The Traverse City Film Festival and its 14-year sponsor FIM Group invite submissions to the ninth annual TCFF Bumper Contest for a chance to win cash prizes, including a Grand Prize of $1,000. (Bumpers are short films that play before feature films.)

A wonderful opportunity for aspiring and enthusiastic filmmakers looking to strut their stuff, bumpers are 20 to 60 second short films designed to play before festival feature presentations. The top bumpers submitted to the contest will be shown on screen during the 14th Annual Traverse City Film Festival and the very best will be eligible for cash prizes, including the $1,000 Grand Prize.

Sponsored by:

Some tips:

While submissions are not limited to specific themes, this year the festival is particularly interested in:

  • The power of movies
  • The festival attendee experience
  • What’s special about the TCFF

For filmmakers wanting to improve their odds, the festival offers these tips for standing out, based on past winners:

  • Tell a story.  Narratives are usually more engaging than artistic shots or promotional ideas alone.
  • Humor, animation, and parodies of famous films have all been especially successful.
  • Production values count! Make sure your great idea can be seen and heard.

The film festival audience is diverse, so humor and references should be accessible. Keep the pacing fast and tight, and pay careful attention to lighting and sound clarity. And of course, have fun and entertain us! Watch 2017201620152014, and 2013‘s winning trailers.

Submissions should meet the following criteria:

  • Themed around a topic of your choice appropriate to pre-TCFF movie screening
  • Length of 20 to 60 seconds
  • Submitted via online link or physical drive
  • Above-average production values

Ways to Submit:

  • Email a link to the film to
  • Include the film’s title, your name, and how best to reach you

Winners will be contacted after the jury makes their decisions, and will be announced in late July.

The Traverse City Film Festival may request changes by entrants to chosen bumpers before their final approval.

The festival is looking for creative and fun pieces that capture the spirit of both the festival and Traverse City — it’s beauty and movie savvy. Let your imagination run wild.

The fine print:

All trailers must be in English or contain English subtitles.

TCFF reserves the right to reject any trailer, in its sole and absolute discretion.

Please note that if your trailer is selected, you will be required to provide us with a digital file copy of your trailer in a minimum of 720p high definition television (1280×720) format. You may also be required to provide us with Clearance Paperwork for your trailer in forms acceptable to TCFF in order to be declared a winner.

An eligible minor (as applicable in states where the age of majority is older than 18) should have his/her parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to submit a trailer. The contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws.

You (or, if an eligible minor, your parent or legal guardian) understand and agree that no confidential or fiduciary relationship is established by your submitting a trailer to us hereunder.

Discharge/Payment of Obligations: By submitting your film, you (or, if an eligible minor, your parent or legal guardian) represent(s) and warrant(s) that you have discharged or paid (or will discharge or pay) all of the following: (i) Copyright: All claims and rights of the copyright holders, if any, in literary, dramatic, musical or other material, including stories, plays, scripts, scenarios, themes, incidents, plots, photos, clips, characteristics, dialogue, music, words appearing, used or recorded in your film; (ii) Contracts: All obligations, of any kind, including, without limitation, those with artists and personnel, relating to purchases, licenses, laboratory contracts, distribution, exhibition, performance or use of your film; and (iii) Guild/Union/Performing Rights Society/Participation Payments: Any payments required to be made by any performing rights society or to any body or group representing authors, composers, musicians, artists, and other participants in the production of your film, publishers or other persons having legal or contractual rights of any kind to participate in the receipts of your film or to payments of any kind as a result of the distribution or exhibition of your film and any taxes thereon or on the payment thereof.

Additional Representations: You (or, if an eligible minor, your parent or legal guardian) warrant and represent that (a) you are the sole and exclusive owner of the film and all rights therein; (b) you have the full and exclusive right, power and authority to submit the film and to grant us the rights to the film herein granted upon the terms and conditions set forth herein; (c) no part of the film has been published; (d) no rights in the film have been previously granted to any person, firm, corporation or other entity or otherwise exercised or made use of or encumbered in any way; (e) your film does not defame or invade publicity rights or privacy of any person, living or deceased, or otherwise infringe upon any person’s personal or property rights or any other third party rights; and (f) if any film contains persons other than yourself or third party elements not owned by you, that you have obtained express written consent to submit such film and, if requested to do so, can produce such written consent in a form and manner acceptable to us.

Conditions of TCFF Use of Film: If your film is selected by us to be used in any way by TCFF, we will contact you by email, telephone and/or mail and you will be required to execute and return an affidavit of eligibility, liability/publicity release as well as a fully-executed release in a form and manner acceptable to TCFF for each (i) person other than yourself who appears in your short film and/or (ii) owner of any third party element not owned by you appearing in your short film. Failure to return any of these documents within the time period specified by us, the return of any notification as undeliverable, or your noncompliance with these Terms and Conditions will result in the disqualification of your film. If you are an eligible minor, your parent or legal guardian will be required to fulfill all obligations imposed on you set forth herein.

About FIM Group

FIM Group has been assisting clients in achieving financial success for more than 25 years. As a pioneer in the fee-only wealth advisory industry, FIM Group currently manages in excess of $500 million in client assets. With a team of more than 30 professionals dedicated to making the client experience as rewarding and fulfilling as possible, FIM Group is one of the largest independent investment managers in Northern Michigan. Additional information is available at