16th Chicago Underground Film Festival and Filmmaker’s Summit

September 10-13 at the Gene Siskel Film Center

The Alternative for Underground, Independent and Experimental Film and Video

Please read these guidelines before filling out the attached entry form.



Early Deadline May 1, 2009 ($30 Entry Fee)

Final Deadline June 1, 2009 ($40 Entry Fee)

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.


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/SEACAM formats) videocassette or NTSC DVD. 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.


$30 per entry postmarked by May 1, $40 per entry postmarked by June 1st. Entry fees must be in U.S. funds only. Checks or money orders should be made out to IFP Chicago.


Click the appropriate PayPal link below and process your application payment online. Once you have received your PayPal confirmation number, please make sure to print the entry Form and include it on the form. There is a small surcharge for credit card payments.

May 15 2009 Early Deadline

June 15, 2009 Late Deadline


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.

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 info@cuff.org 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 ENVELOPES SUCK AND WILL DAMAGE TAPES AND EQUIPMENT!


Chicago Underground Film Festival

c/o IFP Chicago

1104 S Wabash Suite 403

Chicago, IL 60605


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 September 1, 2009.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.


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


For more information email us at info at cuff.org or call 312-235-0161

Download an Entry form here.


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