Chicagoland Shorts is Full Spectrum Features' annual filmmaker showcase that celebrates the vastness and artistic innovation of the Windy City’s filmmaking community, while also creating opportunities for professional growth and career sustainability. The series celebrates fresh storytellers that use the power of short form cinema to tell compelling stories that open minds, unpack the deeply personal, and strengthen communities.

The filmmakers featured in this series have screened internationally at museums, galleries, and over 100 film festivals (including Cannes, Tribeca, and Sundance), and includes an Emmy winner, a Fulbright fellow, a finalist for the Student Academy Award, and the recipient of a Human Rights Award from Nielsen Reviews.

The Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 8 showcase will exhibit short works and build meaningful professional development opportunities for emerging voices in filmmaking, with a focus on uplifting BIPOC, LGTBQ+, and female-identifying artists. In addition to exhibition opportunities, the selected filmmakers will participate in a variety of professional development sessions focused on funding, creative development, and film distribution.

In line with Full Spectrum Features’ mission of driving equity into the independent media landscape, selected filmmakers must also display a commitment to equitable filmmaking. Equitable filmmaking improves the economic mobility and upends traditional power dynamics for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQ+, differently-abled, and female filmmakers by placing them in decision-making positions on set and reflecting the diversity of their experiences on screen.

Chicagoland Shorts filmmakers:
- are based in the Chicagoland area
- have a narrative, documentary, experimental, or animated short film
- possess a long-term interest in pursuing narrative storytelling
- have an original cinematic vision and aesthetic
- are committed to equitable filmmaking

All accepted filmmakers will enter into a distribution agreement with Full Spectrum Features NFP. In addition to the premiere, all participating films will be featured in a series of screenings at theaters, micro-cinemas, galleries, and alternative screening venues throughout Chicago. The program will also be available for purchase as DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD, distributed exclusively through Full Spectrum Features NFP for a period of one year, and non-exclusively for an additional period of four years.

Participating filmmakers are invited to attend any and all screenings to promote their work and help cultivate the growing community of alternative media makers and their supporters.

Although filmmakers do not receive screening fees, residuals, or other guaranteed payment for participation in Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 8, a small honorarium may be paid at particular screenings if and when funds become available.


Films must be directed by individuals residing in the greater Chicago area, or have some other strong connection to Chicago. We define "Chicagoland" as the City of Chicago and its immediate suburbs, as well as any ex-burbs within a reasonable distance of Chicago.
All genres accepted. We are particularly drawn to narrative film, but also love documentary, experimental film and video art, and animation.

No completion date requirement.
No length requirement.
No premiere requirement.

IMPORTANT: In order to maximize exposure for the films, we request a one-month "blackout period" prior to the premiere –– i.e., films accepted to Chicagoland Shorts should NOT be exhibited online or screen publicly in the Chicagoland area during this time.


By submitting your film to Chicagoland Shorts, you warrant that you are authorized to commit the film for screening, and understand and accept the following requirements and regulations:

All rights and permissions are in place for my submission (it is the sole responsibility of the applicant to obtain any and all necessary rights and permissions).

By submitting my film for consideration, I grant permission to Full Spectrum Features to use any portion of my film and related materials for promotion in all media, including Full Spectrum Features catalogues, flyers, posters and website.

I understand that no film accepted for inclusion in Chicagoland Shorts may be withdrawn without the express written permission of Full Spectrum Features.

I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Full Spectrum Features and the organizers of Chicagoland Shorts from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening formats entered.

All of the above information and statements are accurate.

Overall Rating
  • Martin Mulcahy

    Such a great and necessary festival for both Chicago and it’s touring screenings. All 4 volumes have shown stellar work of an amazing variety of talents in the LGBTQ community, women and POC. I’ve met so many awesome filmmakers, and look forward to Volume 5!

    August 2018
  • Hannah Kim

    Great experience, was programmed among amazing films, and met amazing filmmakers and programmers. Would recommend to anyone from the Chicagoland area who wants to showcase their film around the US.

    August 2018
  • I was really glad to be part of CLS V.2. it was such an amazing curating program!

    January 2017