• Advance tickets go on sale
October 23rd at 11:59
• Film submission deadline


October 29th, 6:30pm
• Film Premiere
• Awards Night at Twiggs
October 30th, 6:30pm
• Additional Film Screening

Some ground-rules first: Here's everything you need to know before creating your horror film for Northwest Nightmares:


There are a few creative guidelines you'll need to be aware of as you write, produce, and edit.

Horror is the primary theme, but feel free to blend it with other genres (action, thriller, comedy, sci-fi, mystery, etc.).

Just keep in mind that your film will be judged on its qualities as a horror film, first and foremost.

Your final film must be between (5) and (10) minutes long—your credits and intro sequence don't add to this.

Intro Sequence
An introductory sequence is found at the beginning of a film and sets the mood for the audience—we recommend incorporating your titles into your movie in a creative way.

Your intro sequence must include:

  • Your film's title.
  • Your team name.

A static intro sequence (solid color background with text) must be under (1) minute long.

End Credits
Your film should close with a list of everyone and everything that went into the creation of your film. This includes:

  • Cast names and characters.
  • Crew names and roles.
  • Your team's city or town.
  • Media credits (the names/titles of any music, videos, and/or images you get permission to use).

End credits must be under (1) minute long.

Video Format
After editing, export your film in HD. Exact specifications:

  • 1920x1080 (HD) resolution.
  • Export as an .mov or .mp4 file.
  • 2-channel stereo audio is highly recommended.

Your horror film should conform to the MPAA's PG-13 rating, with a few exceptions.

  • Drug use. The graphic depiction or use of drugs and alcohol must be kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Language. Explicit language should be kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Violence. Avoid including scenes of prolonged graphic violence, sexualized violence, and extreme gore in your film.

Legal & Copyright
We pride ourselves on screening entirely original work. Some legal information to keep in mind:

  • Copyright
    Your film will air on broadcast television—the unauthorized use of copyrighted music, videos, or images in your film is not allowed. Written permission from the copyright holder must be made available upon request.
  • Privacy & Defamation
    Your film cannot contain defamatory statements targeting individuals, groups, organizations, or companies and you may not infringe on their privacy rights.
  • Permission
    Written permission from your actor(s) and any owners of filming locations are essential and must be available upon request.

Release Forms
Film locations, actors, and copyrighted media all require a corresponding release form.

Download all the release forms you'll need (.zip). They're printable PDFs that we'll request prior to the premiere.


Joining the festival, entering your team information, and submitting your film is all done online.

You can register and submit your film prior to the October 23rd deadline via FilmFreeWay.com.

It's $35 to enter a film. Unfortunately, entry fees aren't refundable, and each team is independently responsible for funding their film and paying the entry fee.

Film submissions

You can upload your video file privately via FilmFreeWay or by adding a Vimeo or Youtube link.

Signing Up
Create an account with FilmFreeWay—fill out the basic name and contact information.

Once you've completed the quick registration process you'll be asked to create a project—this is where you'll add your team name, film details, and upload or link your file.

Upload a file
If you'd like to upload your film directly to FilmFreeWay from your computer, upload a file.

Make sure the video is set to private (default) and give film festivals permissions to view and download automatically.

Add a link
If you're adding a link, your video must be set to "unlisted" (Youtube) or have a password (Vimeo).

This keeps the video from being viewed by the public ahead of the film premiere—it'd be a shame to ruin the fun!

Submit your project

Now that you have an account, you're logged in, and with your project created, once again visit our film festival page on FilmFreeWay.

Click on the 'submit' button and add your project. You'll be asked to pay the entry fee. Once you've completed the payment process your film will be sent to us.

You may receive an email notification of this depending on your account settings.

Need help? Visit FilmFreeWay's help center or ask us a question using our contact form under "Questions."


Making a film is best done safely, legally, and honestly. Below is legal information you agree to by entering our film festival.

By submitting a film in the Northwest Nightmares Film Festival, entrants. . .

  • Warrant and represent that they own all rights to their film ("the entry").
  • Has obtained written permission from all actors, film location owners, and copyright holders that appear in the entry.
  • Bears all claims and/or damages resulting from the entry.
  • Understands and agrees that the organizers of the festival are in no way responsible for any claims resulting from the entry, now or in the future.
  • Acknowledges that all music, images, and video used in the film must be original or royalty-free content. Any copyrighted works used in the film require written permission from the copyright holder, as stated above.
  • Acknowledges that no responsibility or liability is assumed by the organizers of the festival resulting from any users participation in or attempt to participate in the festival.
  • Agrees that the organizers are not responsible for lost data (video or otherwise).
  • Agrees that the organizers reserve the right to withhold films from screening that contains graphic content. Films withheld may remain eligible for awards and prizes.
  • Acknowledges that the organizers are not responsible for any physical harm that may occur in the course of any entrant attempting to enter or entering the festival.

Registration runs from September 1st to October 23rd. All registration and film submissions must be received by October 23rd at 11:59pm.


Our judges will evaluate your film on a number of different levels.

How original was your film? Did your writers and actors succeed in telling an engaging story?

How well did you demonstrate your technical skill in creating an aesthetically pleasing film in terms of video, audio, and editing?

How well did your film succeed on its merits as a horror film?


Every year we present awards to our top three winners, giving them commemorative plaques celebrating their creativity.

Our grand prize winners, however, will additionally receive hundreds of dollars in Amazon gift cards and film gear.


Need help?

Reach our organizer via email during regular business hours via the form below or directly at info@nwnightmares.com.

The festival begins October 29th at the Welden Theatre. We encourage creators to invite their friends and family

Tickets are now on sale. Buy advance tickets online or purchase them at the door, if available—first night tickets routinely sell out early.

October 29th, 6:30pm
• Film Premiere
• Awards Night

Watch the film festival's debut film screening of this year's entries alongside the filmmakers at The Welden Theatre.

After the film screening, join us at Twiggs: An American Gastropub for the awards presentation, food, and drinks.

October 30th, 6:30pm
• Additional Film Screening

Can't make opening night? Catch an additional screening of this year's films.


Film Screenings
The Welden Theatre is Franklin County's only remaining independent theater.

We proudly screen all our films (on both festival days) at our local theater, located at 104 N Main Street in St. Albans.

Awards Night
We're excited to hold our Awards Night at Twiggs: An American Gastropub, located at 28 N Main Street in St. Albans.

Parking is available on the street and in the city parking garage.

Find available accommodations at the nearby Hampton Inn.

Ready to join the festival? Sign up with FilmFreeWay to register and submit your film.