18th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival

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CUFF logo18th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival
June 2011 at the Gene Siskel Film Center
Call For Entries

Early Deadline December 1 2010 - (Entry Fee Features $40, Shorts $30)
Regular Deadline February 1 2011 - (Entry Fee Features $50, Shorts $40)
Late Deadline March 15 2011 - (Entry Fee Features $55, Shorts $45)

The Chicago Underground Film Festival exists to showcase the defiantly independent filmmaker. Our mission is to promote films and videos that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the "indie" mainstream and to present adventurous works that challenge and transcend commercial and audience expectations...if you suspect your film is "underground," it probably is.

Submission Guidelines

A completed entry form and an entry fee must accompany each film or video submitted. Entries must be submitted on 1/2" (standard VHS in either NTSC or PAL/SECAM formats) videocassette or NTSC DVD or Blu-Ray Disc. Foreign language work must be dubbed or subtitled in English.
Please, do not send elaborate presentation materials, press kits, binders, etc. with your entry. All that is necessary to send is a clearly identified DVD and, if you like, a synopsis or contextual statement about your work. These are the only items that the programmers will see when they evaluate your submission. We don't want you to pay for unnecessary materials, and they generate lots of waste.
If your film is selected for the festival we will contact you about images and press kits. or better yet: put these materials online and type the URL into your entry form.

Entry Fees

Entry fees must be in U.S. funds only. Checks or money orders should be made out to IFP Chicago (DO NOT make checks out to Chicago Underground Film Festival .

Educational Discount

A school may send a bundle of ten or more entries by multiple entrants (students and/or faculty) for $10 per entry-that is $10 per film, not per entrant. All entries must be sent together and paid for with a single check or money order.
Entry Fees are not required from filmmakers who have screened at CUFF in the past. If you are working in a part of the world where an entry fee would prohibit you from submitting your film, contact us at [email protected] to request a fee waiver.


Cost of shipping exhibition prints to the festival is the responsibility of the entrant. Exhibition copies must be sent to the festival prepaid. All film reels, cans, videotapes and cases must be labeled with the title of the entry. The festival will cover return shipping via FedEx or US Mail. The entrant or the recipient must pay additional charges for express shipping or transshipments to foreign film festivals. The festival cannot accept responsibility for damage or loss of materials while in transit. Please use only plastic or bubble pack envelopes when shipping entries.


Mail entries to:
Chicago Underground Film Festival
c/o IFP Chicago
PO Box 3065
Chicago, IL 60654


The festival selection committee makes all programming decisions. If accepted we will notify filmmakers by email and phone. Films not selected will receive notification by email. If accepted, the print of your film, or presentation video (DVCam or Mini-DV), will need to be in our office by June 1, 2011.Be sure to indicate aspect ratio of your film/video as well as any other special screening/presentation information we might need to know.


Please select only ONE category for your entry when completing your entry form. For our purposes 'feature' refers to films 60 minutes and over. 'Experimental’ refers exclusively for non-narrative, non-documentary works. We reserve the right to re-categorize submissions as we deem appropriate.


Although the art of filmmaking is not competitive, The Chicago Underground Film Festival does give awards. The festival jury will present awards to films and videos selected as best in these categories: Narrative Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Experimental, Animation, Music Video and "Made in Chicago". An Audience Choice award will also be presented.

Return Of Submission Tapes

Due to the large number of entries received submission materials and videos will not be returned.

How To Contact Us

For more information email us at info at cuff.org or call 312-506-4699

Download Entry Form