Detroit Voices

Detroit Voices is a local short film competition that champions Michigan filmmakers by showcasing the talent and creative spirit of our state.

Submissions Open for

Detroit Voices 2020!

As the only submission-based program of Cinetopia, Detroit Voices provides local filmmakers with the opportunity to showcase their short films to a Michigan audience, compete for cash awards totaling $6,000, and participate in networking and educational opportunities leading up to and during the festival.

The competition is open to Michigan filmmakers of all ages.

Some of 2019’s Detroit Voices Filmmakers

Kennikki Jones-Jones, Director of Knock Knock

Atieno Nyar Kasagam, Director of Sidelots

Benjamin Armes, Director of a meteor crashes into earth after two guys running

Jon Braue, Director of The Pearson Twins

Toni Cunningham, Director of Good Grief

Elysia Vandenbussche, Director of Little Julio

Congratulations to the 2019 Winners!

Knight Foundation Award for Best Narrative Film

Femme Queen Chronicles

Ahya Simone

Knight Foundation Award for Best Documentary Film

Walking for Ded

Scott Boehm

Barb & Jeff Duncan Award


Atieno Nyar Kasagam

Audience Award

Knock Knock

Kennikki Jones-Jones

Past Finalists

Check out the winners and finalists from each year of Detroit Voices.

Detroit Voices & Related Programs are made possible by

Host Committee Members

Ruth Bardenstein & Jim Roll

Barb & Jeff Duncan

Detroit Voices Guidelines

Entry Rules

1.  Films must be made by Michigan Filmmakers.

2.  Films must either be shot in southeast Michigan OR feature a story about Michigan or Michigan characters.

3.  Films are not required to come exclusively from Detroit, though films from Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Macomb counties will be given priority.

4.  All submissions must only contain content owned by the submitting team.

5.  Films with unlicensed music or visuals cannot be played at the festival.

6.  Cinetopia reserves the right to use clips from the film and images submitted with the film for marketing and promotional purposes.

7.  The filmmaker or a representative for the filmmaking team must be in attendance at the festival to be considered for the awards.

8.  Detroit Voices is primarily a shorts program though feature films may be submitted and will be reviewed if time and resources allow. Feature films are not in competition for the prizes but could receive a screening honorarium if chosen.

9.  Films more than 30 minutes in length will not be considered for the shorts program.

10. Cinetopia reserves the right to reject any material that is discriminatory in nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the entry fee?
The entry fee is $40 for most entries and $25 for high school entries.
Can I send a copy of my film?

No, we cannot accept physical copies of your films.

If my film is selected for exhibition, what formats must my film be available in?
All feature films submitted must be available for exhibition in one of the following formats: DCP (preferably unencrypted) or as an approved ProRes digital file. The Cinetopia staff will format the films to fit these requirements.
How and when will I be notified if my film was accepted?
You will be notified by email whether your film has been selected for exhibition at Cinetopia International Film Festival. We will try to let you know as soon as possible whether your film made it or not, but please be patient as our selection process does take time.
Can I get feedback about my film?

Yes! Each Selection Committee member offers comments about every film they watch. If you would like to see your comments, please wait until after our festival ends (June 10, 2018) and contact our Detroit Voices Coordinator, Jamila Taylor, at detroitvoices@cinetopiafestival.org.

How do I know that you received my submission?

If submitting through Withoutabox, please check your account after submitting to make sure that your submission meets our requirements and has been accepted for consideration.

If your Withoutabox submission has a BLUE dot with a checkmark: We have received your online submission, your DVD or Blu-ray, and your submission has met all our requirements.

If your Withoutabox submission has a YELLOW dot: Your submission has only partially met our requirements and is considered an INCOMPLETE SUBMISSION. We may have received your online submission but no payment. Please contact our Detroit Voices Coordinator, Jamila Taylor, at detroitvoices@cinetopiafestival.org to see what is needed to move your submission into consideration.

If your Withoutabox submission has a RED circle: We have not successfully received your submission. If you submitted online and it’s been more than 10 days, please contact us.

Can I get the submission fee waived?

The Cinetopia International Film Festival is a program within the nonprofit Michigan Theater Foundation. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process assist in our operations. Entry fee payment is required; exceptions will NOT be made, so please, do not request a waiver.

What genres do you accept?
All genres! Narrative, Documentary, Animation, and even New Media content!

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