– July 13, 2015

*** Due to the increased number of submissions we received for the 2016 festival we are slightly behind in making our final programming decisions. If you submitted a film to the festival expect to receive email notification from us by the end of March. Thank you for your patience and understanding.***

Submissions for the 2017 festival will open in July of 2016

Festival Dates: June 1-5, 2016


PLEASE read our entry GUIDELINES before submitting your work.

Submit using one of our online submission partners:



Or using our ONLINE ENTRY FORM. Pay entry fee with a check or paypal (following directions on the entry form).


Early Deadline: Oct 1, 2015 – Entry Fee: Features $35 (Students $20); Shorts $30 (Students $15)
Regular Deadline: Dec 1, 2015 – Entry Fee: Features $45 (Students $25); Shorts $35 (Student $20)
Late Deadline: Jan 5, 2016 – Entry Fee: Features $55 (Students $30); Shorts $40 (Student $25)

The 23rd Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) is the longest-running “underground” film festival in the world. Hosted at Chicago’s legendary Logan Theatre – the theater’s recent renovation unmasked its original ornate detailing from its opening in 1915 and provided the modern enhancements necessary for today’s screenings. Shining a bright spotlight on avant-garde and cult cinema, CUFF draws enthusiastic film fans from all over the world to celebrate original filmmaking that is not afraid to take a risk.

CUFF welcomes a mix of films and videos of all lengths and genres, but the festival’s dominant focus is on works that chart new, experimental ground in form or content. Selected feature filmmakers receive travel stipends to attend the festival, as well as all-access passes to screenings, parties, and other events. Every day at CUFF is filled with unforgettable screenings, and every night is packed with invigorating parties and concerts. Previous CUFF events have featured performances from indie bands including ONO,Brett Nauke, Jeremiah Meece, The Ponys, Tommy Sunshine, and more.

The Chicago Sun-Times has lauded CUFF as “the city’s most eclectic [and] best curated fest,” and it’s not hard to see why. Director Jennifer Reeder took home a 2015 CUFF Jury Award for Best of Fest after the Chicago premiere of her short film Blood Below The Skin. Other filmmakers who have earned early recognition at CUFF include Olivia Wyatt (Sailing A Sinking Sea), Iva Radivojevic (Evaporating Borders), Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip), Joel Potroykus (Buzzard) and Drew Tobias (See You Next Tuesday).

CUFF showcases the defiantly independent filmmaker by promoting film and video that challenges and transcends expectations.

After more than two decades in operation, CUFF continues to be the premiere annual event for challenging, creative and artistic cinema. Programmers are dedicated to screen a wide variety of film and video work that shatters and reconstructs established notions of projected imagery and storytelling.

Join the tribe of indie filmmakers who have embraced and thrived at CUFF’s cutting edge festival

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