19th Chicago Underground Film Festival

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CUFF logoThe 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.

Founded in 1993, The Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) is a year-round organization dedicated to the work of film and video makers with defiantly independent visions. Unlike many other “independent” film events our goal is not to imitate old guard, market-driven events such as Sundance but Instead to focus on the artistc, aesthetic and fun side of independent filmmaking. CUFF promotes works that dissent radically in form, content and technique from both the tired conventions of Hollywood and the increasingly stagnant IndieWood mainstream.

- Early Deadline Nov 21, 2011 (Entry Fee Features $35, Shorts  $25)
- Regular Deadline Jan 15 2012 (Entry Fee Features $45, Shorts  $35, Student $15)
- Late Deadline March 1 2012 (Entry Fee Features $55, Shorts  $45, Student $20)

Submission guidelines
A completed entry form and an entry fee must accompany each film or video submitted.

Download entry form pdf
Submit using Withoutabox

Entries must be submitted 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 ).

Entry fee exceptions
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.

-Please do not use fiber envelopes. fiber can damage tapes and equipment!

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 will need to be in our office by May 15th, 2012.  .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 several awards to films and videos selected as best or most
interesting in whatever categories they see fit. Additionally “Made in Chicago” and Audience Choice awards 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 [email protected] or call 312-506-4699