Grindhouse Film Festival

Welcome to the grindhouse! The Grand Rapids Comic-Con will be hosting a thrilling horror/sci-fi shorts film festival

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con is pleased to be hosting a showcase of student and independent grindhouse film shorts at the event on Friday evening, November 12. This festival will be part of the show and no additional tickets or expenses will be expected of fans to attend the event.

Friday, November 11


Grand Gallery E-F

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con Grindhouse Film Festival exists to support independent filmmakers, particularly those who have made short films for audiences who love science fiction, fantasy, action, comedy, animation, superheroes, and other nerd-oriented genres.

The Grindhouse Film Festival is one of many events at the Grand Rapids Comic-Con, which takes place annually in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Con is a family-friendly event, which emphasizes the culture of nerds, geeks, and comic book enthusiasts. That being said, this film festival will have more of a R-rated slant and nobody will be allowed to enter this film festival that is under the age of 17 unless they are accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.


Vlog #1

Psychedelic Slaughter

Birthday Boy

Carpool Lane

Graphic Violence

Awards and Prizes

Each award-winning film will receive a plaque and a monetary prize.
Best Live Action Short: $300 (US)
Best Animated Short: $300 (US)
Best Grindhouse Short: $300 (US)
Audience Choice Award: $100 (US)

Rules and Terms

1. The seventh annual Grand Rapids Comic-Con takes place November 13-15, 2020. The Film Festivals will take place on Friday & Saturday, November 13-15, 2020. Filmmakers whose films are accepted into the festivals will receive two complementary passes for the day of the festival screening.
2. Online screeners are required for qualification. Films that are selected for screening will need to submit a high definition digital exhibition copy in either MP4 or MOV format.
3. In the Live Action and Animation categories, content must be appropriate for a family audience. We will accept submissions meriting the equivalent of a G, PG, or PG-13 rating. Films with excessive or strong profanity (including any use of the f-word), graphic violence, or graphic sexual content will not be considered for these categories. Films that contain more adult content meriting the equivalent of an R rating may be submitted to our Grindhouse category.
4. Submitted films may be in any genre, but preference will be given to films that appeal to the comic con audience, such as science fiction, fantasy, action, comedy, and animation.
5. For the Live Action and Animation categories, films must not exceed 25 minutes in length, including all titles and credits. For the Grindhouse category, films must not exceed 30 minutes.
6. Films’ dialogue must be in English or must contain English subtitles.
7. Films finished before January 2017 are not eligible.
8. Judges may reassign categories based on content at their discretion. Submitters are encouraged email the festival with any questions regarding categories and/or content.
9. All selection and prize decisions are final.
10. Regarding COVID-19: Should the Festivals be delayed or postponed due to the pandemic, your entry will be carried over for consideration during the next available show.

Terms & Conditions:
By submitting your film to the Grand Rapids Comic-Con Film Festival:
1. The submitter attests that all information all information submitted is true and accurate to the best of the submitter’s knowledge.
2. The submitter licenses the submitted film for public exhibition at the Grand Rapids Comic-Con and in related promotional materials.
3. The film submitted adheres to the general rules of the Grand Rapids Comic-Con Film Festival, which is a family-oriented event.


May 1, 2022: Opening Date

June 19, 2022: Earlybird Deadline

July 17, 2022: Regular Deadline

August 21, 2022: Late Deadline

September 18, 2022: Extended Deadline

October 16, 2022: Notification Date

November 11 – 13, 2022: Event Date

You May Submit Your Film By Clicking The FilmFreeway Logo Below

What Is Grindhouse?

The term “grindhouse” refers to a bygone era of movie theaters that mostly specialized in B-pictures of all kinds of “nerdy” genres (horror, sci-fi, superhero films, kung-fu/action, etc.) and foreign films long before these genres were mainstream. These theaters starting popping up in the late 1920’s in mostly closed Vaudevillian theaters in more undesirable downtown neighborhoods. When mainstream movie theaters began moving out to the suburbs in the 1950’s the now-irrelevent downtown palace-style theaters gravitated toward more grindhouse-style cinema in an effort to stay open.

The 2007 film Grindhouse was an homage to the grindhouse-style theaters of the past. Photo courtesy Dimension Pictures.

These were the kind of places where one would go see the following kinds of movies: the dubbed works of international film makers such as Akira Kurosawa and Federico Fellini; Godzilla and other giant monster films from Japan; low budget gumshoe detective stories and other film noir; blaxploitation movies like Dolemite and Black Belt Jones; Mexican superhero wrestling films featuring Santo; “spaghetti westerns” (American-style westerns made by Italian directors); early slasher flicks such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dementia 13; downright strange (by mainstream standard) productions such as Eraserhead and The Rocky Horror Picture Show; the numerous tough guy comedies featuring The Bowery Boys; early comic book-inspired fare such as Superman And The Mole-Men, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome, and Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze; and the controversial works of less conventional horror masters like Herschel Gordon Lewis, Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento.

“Poverty row” studios such as Monogram Pictures and American International Pictures as well as famed producers Roger Corman, William Castle, and Ed Wood made a living in keeping these theaters stocked with B-rated cinematic schlock to entertain the underground masses.

These theaters had a faithful, hardcore following that diminished in the 1980’s for several reasons. Science fiction and horror films started to enter the mainstream lexicon as well thanks to the success of films such as Jaws, Friday The 13th, and the Star Wars and Star Trek sagas which created a demand for these movies to be shown more in the suburban multiplexes and drive-in theaters. Video rental stores also developed around this time, which allowed these kind of movies to enter one’s home at a reasonable cost. Cable TV also filled late night slots with B-movie fare, and networks such as HBO and Cinemax brought the more risque titles into America’s living rooms. The need and demand for these theaters diminished over time until grindhouse theaters all but vanished by 1990.

Very few traditional “grindhouse” theaters exist today, mostly in large cities and centering attention on independent horror and sci-fi fare as well as foreign titles.

The Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids at one point was a “grindhouse” theater showing mostly foreign films in the 1960s until the late 70s. Their “Meanwhile Film Series” to an extent is a celebration of that unique aspect of their past.

The high budget “nerdy” cinema such as the DC and Marvel Universe films as well as the $200 million blockbusters that fill metroplexes weekly owe their existence to these old school theaters in more seedy neighborhoods that paved the way for the interest in giant monsters, zombies, psycho killers, outer space, and superheroes, and this shorts film festival is a celebration of that unique aspect of the history of the movies we love today.