Zombiepalooza is The Cary’s annual ZOMBIE SHORT FILM competition that takes place every October in downtown Cary, NC. Submissions are only open to North Carolina filmmakers and residents.

Short films (< 5 min.) must be zombie-themed and family-friendly (no excessive violence or language) as they will be screened to an all-ages audience. They also must include creative use of this year’s prop (candy corn). See more details below!

Filmmakers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to submit their short film for consideration via FilmFreeway starting Friday, Sep. 1, 2024. The final deadline to submit is Sep. 30, 2024.

Zombiepalooza will take place Oct. 25 at the Downtown Cary Park’s Great Lawn & Pavilion. In the event of inclimate weather, the festivities will move indoors to The Cary Theater.



Attendees are encouraged to dress in their favorite costumes for Cary’s favorite night of cosplay. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes after the film screenings. Zombiepalooza is free to attend.

Film Freeway submission


Film Submissions

Individuals and groups are encouraged to shoot and submit a 1-minute to 5-minute zombie film for judging. Submissions are due by Sep. 30, 2024. 

Hobbyists, professionals, and rookie filmmakers of all ages participate in this annual film festival, which takes place Oct. 25, 2024.

Short films must be 5 minutes or less and family-friendly (no excessive violence or language) since films will be screened outside to an all-ages crowd. They must include creative use of this year’s prop – candy corn – and they must have a zombie theme. General horror, thriller, or slasher films that DO NOT include a zombie theme, or films with excessive language or violence are ineligible and will be removed from consideration.

Filmmakers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to submit their short film for consideration starting Sep. 1, 2024, with the final deadline to submit Sep. 30, 2024.



Various rules apply to all film submissions

Fun: Do you feel like a you’ve been part of a zombie film over the past few years? We do, too! Zombiepalooza is a short film competition designed to be fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and yet have been impressed by the creativity of filmmakers over the past eight years.

Eligibility: Short films completed after January 1, 2024 are eligible for Zombiepalooza 2024. Only short films 5 minutes or less from North Carolina residents will be considered. The submission window is Sep. 1 through Sep. 30, 2024.

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.

Premieres: 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 early October 2024.


Read our summary of terms and conditions. >>

(We promise, they’re not daunting.


Zombieland Rule #16:

Opportunity Knocks – And whenever it does, make sure you answer

We know that there are many zombie aficionados out there. Our festival is an annual celebration of the genre. This is your opportunity to get creative and tell your own zombie story. Films should be from 1 to 5 minutes in length. You can make this film on any type of video camera, including your phone.

Films are not rated. Viewer discretion is advised. 


Festival Favorites in 2023


Best Zombie Short

Dead Delivery by Jordan Pollard

People’s Choice winner

The Cupcake Killer by Kyle Jones

Festival Favorites in 2022


Best U.S. Zombie Short

Zombie Assassins by Eric F. Ayscue

Best International Zombie Short

Floor 43 by Sophya Kebets

People’s Choice winner

Kinemortophobia! by Izzy Chaves



First Place

Extraction by Stephaun Perry


Second Place

Septic by Vincent Dormani


People’s Choice

Zom-Bodies Home by Korey Merritt


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