53rd Annual

Chicago International Film Festival

October 11, 2018 to October 25, 2018

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212 W. Van Buren St.
Ste. 400
Chicago IL 60607
Phone: 312.683.0121
Fax: 312.683.0122

DECISIONS ALREADY MADE • This event has already made decisions and notified submitters for the current cycle. Submissions are no longer being accepted.

Feature Length Narratives
Feature Length Documentaries
Short Subjects (Under 40 min)


An annual, not for profit, competitive film festival organized to encourage better understanding between people and to make a positive contribution to the art of the moving image.


Films are programmed for public screening in a diverse selection of competitive and non-competitive categories. Each film is presented in one or more of the following sections and is placed at the discretion of the Programming Committee.

International Feature Film Competition
Representing a wide variety of styles and genres, these works compete for the top honor, the Gold Hugo - as well as awards for best actor, actress, director, writer, and more - in North America's longest-running competitive film festival.

New Directors Competition
This selection of first and second feature films, receiving their U.S. premiere in Chicago, celebrates the spirit of discovery and innovation upon which the Festival was founded. To be eligible for the competition, films may not have U.S. distribution and must be at least a U.S. premiere if selected for the Festival.

Global in scope and representing a wide range of approaches to documentary form, this program offers a diverse cross-section of contemporary non-fiction filmmaking in both competitive and non-competitive sections. To be eligible for the International Documentary Competition, films must be at least a U.S. premiere if selected for the Festival.

Short Film Competition
Annually showcasing the best short films from around the globe, this competition highlights the work of both upcoming artists and masters of the short subject form. Programmed films are eligible for awards in the following categories: Animation, Documentary, and Live Action. The winners of the Best Live Action and Best Documentary Short awards are eligible to be considered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Academy Awards®.

Out-Look Competition
From the edgy to the tender, these bold LGBTQ-themed films exhibit new artistic perspectives on sexuality and identity, and compete for the Q Hugo Award.

City & State
This program celebrates Illinois’ rich filmmaking tradition, showcasing the best features, documentaries, and short films with their roots right here in Illinois. Films in this section compete for the Chicago Award, given to the year’s best Illinois film.

After Dark
Gathering genre films from horror and thrillers to edgy animation and dark comedies, this showcase of future cult classics and midnight favorites offers an exciting mix of late-night fare.

Black Perspectives
Now in its 21st year, this program showcases films that celebrate the richness of African American filmmaking and the diversity of black cultures around the world and the filmmakers behind them.


Michael Kutza; Mimi Plauche; Rebecca Fons; Sam Flancher (Competitions Coordinator); Vivian Teng


A) Eligibility Requirements

1. Films completed on or after September 1, 2016 are eligible.

2. Films previously submitted to the Chicago International Film
Festival are NOT eligible.

3. US premieres are given priority, but films must be at least a
Chicago premiere. Films that (a) have screened publicly in the Chicago area, (b) have had a theatrical run in the US prior to the Festival dates, (c) have aired on US television prior to the Festival dates, or (d) are available for purchase in North America are NOT eligible.

4. Feature-length films (narrative or documentary) that are available for public online viewing in their entirety are NOT eligible. Short films (under 40 min) may be available online.

5. Films shown at private screenings not open to the public (for crew, investors, etc.) are eligible.

6. All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English.
Dialogue lists are not accepted.

7. Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit
the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.

B) Submission Guidelines

1. Feature-length films must be submitted via online screener hosted by Vimeo, on DVD or on Blu-ray disc.

2. Only complete entries (including fee payment and screener) will be considered.

3. Entrants are permitted to submit works-in-progress (i.e., without final color correction or sound mixing), but please note that the programming committee will only consider the version submitted. Subsequent cuts or replacement copies will only be accepted at the request of the programming committee.

4. To qualify for student entry fee rates, entrant must include proof of student status at the time of production (e.g., copy of student ID, transcript, etc.)

5. The following exhibition formats are eligible for Festival screening:
35mm, DCP, and HDCAM.

C) Deadlines

*Early deadline *entries must be postmarked by *April 7, 2017*.
*Regular deadline* entries must be postmarked by *June 16, 2017*.
*Late deadline entries *must be postmarked by *July 7, 2017*.

D) Shipping

The cost of shipping an entry to the Festival must be paid by the entrant.
Collect or COD shipments will not be accepted. All international entries must be sent “free domicile” to the Festival office with all transportation charges, duties, and taxes prepaid by the shipper. For films selected to screen at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival, the Festival will only cover one-way shipping costs for the public screening hard drive or DCP.

E) Judging & Selection

Films are selected for Festival presentation by the Chicago International Film Festival programming committee. If a film is selected, the Festival office will contact the entrant by phone or email.

All entrants will be notified on or before September 9, 2017.

Films selected for the International Feature, Documentary, New Directors, and Out-Look Competitions are judged during the Festival. All other competitive film categories, including the Chicago Award and Short Film Competition, are judged before the Festival.

F) Entry Fees

Each entry must be accompanied by the appropriate entry fee. Fees cover registration, notification, full consideration by the programming department, and notification of the results. These fees may be paid by check or money order, made payable to Cinema/Chicago, or by credit card (VISA, MasterCard, or American Express)


I hereby state that I am authorized to submit this production to the Chicago International Film Festival, and that I have read and accept the Festival’s regulations.