Please read these guidelines before submitting.


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

Preview copies must be secure online screener (Vimeo, Youtube, Film Freeway, etc.). We no longer accept DVDs as a submission format. 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 screener 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 a lot 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.


  • Early Deadline: October 25, 2019  Entry Fee: Features $35 (Students $25); Shorts $30 (Students $20)
  • Regular Deadline: December 6, 2019 Entry Fee: Features $45 (Students $35); Shorts $35 (Student $25)
  • Late Deadline: January 3, 2020  Entry Fee: Features $55 (Students $45); Shorts $40 (Student $30)

Entry fees must be in U.S. funds only.


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. Please understand that we rely on entry fees for the operation of the festival and only request waivers when necessary.


The 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, hard drives 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.


2558 W 16th Street, Stage 18
Chicago, IL 60608
United States


The festival selection committee makes all programming decisions. If accepted we will notify filmmakers by email  by March 15, 2020. 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 15, 2020. Be sure to indicate aspect ratio of your film/video as well as any other special screening/presentation information we might need to know, such as language/subtitles, file type, etc. CUFF requires DCP files for the exhibition of video work. If you need assistance creating a DCP please let us know.


For our purposes feature refers to films 40 minutes and over. Experimental refers exclusively to 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.


Submitters understand that submission of their work authorizes the festival to use the work for exhibition, education and/or publicity purposes related to the festival; that the festival will handle the prints and drives with a maximum of care but cannot be held liable for any damage or loss during shipping, preview, or screening. The festival is also not responsible for any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, or royalty infringement related to the work. Submitters may receive future correspondence from the festival.


For more information email us at info@cuff.org

Submit through Film Freeway or Withoutabox using the links below: