51st Annual

Chicago International Film Festival

October 15, 2015 to October 29, 2015

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30 E. Adams St.
Ste. 800
Chicago IL 60603-5628
Phone: 312.683.0121
Fax: 312.683.0122

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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.


Across countries, languages and classes, film has the power to provide us with a release, an escape, a window into new worlds and new possibilities. In 2014, we presented 125 feature films, including 20 feature-length documentaries, and 50 short subject films from more than 55 countries. Many of these films participated in competitive sections, where the highest honor is the Gold Hugo - a standard of excellence in the world of film and a true symbol of discovery.

When we started the Chicago International Film Festival 51 years ago, we had one simple goal: to introduce Chicago and the world to new filmmakers, new stories and new points of view. We've shown first feature films by world-renowned directors like Martin Scorsese (USA), Peter Weir (Australia), Mike Leigh (UK), Gregory Nava (USA), Bertrand Tavernier (France), Jan Troell (Sweden), Tsai Ming-liang (Taiwan), Joe Swanberg (USA), and Wim Wenders (Germany). Last year I'm proud to say we stuck to that mission more than ever by showing over 40 films by first-time filmmakers. It's important to us that we're always learning, always seeing the world in a new way.

For our 51st year, we want to discover something new, and that all starts with you, the filmmaker.

Show us something new, share your stories with us.

Michael Kutza
Founder and Artistic Director


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 a U.S. premiere if selected for the Festival.

International 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 competition, films may not have U.S. distribution and must be 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. The winners of the Best Short Film and Best Documentary Short awards are eligible to be considered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Academy Awards®.

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.

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.

World Cinema
A mix of classic narratives and cutting edge forms, this program offers a snapshot of the contemporary cinematic landscape. Serving up the sights, sounds and stories from cultures around the globe, this section presents the latest from established masters, festival award winners, box-office hits, and hidden gems.

Black Perspectives
Now in its 19th year, this program showcases films that celebrate the richness and diversity of black cultures around the world and the filmmakers behind them.

Cinema of the Americas
With films from Cuba and Colombia to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, this program spotlights the fresh and vibrant work of emerging and veteran filmmakers from South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

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 statewide film.

Make ‘em Laugh
Bawdy, black, sarcastic and slapstick, humor comes in all shapes and sizes. This section highlights the comedic side of international and independent cinema.


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


A) Eligibility Requirements
1. Films completed on or after September 1, 2014 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 on DVD or Blu-ray disc. Short films may be submitted on DVD, Blu-ray disc, or via a Vimeo, YouTube, or other online video link by emailing entries@chicagofilmfestival.com.
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 3, 2015. Regular deadline entries must be postmarked by June 19, 2015. Late deadline entries must be postmarked by July 6, 2015.

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 51st Chicago International Film Festival, the Festival will only cover one-way shipping costs for the public screening film print, tape, or hard drive.

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 4, 2015.

Films selected for the International Feature, Docufest, 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. Entry fees are not refundable. Fees cover registration, notification that your entry has been received, and notification of 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.