27th Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Onion City is one of the premiere international festivals exclusively devoted to experimental film and video.

Onion City was founded in the 1980s by the Experimental Film Coalition and run by them for many years. Chicago Filmmakers assumed responsibility for the festival in 2001, and expanded the size and opened it up to video work as well as film. It is generally 8-10 programs over four days and features roughly 60-70 works from around the world. Aside from the competition programs, there are occasional special presentations of new or old films of note or guest presentations. Screenings take place at Chicago Filmmakers and other venues around mid-June.

Onion City will take place March 2016. The entry deadline is January 8, 2016.

Please read the festival regulations and entry procedures below. Contact Festival Director and Programmer Josh B Mabe at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.

Ways to Enter
Online entries are accepted via:



For mailed entries, please fill out the entry form completely, sign the form, and include a check.

For emailed entries, please fill out the entry form completely, sign the form (digitally or sign and scan), pay via paypal (using the paypal link button below), and email to: [email protected]




A separate entry form is required for each title.

In addition to your entry, please enclose a description or synopsis of your entry along with a short biography for the film/video maker(s). We strongly encourage you to include at least one high-res digital image (or indicate that these can be emailed or downloaded). Please also send any press kits, reviews, or publicity materials you might have.

Entry Fee
$25 for the first entry and $5 for each additional entry by the same entrant. Make checks payable to "Chicago Filmmakers."

Any experimental works completed between 2013 and 2016 are eligible. No length restrictions. Chicago premieres are highly preferred but not required.

Installation Works
No entry fee required. Please specify conditions required for the installation and include documentation if previously shown. The festival is currently securing installation sites and specific venue information will be provided at a later date.  Please email Josh B Mabe at [email protected] for installation proposals.

Eligible Formats
Entries should be submitted for preview on DVD or BluRay (any region; NTSC or PAL; no DVD+RW), digital file, or online preview; contact Onion City if you prefer to submit film prints for preview. Note: preview copies will NOT be returned (except for film prints - contact Onion City before submitting film prints). If your work is available online in a high quality streaming format, you can submit as a link. Note that if you submit this way and are selected for the festival you may still have to send a DVD for promotional purposes and a proper exhibition format.

Acceptable formats for exhibition include: FILM - 35mm (potentially), 16mm and Super-8mm; VIDEO - DVD (no DVD+RW), BluRay, and Digital File. Foreign language work must be subtitled in English.

By entering the festival, the entrant authorizes a public screening of the work in the festival and agrees to provide an exhibition copy for the period of the festival. Should the distribution rights for the work change by the time the festival takes place, it is still the responsibility of the entrant to provide an exhibition copy to the festival without charge. Once a film/tape is submitted for entry, it may not be withdrawn. Additionally, the entrant authorizes the festival to make copies of their preview copy for press use.

If your entry is accepted for exhibition you will be notified by January 15, 2016. If your entry is not accepted for exhibition you will be notified by January 31, 2016. These dates are approximate and may change.

Receipt of Exhibition Copy: February 19, 2016

If your entry is accepted for exhibition, your exhibition film or digital copy should arrive in our office by February 12, 2016. Please inform us if this will be a problem. Exhibition copies (physical media) will be returned to the entrant by April 15, 2016 (or later, if the festival dates shift) unless we are requested in writing otherwise.

Transshipments of exhibition copies to other U.S. festivals must be requested in writing. Onion City cannot transship to other international festivals.

Exhibition copies must be sent to the festival prepaid. Return shipping via UPS or US Mail will be covered by the festival. Additional charges for express shipping or transshipments to foreign film festivals must be paid by the entrant or the recipient. The festival cannot accept nor assume responsibility for damage or loss of materials while in transit. All film reels, cans, discs, and cases must be labeled with the title of the entry. Please do not use fiber filled shipping envelopes; fibers damage media and equipment.

International Shipping
Foreign entries must be shipped prepaid. Exhibition copies must be sent directly to the festival office with all transportation charges, delivery fees, and any duties or taxes prepaid by the shipper. The entrant will have to bear financial responsibility in the event that the festival is charged any brokerage fees. Please be sure to include all proper customs documentation. We recommend that the following declaration be printed on the outside of the package and on customs forms: TEMPORARY IMPORTATION – FOR FILM FESTIVAL EXHIBITION ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL VALUE. Exhibition copies will be returned to the entrant at the expense of the festival.

Contact Information
Chicago Filmmakers
Attn: Onion City
5243 N. Clark Street, 2nd Floor
Chicago IL 60640
Phone: (773) 293-1447
Fax: (773) 293-0575
Email: [email protected]



Friday, January 8, 2016 (All day)