Submit your original horror film short

Submissions begin on September 1st. Final deadline is October 21st at 11:59pm.

Content Guidelines

Create an original, horror-themed narrative video rated PG-13 and under 10 minutes in length.

Create your film

Get started with YouTube how-to’s. Write your story, assemble your crew, and edit your film.


Submit your finished film with our easy-to-use online portal that’ll keep your film safe & secure.

Need a Camera?

Find an access media center. You can rent audio and video equipment for low-to-no-cost.

Awards and Prizes

Viewers and judges vote on the recipients of our grand prize and excellence awards.

Festival Schedule

We’ve outlined the entire event schedule to keep you informated about important dates.

Finished films must be submitted before 11:59pm on October 21st.

Each film must be prepped, sent, and tested at the theater (it’s a lot of work).


Themes and Content

Learn more about horror (sub)genres, runtime, and creative boundaries regarding edgy horror film content.

The Checklist

Every film accepted into the festival has adhered to the following content guidelines:


  • The film was made within the past year.
  • Any foreign-language films include English subtitles.


  • It clearly belongs in a ‘horror’ genre or sub-genre.
  • It is a live-action or animated film. Anything goes.
  • It is a narrative film. Non-fiction, music videos, or film trailers may be played but aren’t award-eligible.


  • It is under 10 minutes in length (there is no minimum runtime).


  • It includes a title with the film’s name.
  • It includes a title identifying the creators’ location.
  • It includes end credits.

Content Limits

  • It generally conforms to the MPAA’s PG-13 rating.
  • While it includes violence and gore, it does not include graphic depictions of sexualized violence or abuse.
  • Graphic depictions of drug use—including alcohol and (e)cigarettes—are kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Explicit language is minimal. One ‘f-bomb,’ max.
  • Contains absolutely zero sexualized language.


Legal and Copyright

It’s important to properly license and credit your fellow creatives. Here’s how to do that.

Original Content

We take pride knowing that our filmmakers create entirely original films every year.

It’s important to get permission from actors, creators, and private property owners before involving them in your film.

Release forms be provided upon our request.

Media you use

Your film must not contain any copyrighted music, video, or images that you haven’t obtained written permission to use.

People you involve

Everyone in your film needs to understand that they’re working on your film and that their likeness may be made public on the web and social media.

It’s also critical that your film doesn’t contain defamatory statements targeting individuals, groups, organizations, or companies.

Locations you film at

Private property owners must be aware you’re filming on their land and give you written permission to use it.

Written permission to use public places (parks, trails, public buildings, streets/sidewalks, etc. ) is not required, but it’s best practice to inform local authorities where and when you’ll be filming.

Our release form can be used to obtain written permission from the parties above.


Audio and Video

Ensure your film looks incredible on the silver screen: aspect ratios, audio, frame-rates, and file format.

Aspect Ratio

In editing software it is possible to enter the width and height of your video—the aspect ratio. In 2019, this is mostly a stylistic choice by the director.

The theater projector will display your film differently depending on which aspect ratio you choose.

We recommend going with 2:39:1—it looks great and fills the entire cinema screen.

File Format

We recommend you export your film as an MP4 (h.264 codec) file in the highest audio and video quality possible.


Awards & Entry Fees

Every filmmaker helps make this event possible. Here’s what you could win and how to support us.


A $300 grand prize and excellence awards await our winners at the After Party.

Judges’ Awards

Our panel of community film critics will select (1) grand prize winner—the recipient of a cash prize and our distinctive award for ‘Best Picture.’

Additional excellence awards will also be presented:

Best Horror
Best Acting
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Production Design
Best Screenplay
Best Sound Design
Best Special Effects

Vote for your favorite

Opening Night attendees will be able to choose their favorite film via an online poll, with the popular vote winner receiving the coveted Viewers Choice award.

The After Party

Immediately following Opening Night at The Welden Theatre, our After Party will be held at 14th Star Brewing Co. inside “The Room.” Drinks and snacks will be served.

You’ll find 14th Star Brewing Co. at 133 North Main Street, Suite #7. Look for a parking lot plaza and a Planet Fitness. The brewery is right alongside that.

Excellence Awards will be presented, filmmakers will discuss their work, and the ‘Best Picture’ and Viewers’ Choice will be revealed.

Entry Fees

Each entry into the film festival is $40. Pay when you’re ready.

Create a free account with FilmFreeWay—fill out the contact information. Let us know where you’re from in Vermont, too!

Create a Project

After making a new account you’ll be asked to ‘Create a Project‘—a project is where you’ll add your movie poster, cast details, and filmmaker bio before uploading your video file.

If you don’t have everything ready, don’t worry: You can create your project later.

Uploading your film

On your ‘project’ page, upload your film directly to FilmFreeWay from your computer. This ensures we get a high-quality copy of your film without video compression.


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

This keeps the video from being viewed by the public ahead of the film premiere.

Submit & Pay

Visit our FilmFreeWay festival page (linked below) and hit the submit button. Select your project and enter your payment information.


If you have any questions, definitely visit FilmFreeWay’s help center. You can also email us at info@nwnightmares.com.


By submitting a film, you agree to the following:

Your film adheres to the guidelines detailed above.

You acknowledge that entry fees are non-refundable.

You’ve gotten written permission for any media, people, and privately-owned locations that appear in your film and will provide those docs when we request it.

You agree to allow us reserve the right to determine if your film is eligible for public viewing and awards.

You agree that the festival organizers are not responsible or liable for any damages, claims, physical harm, or lost data as a result of entering, participating in, or attending the film festival.

Upload your film

Entries accepted until October 21st at 11:59pm.

September 1st

Film submissions open

Upload your finished film and its documentation via an easy online submissions portal.

October 1st

Advance tickets go on sale

Opening Night routinely sells out. Buy tickets in advance and secure your seat at The Welden Theatre.

October 21st

Film submissions close

The final deadline is at 11:59pm on October 21st. The online submissions portal closes.

October 28th

Opening Night

A packed-house of horror film fans fills the theater, voting on their favorites.

The Welden Theatre
Doors — 6:30pm
Films — 7:00pm

October 28th

Awards Party

The party starts when the final film ends. Meet the filmmakers before they receive their awards.

“The Room” at 14th Star Brewing Co.
TBD: Begins immediately after the film premiere.

October 29th

Second Screening

Couldn’t make it to opening night? Catch a second screening at a later date.

The Welden Theatre
Doors — 6:30pm
Films — 7:00pm