CIMMfest is Chicago's only music-centric film festival and one of the biggest events of its kind in the United States. For four days each spring we take over the City of Chicago with 100+ screenings, lively Q&A's, live performances, VJ/DJ sets, late-night parties, and our CIMMcon industry conference, attracting a diverse regional audience and major media coverage in one of the country's biggest markets. The 9th edition takes place November 9-12, 2017.

Since our inception in 2009 CIMMfest has screened films from more than 70 countries, showcasing movies that focus on music and musicians or use music in integral, innovative ways. Each year the program includes several world and US premieres and a selection of retrospective classics, plus concerts featuring artists or musical styles celebrated in CIMMfest films and live-in-the-cinema scores.

Last year the festival fanned out to 25 venues in Chicago's most vibrant and arts-friendly communities. The film menu included more than 145 documentary and narrative features, shorts, and music videos covering a dizzying array of cultures and genres, from Chinese punk and Cambodian pop to African taarab and vintage hip hop, rock, and blues.

CIMMfest guests have included filmmakers Spike Lee, Julien Temple, Melvin van Peebles, Les Blank, Sarah Goodman, and Ron Mann and music icons like Hank Shocklee (Public Enemy), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Booker T. Jones and Sam Lay, Yo La Tengo, Lisa Fischer, Todd Snider, Sister Spit, Van Dyke Parks, Genesis P-Orridge, Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars, and DJ Spooky.

Awards are given to the best film in each of these categories as determined by our jury:
Best Feature Fiction
Best Feature Documentary
Best Short Fiction
Best Short Documentary
Best Music Video
Best Student Film
Student Film Audience Award
Killer Soundtrack
Original Score

To be considered for competition, films must have been completed after January 1, 2015. Entries completed before that date and entries that do not meet our premiere requirements will be considered for our non-competitive section and should be submitted to the Out of Competition category.

All submissions must be paid and post-marked by the deadline date for consideration. We cannot grant fee waivers or discounts.

The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) will accept submissions in the following categories:

NARRATIVE FEATURE (45 minutes or more)
NARRATIVE SHORT (less than 45 minutes)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (45 minutes or more) (includes filmed performances and concert films)
DOCUMENTARY SHORT (less than 45 minutes) (includes filmed performances and concert films)
ANIMATION (less than 45 minutes)
ORIGINAL SCORE (a film of any genre with an outstanding original music score that strongly forwards the narrative)
KILLER SOUNDTRACK (a film of any genre with an outstanding soundtrack that strongly forwards the narrative)
MUSIC VIDEO (maximum 15 minutes)
STUDENT FILM (shorts of any type or genre, no music requirements, made by current students)
All categories may also submit as OUT OF COMPETITION.

Eligibility Rules
CIMMfest reserves the right to determine eligibility and category of any work submitted.
Entries that have aired on US television or that have screened in Chicago, or are available on DVD or on the internet (except shorts and music videos) prior to the Festival will not be considered for the competition section of the festival.

Entries must be completed on or after January 1, 2015 to be considered for competition.

Works in progress are NOT eligible.

All entries must be submitted on a BluRay (NTSC/PAL); or Region 0 or 1 DVD (preferred) (PAL or NTSC). Entries may also submit as .MOV file on flash drive, or through a secure web link. Web links will not be viewed or considered until full entry fee is received.

**Entries marked as a Student Submission must provide a copy of student ID.**


All submitted materials become property of CIMMfest and will not be returned. Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry. Entrant will allow usage of clips from the entry for promotional use on television, on the radio, in print, on the internet, and at live Festival events or Festival sponsored events. Exceptions to the Festival regulations must be authorized by the CIMMfest Entry Coordinator. Except Music Videos, all entries must either be in English or contain English subtitles. Non-English entries submitted without subtitles or with supplementary printed translations will be automatically disqualified. By submitting an entry, you are saying that you have read and agree with the guidelines of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest). All statements you have made in this document/form are true, and you certify that you have cleared all rights for this film and understand that no officers, employees, or agents of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) can be held liable for the contents of or damage to the film. Your entry into this competition grants the festival the rights that have been stated in these guidelines. By submitting, you hereby agree to the rules and regulations set by the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Calvin Walker

    My short film "Rain Dance" was selected by the CIMMfest.
    It was a great pleasure being a part of the festival, even if only from a distance, since I wasn't able to physically attend. Great overall experience!

    November 2017