**IMDb Qualifier**

2024 LIVE EVENT: Halfway-2-Halloween; May 4th-5th 2024*

The Chicago Horror Film Festival, a beloved local institution for 24 years, has transformed from an afternoon showcase of local short horror films into a prestigious two-day event. The festival, now featuring a diverse array of global feature-length and short horror movies. Many of these films have successfully secured distribution deals, solidifying the festival's reputation in the horror film industry.

Mission & Objective:
At the Chicago Horror Film Festival, we're all about celebrating amazing movies. Created by filmmakers, our goal is to highlight exceptional storytelling, great camera work, smooth editing, and awesome sound – all the things that make movies fantastic.

But that's not where it ends. We're here to help your movie get noticed. We'll shout about it on our social media pages, making sure more people see and love your work. Come join us for more than just a festival – it's a chance to give your movie the spotlight it deserves.

New Festival Director 2023/2024:
The 2024 season welcomes back CJ Vecchio, an award-winning indie horror filmmaker from Chicago, as our festival director. Last year's festival (October 2023) experienced a 300% increase in ticket sales with rave reviews. Due to this success, we will be hosting two events this year: one in May and another in October 2024!! CJ Vecchio emphasizes, "Running a festival as a filmmaker is different; my goal is to promote fellow filmmakers, facilitate networking, and help launch their films and careers."


Networking Events:
Join exclusive networking events with fellow filmmakers and industry insiders, a 'Must Attend' gathering even if your film isn't in the festival. Our private lounge facilitates networking, and this year, we introduce the 'NETWORKING FAST PASS'—your NFP Badge (with lanyard included). It's the most convenient way to share your information at CHFF 2024, replacing traditional business cards with rapid digital capabilities, enhancing your ability to exchange contact details seamlessly.

*Filmmaker Chicago Party Bus: Tour the city while mingling with other filmmakers.

*The VIP Lounge: Open on Saturday/Sunday only to filmmakers, crew, producers, distributors, and sponsors.

Let Us Help Promote Your Film!
We feature 'New Submission' ads on our social media with filmmakers' posters. To be eligible, ensure your movie has a traditional poster with proper dimensions and layout. Plus, stay tuned for podcasts featuring randomly selected filmmakers.

Best Trailer Award: Your trailer will be featured on our YouTube channel (please provide a download link on FilmFreeway). The trailers with the most likes will be nominated.

Best Horror Feature
Best Horror Short
Best Horror Chicago/IL (Short & Feature)
Best Horror International (Short & Feature)
Best Horror Director
Best Horror Director - Chicago/IL
Best Horror Writer
Best Horror Actor & Actress
Best Horror Actor & Actress - Chicago/IL
Best Young Performer
Best Horror Cinematography
Best Horror Gore/Blood
Best Kill
Best Horror Trailer (must have download link)
Best Horror Comedy
Best Horror Cartoon/Animation/Puppet
Best LGBTQ Horror
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Horror*
Best Midnight/Grindhouse/WTF
Best Horror Film Poster
Best Screenplay (1st,2nd & 3rd place)
Fest Directors Choice Award

More Information On The Chicago Horror Film Festival Awards:

*Award Winners will be announced in a ceremony at the end of the festival. Winners in attendance will be presented a certificate. Those not in attendance can obtain a digital certificate to print via the official website within 48 hours after the close of the festival. Winners will also be posted in the news feed (front page) and Awards Page of IndieHorrorFest.com within 48 hours of the close of the festival.

** Our Selection / Awards Procedure: Festival Director / Producers make official selections for the festival by vote. Official Selections are then screened/graded by 5 different judges anonymously and given an overall grade on a 5 point scale for each of the qualifying award categories (with the exception of the “Fest Directors Choice Award”). All judges points are then added together to give it a grade. The top 5 films by grade in each category are then considered an award nominee and listed on this page. The film with the highest grade in each category is considered and announced that category’s award winner at the festival. In the event of a tie for highest grade, the festival director, festival producer and festival founder will each vote on the tied films giving the majority vote the award. In the event that one of the production staff are involved in one of the films involving a tie, a 3rd party will be selected to vote in place of the production staff member involved.

**** The Festival Directors Choice Award nominee’s are the Film Festival Directors top 5 choice films of the festival. The Directors Choice Award is presented at the festival to the Directors favorite film of the festival. (Any film that the festival director is personally involved in at any level is not eligible for this award.)

Award Winners will be announced LIVE at The Chicago Horror Film Festival! www.chicagohorrorfest.com

The Festival is open to any film that might be considered a horror film, or anything of a disturbing nature, dark art and/or frightening. Horror Sci-Fi, Horror Thriller, Animated Horror, Found-Footage Horror, Fan-Film Horror...

Illinois/Chicago Filmmakers...make sure you list your "Hometown" in bio!

We are only accepting submissions via online screener (here on filmfreeway.com) and exhibition films will need to be in MOV or MP4 format if selected. We are not accepting DVD/BluRay/Hardcopy submissions any longer.

There is NO 'Film Made By' date. We have shown horror films from as early as the 30's. Please feel free to submit your early work as well as your current work.

Rules for Submissions

The rules are basic but necessary. Please take a quick look at the info below before you submit.

I, the undersigned, acknowledge and agree:

I have read, understated and fully comply with all submission eligibility information, Submission Guidelines, Terms and Conditions of Entry and Entry Eligibility requirements.

To the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in this submission are true.

This film or video is not subject to any litigation nor is threatened by any litigation.

I am duly authorized to submit this film to the festival.

I hold The Chicago Horror Film Festival harmless from any damage to the print(s) or media materials(s) en route or otherwise during the course of the festival’s possession of the film.

I hold The Chicago Horror Film Festival its owners, management, juries, subsidiaries, agents, sponsors, affiliates, and etc. harmless from any and all claims of liability resulting from my entry.

I certify that I have full rights to the use of the music in the entered work.

I give permission for The Chicago Horror Film Festival to use stills, trailers, titles, copy, and/or information for promotional purposes.

I give permission for The Chicago Horror Film Festival to screen the film at the Festival live and online for which it was submitted.

If selected I will provide The Chicago Horror Film Festival with a digital copy of my films movie poster (in vertical format) for use on the festival website.

Overall Rating
  • Jordan Selander

    It was an honor to have our experimental short film, No Grave For the Dead, screened at the Chicago Horror Film Festival. This festival has a far-reaching legacy that we’re honored to be apart of now. CJ and the team curated an incredible lineup of horror films, and though we unfortunately couldn’t attend due to a conflict, it was a comfort to know everyone could still screen the films online. The communication and promotion were top-notch. We’re planning to submit future projects to this historic festival in hopes we can attend in-person and experience the weekend for ourselves.

    January 2024
  • Scott Brown

    I was thrilled to have "Storage Room B" screen at the Chicago Horror Film Festival. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the screening but the communication and promotion were fantastic. Will definitely submit again and hope to attend in the future.

    November 2023
  • It was absolutely an honor for our screenplay to be Selected, plus receive an updated message to "Nominee". Boy, were we surprised. Crazy happy. Thank you Chicago Horror Film Festival!

    November 2023
  • Nathan Oelker

    Kino Crew Productions was honored to have its short film COTTONMOUTH be selected for the Chicago Horror Film Festival. Festival director, CJ Vecchio, is enthusiastic about the genre and dedicated to promoting independent film. Even more helpfully, as a filmmaker himself, Mr. Vecchio understands all the challenges involved in production. Great film selection, great venue, and great people. Can't wait to submit our next horror film!

    November 2023
  • Adriana Otero

    Great festival, it has been an honour to be part of it. :)

    November 2023