American Midwest 2019

This call for submissions closed on January 21, 2019. 

In partnership with the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFFfive projects focused on the American Midwest were selected to present at the IF/Then Shorts pitch competition at CIFF on April 7, 2019.

The winner was selected by a professional jury consisting of:

Mridu Chandra, TFI
Donna Dabbs, Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival
Ellen Robinson, Gravitas Ventures
Lucas Harger, Bruton/Stroube
Alexis McCrimmon, Independent Filmmaker

The jury chose "The Session", directed by Chris Webb and Conrad Miles as the competition winner to receive $25,000 in project funding and the opportunity to participate in TFI’s IF/Then Shorts Program, which provides year-round mentorship and career development opportunities.


Bruton Stroube is a proud partner of Tribeca Film Institute and will provide a Festival Finishing Package for this year's IF/Then Shorts American Midwest pitch competition winner at CIFF. The short film package is comprised of picture, sound, and deliverables from their award-winning talent. 

The winner was selected from the following five projects:


    Director: Chris Webb
    Co-Director: Conrad Miles
    Location: Ohio 
  • 360 NATION
    Director: Cai Thomas
    Consulting Producer: Yvonne Welbon
    Location: Illinois
  • BREWER (working title)
    Director/Producer: Erika Valenciana
    Producer: Anuradha Rana
    Location: Minnesota
    Director: Carl Kriss
    Producer: Margie Glick
    Location: Ohio
    Writer/Director/Producer: Kati Rehbeck
    Director/Editor/DP: Robert Orlowski
    Location: Wisconsin

Please see our blog for more information about these selected projects, and our CIFF Pitch Page for more information about the event.


  • Online registration opens: November 13, 2018
  • Project application deadline: January 21, 2019
  • Notification of project selection: late February, 2019
  • IF/Then pitch competition in Cleveland: April 7, 2019 
    • 11 AM - 1 PM: IF/Then Shorts Pitch at the Ritz Carlton, Cleveland. This event is FREE and open to the public. 
    • 9 PM - 1 AM CIFF Closing Night Reception & IF/Then Shorts Pitch Winner Announcement at the Tower City Center (near The Fountain). 


All stories and storytellers coming from the American Midwest. These 12 states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. (Note: It is NOT a requirement that the filmmaker resides in one of these states. We are primarily seeking stories about the American Midwest.)

Projects must be completed within 6 months of receiving funding, be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be presented in English or subtitled in English.

Please make sure your project fits our general eligibility requirements presented on our Pitches & Eligibility page.