Zombiepalooza 2023 Call For Submissions

Organize Before They Rise!

The Cary Theater is accepting submissions for Zombiepalooza, the 8th annual zombie short film competition that takes place October 20, 2023, in downtown Cary, N.C.

Short films submissions are open to North Carolina filmmakers and residents.  Films must be 5 minutes or less in length, and family friendly (films will be screened to an all-ages crowd). They must be zombie themed and also include creative use of this year’s prop — a birthday hat.

Filmmakers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to submit their short film for consideration. Submissions open September 1, 2023 with the deadline to submit is October 6, 2023.

General horror, thriller, or slasher films that DO NOT include a zombie theme or films with excessive language or violence will not be considered. Prizes will be awarded for “Best Short Film” and “Audience Award” winners.

Stay tuned for updates on our website, and follow The Cary Theater on Facebook, @CaryTheater on Twitter, and @thecarytheater on Instagram, and join the conversation by using #Zombiepalooza2023.



In order for your film to be eligible for Zombiepalooza 2023, your film:

  1. Must be made by a North Carolina resident and completed after January 1, 2023.
  2. Must be 5 minutes or less with a zombie theme.
  3. Must be “family friendly.” Films will play outside to an all ages crowd. The use of excessive language or violence will make your film ineligible and removed from consideration.
  4. Must include the use of this year’s prop – A Birthday Hat.
  5. Must be submitted by the deadline, October 6, 2023.


Clearances & Permissions

All entrants under age 18 require a parent or guardian’s signature to participate. The submitted film must be your original creative work, and you hearby warrant and represent that you are the sole and exclusive owner of all rights, titles, and interest in and to the submitted film and/or have obtained prior written authorization or license to submit the film from any and all third party rights holders therein.



Zombiepalooza does have a premiere requirement. Films that have been screened prior to this event are ineligible.


Notification & Feedback

All films will be notified of their status in October 2023. If your contact information or premiere status changes between submission entry and our notification date, please update your information in FilmFreeway and email changes to The Cary Theater. The Cary Theater does not provide feedback on submitted films.


Terms & Conditions

By agreeing to the terms and conditions on the entry form for Zombiepalooza, the applicant submitting an entry (short film) acknowledges that he/she/they has read and agreed to the following rules and guidelines:

  1. Authorization – The applicant is legally authorized to enter the short film in Zombiepalooza, and the short film is not subject to any claims or litigation and is not threatened by any claims or litigation.
  2. Eligibility – Short films (5 minutes or less) completed after January 1, 2023 are eligible for Zombiepalooza 2023. Only films that include the use of a birthday hat in the final edit will be considered. The deadline to submit is October 6, 2023.
  3. Entry – The Cary Theater can only accept, consider, and notify entries submitted with valid entry form. To be considered, Applicants must fill out the entry form on FilmFreeway and submit a secure online screener.
  4. Minors – Applicants under the age of 18 must obtain a parent or legal guardian’s signature to participate in the competition.
  5. Screening Fees – The Cary Theater does not pay screening fees for short films in competition.
  6. Status – To verify The Cary Theater has received your entry, please check your film’s status in FilmFreeway before emailing us with further questions.
  7. Notification – All films will be notified of their status in October. If your contact information or premiere status changes between submission entry and our notification date, please update your information in FilmFreeway and email changes to The Cary Theater.
  8. Entry Materials – Entry materials cannot be returned.
  9. Rights & Clearances – It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to obtain all rights, licenses, or necessary permissions thereto: to the fullest extent permitted by Laws and Regulations. The applicant shall indemnify and hold harmless the Town of Cary, its officers, and employees, from and against all claims, costs, civil penalties, fines, losses, and damages (including but not limited to professionals’ fees and charges and all court or other dispute resolution costs), by whomsoever brought or alleged, arising out of, resulting from, or in connection with:
    a.) Any break by the Applicant of any term or condition or Contract,
    b.) Any breach or violation by Applicant of any applicable Law or Regulation,
    c.) Any other cause resulting from any act or failure to act by Applicant under this Contract, but only to the extent cause by any negligence or omission of the Applicant.
    d.) This indemnification shall survive the termination of Contract.
  10. Acceptance –If your short film is selected to screen at Zombiepalooza, the Applicant hereby agrees to the following rights and requests and grants to The Cary Theater without reservation, conditions, or qualifications:
    a.) The Cary Theater reserves the right to screen an exhibition-quality digital file of the short film (accepted formats: .mp4, .mov, Pro-res) during Zombiepalooza.
    b.) The Cary Theater reserves the right to coordinate ALL publicity and press outreach concerning the short film’s presentation at Zombiepalooza, including but not limited to:
    –i. The right to use excerpted clips, still images and/or titles, and information from or relating to the short film for promotional purposes in all media including The Cary Theater and Zombiepalooza website.
    –ii. The right to issue and authorize publicity concerning the filmmakers and the short film and to use all associated names, likenesses, and biographical information.
    c.) The Cary Theater reserves the right to disqualify any entry which is in violation of the guidelines and participation agreement.



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