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Rules & Requirements


Timeframe: The Trick-or-Treat Filmmaking time starts at the Kick-Off Party Event on October 4, 2023, at 7 PM EST and ends at the submission deadline of October 23, 2023, at 10 AM EST. Participating teams must complete their film and have it uploaded along with all required release forms by 10:00 A.M. EST on October 23, 2023, to be eligible for the public screening and awards ceremony. 

Team Members: Participation in a film team is open to anyone, and you can join one or multiple teams for the one-time fee of $13.13. This is a flat fee regardless of how many teams you decide to participate on.

Participation Fee: The fee for team members, regardless of their role (actor, writer, camera person, editor, assistant, etc.), is $13.13 per person.

Adding Late Members: If you wish to add more team members, you can do so at any time. Simply have them complete the payment and registration process here!

Film Length: Film submissions should not exceed five (5) minutes in duration, with an additional allowance of up to fifteen (15) seconds dedicated exclusively to the required ending credits. Therefore, the total length of submitted files should not exceed 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Submit films here *

Credits: Opening credits are part of the film’s 5-minute duration. Your required ending credits may be up to fifteen (15) seconds in length and MUST list every cast & crew member.

Film Requirements:

  • Length: 5 minutes (this does not include end credits)
  • Mandatory End Credits: Up to 15 additional seconds of ending credits that MUST list every cast & crew member
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Sound: Stereo
  • Aspect Ratio: 16.9 (preferred)
  • File Types Accepted: MP4 or MOV
  • File Label: TeamName_FilmName
  • Release: Each team member must sign a release form

Film Rating
We uphold the principle of creative freedom and do not impose censorship on films, thereby encouraging filmmakers to freely express their artistic vision through their storytelling. Submissions may include nudity, adult language, depictions of violence, or sexual content, within the bounds of legality. However, it is essential to clarify that we strictly prohibit any actions that harm individuals, animals, or property during the filmmaking process. Any substantiated instances of such harm will lead to the immediate disqualification and banning of the film in question, with potential legal consequences if deemed necessary.

Censorship: At the Trick-or-Treat Film Fest, we hold art in high regard, respecting the creative visions of our talented filmmakers. We welcome all souls to attend our public or virtual screening, as we do not believe in censorship. However, it’s important to recognize that our festival embraces the darker realms of horror, and as such, we do not classify it as “family/kid-friendly.” It is highly likely that some of the films showcased may contain adult language, nudity, depictions of violence, or explicit content. In consideration of this, we kindly request that you exercise discretion when deciding who should accompany you to our event. We understand that some minds may not be prepared for such material, and we advise against bringing children or anyone who may not be mature enough to handle these types of films. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to sharing a spine-tingling cinematic experience with you!

Creative Process: All creative work, such as scriptwriting, casting, and shooting, must occur during the Official Time Period. The only exceptions are organizing the crew, securing equipment, scouting locations, and preparing.

Footage: Every frame of the film must be shot or created during the Official Time Period (Kick-Off Party Event until film submission deadline). Supporting footage shot before this period may be used alongside core footage. Still photos are allowed as core footage, and you must have rights to all footage or photos used.

Required Cauldron Elements: Each team will be assigned four (4) required elements at kick-off that must be used in their film, including:

  1. sub-genre of horror film
  2. conflict (inciting incident)
  3. weapon (to be used to eliminate one character)
  4. location (to be seen at least once)

The Trick-or-Treat Film Festival is dedicated to ensuring that every filmmaker’s journey is not only exciting but also highly successful. In addition to providing unwavering support, we offer filmmaking teams a wealth of valuable resources, including expert tips, instructional videos, and recommendations for additional skilled team members such as makeup artists, actors, and production assistants. Additionally, we offer complimentary access to a range of versatile locations at our Jacksonville studio. These locations include exterior office building, interior offices, a living room, two outdoor spaces, a parking lot, lobby, and a movie room; all of which can be utilized as-is or easily transformed into unique sets. We’re here to help you make your creative vision a reality!

Participant Etiquette: Throughout the Trick-or-Treat Film Festival, we expect all team members to maintain the utmost professionalism and respect towards one another, as well as all participants and attendees of the screening, awards ceremony, and after-party. We believe in fostering a creative environment where collaboration and cooperation are essential, and every voice is valued. This includes treating all individuals with kindness, patience, and consideration. We encourage open communication, active listening, and constructive feedback among team members to ensure a positive and productive filmmaking experience. Furthermore, we extend these principles to our screening event, where we anticipate a respectful and engaging atmosphere for everyone. In upholding these standards, we aim to create a community of filmmakers who are passionate about their craft and dedicated to promoting a welcoming and inclusive environment. Your commitment to professionalism and respect is highly appreciated and vital to the success of our festival. Those that do not adhere to our rules for participant etiquette will be immediately disqualified.

Volunteers: All cast and crew must be volunteers.

Safety: Safety is of utmost importance in our festival. Films that involve harm to any person or animal or the destruction of private property will result in immediate disqualification.

Cameras: Any video, film, or cell phone camera is permitted.

Music Rights: Film groups are kindly reminded to ensure the appropriate rights for the music and sound effects used in their productions. These rights should either be owned, permission granted, or purchased from reputable sources like Audio Jungle, Purple Planet, Epidemic Sound, among others. We appreciate your cooperation in maintaining the highest standards for our festival. If you have any questions or require guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your professionalism and commitment to filmmaking excellence.

Submission Requirements: Films must conform to submission requirements and be viewable on Festival equipment. All team members regardless of whether they were a part of talent or crew MUST sign a release form. All films are due by Monday, October 23, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. EST and MUST be uploaded on the upload film page of this website.

JudgesThe cornerstone of the Trick-or-Treat Film Festival’s success is undeniably rooted in the presence of distinguished judges. The significance of their role cannot be overstated, as they bring a rich tapestry of experience and expertise to the judging panel by providing fair evaluation, quality selection, educational value, transparency, and building audience trust.

  • Fair Evaluation: Ensure impartial judging
  • A+ Assessment: The know-how to select top-notch work
  • Educational Aid: Their insights aid filmmakers’ growth
  • Transparency: Judges uphold fairness in selections
  • Audience Trust: Viewer confidence because selections aren’t biased or nepotistic
Their involvement is instrumental in establishing trust and credibility, and their discerning eyes help us select the most exceptional and spine-tingling works. See our judging panel here!
Awards: Awards at the Trick-or-Treat Film Festival are determined by a panel of nine (9) seasoned judges, each evaluating entries within their respective categories based on their extensive expertise. To be considered for any of our prestigious awards, which include “The Hootie” for Best Film and the coveted Audience Choice Award, your film must be submitted by the deadline of October 23rd at 10 A.M. EST. Please note that late submissions will not undergo screening or be presented for consideration to our judges or the audience for awards. We appreciate your commitment to our festival and look forward to your submissions!

Eligibility: Entries must be original, suitable for publication, and not infringe on third-party rights or laws.

No Pre-Screening Distribution: Entries should only be distributed after the official Trick-or-Treat Film Festival premiere screening.

Official Film Entry: Films must follow all rules to be certified as Official Film Entries.

Entries Not Returned: No entries or documents will be returned.

Disqualification: Inappropriate or non-compliant entries may be disqualified.

These rules and requirements ensure fair competition and eligibility in the Trick-or-Treat Film Festival.