JDIFF is worth the investment

Had the pleasure of visiting the 2016 Julien Dubuque International Film Festival and was impressed with everything they brought to the table. While Dubuque may not feel like a big festival destination, they deliver with the same quality as some of the big boys. Attendance is still in the growth process, but from what I've heard, every year has seen more people coming to catch films here. There are multiple venues in the downtown area - ranging from a gorgeous restored movie house to art museums to local businesses with spacious screening areas. With one exception (the art-house venue) all of the venues are in the downtown area and within walking distance from the festival HQ. The projection quality varies from venue to venue, but is generally high quality. The film curation is reasonably strong, with a nice mix of festival players. The documentaries stood out the strongest of the films that I saw. A mix of workshops and special events (screening of The Lost World w/live score) also helped make the schedule pop. The big news is the overall value for the money. JDIFF passes out $40K worth of prizes to the top films. $10k to Best Feature and Best Documentary, and a host of smaller sums for at least a half-dozen other awards. For filmmakers looking to bring something home to help pay production costs, JDIFF offers a possible great return on your submission investment. The filmmakers lounge in the Festival HQ hotel (Hotel Julien) is top notch with a large chill space with a nice breakfast/lunch/dinner buffet and opportunities to meet with local media. Lodging options are also uniformly good, with the top being the Hotel Julien. They had a great kick-off to the festival (at a nearby casino) and parties every night to keep people networking. Definitely looking forward to returning to this emerging festival.