What is the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF)?

The Chicago Underground Film Festival is the longest running underground film festival in the world. We are an internationally recognized program that provides a venue for documentary, experimental and avant-garde narrative film and video. Our festival’s mission is to select and screen film, video, and related works that present a diverse line up of moving image programming focused on filmmakers working to reinvent and explore new approaches to established practices, and to foster new forms of media art and to build an audience for such work. Our goal is to achieve these aims by presenting a fun, user-friendly and accessible event.

 Founded in 1993, The Chicago Underground Film Festival is 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 festivals such as Sundance; instead, we seek to create our own particular niche by presenting an accessible, user-friendly showcase for Avant-Garde and cult cinema. CUFF presents a wide range of work exploring the many definitions and interpretations of the concept of “underground”. From alternative music films and political agitprop to high camp and formal experimentation. We like films that go beyond expectations and genre, films made with passion, obsession and drive.

 What’s different about the 2020 Chicago Underground Film Festival?

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our traditional in-person film festival. And like the rest of the world, we needed to pivot. After much coffee and careful consideration, we’ve decided to launch CUFF into the virtual-interweb! We are thrilled to announce that the 2020 Chicago Underground Film Festival not only has the capacity to host more attendees than ever before (and from all across the world,) but the 2020 fest now comes in two parts:

Part I

From July 28th – August 28th we will present a “Best of CUFF” virtual festival featuring many past CUFF award winners. This juicy line-up will give long time CUFF attendees an opportunity to revisit some of our all-time favorites, while also giving first time attendees a glimpse of “la creme de la creme” (films that were hits with previous audiences and juries…) 

Part II

In September (final dates TBA) we will present the 27th Chicago Underground Film Festival which will consist of brand-new films that were submitted to us this past year. Like the “Best of CUFF” virtual festival, this program will also be available online. More on part II soon, we promise.

 What kind of content can I expect? Is it appropriate for all ages?

With more than 25 features and 40 shorts, there’s bound to be something that appeals to fans of all genres. If we’re being honest, our festival content is best suited for mature audiences and generally isn’t appropriate for kids. Sorry kiddos.  

 How do I Purchase a badge?

All-access passes for the “Best of CUFF” festival are just $30 and available HERE.

Passes for the 27th Chicago Underground Film Festival are $80 and available HERE.

A combination pass that includes BOTH the “Best of CUFF” and the 27th edition is just $100 and may be purchased HERE. 

How do I watch the films?

 Each film that is featured in both the “Best of CUFF” and the “27th Festival” in September, will be available for viewing for one month (also known as 31 days.) The “Best of Festival” films will be available from July 28th – August 28th. The 27th Chicago Underground Film Festival Films will also be available for one month, beginning sometime in September (final dates TBA.)

When you’re ready to press play, and only after you’ve purchased a pass, simply select the films you wish to watch on the schedule and unlock them. If you want to purchase an individual ticket to a single program simply find the film on the schedule and unlock it. Once a program is unlocked you will have 48 hours to view that program.

 What if I want to watch the films on my TV?

 Please check out Eventive’s guidelines HERE (link to


See this program of The Best of Cuff Films here.

What about live events?

We are planning a number of virtual Q&A’s and special events during both festivals. Q&A’s will be scheduled weekly during the festival, and special events will be announced shortly. Please check the schedule for details. 

 How much does it cost to attend?

 We have three different festival badges available for purchase:

  1. All Access “Best of CUFF” badges – $30

      2. All Access “27th CUFF” badges – $80

      3.Combo “Best of and 27th CUFF” badges – $100

 Single screening tickets for individual programs can also be purchased a la carte for $10. Ticket links can be found on the festival schedules.

 How can I donate?

 When purchasing passes and tickets you’ll have the opportunity to add a donation to CUFF as part of your purchase. These donations will help secure the future of the festival for years to come.

 Billing and payments

 Send us an email at info@cuff.org and describe the issue you’re experiencing. Please note that all sales are final and we are unable to offer refunds.


 Send us an email at info@cuff.org and describe the issue you’re experiencing. This whole “Virtual Film Festival” thing is new to us, too so please bear with us as we figure this bad-boy out togetha! 

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