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CIFF Year 3 submissions open now.
Year Three is here. We made last year part of Chicago biggest indie film event. And this year we're going bigger!

The Chicago Independent Film and TV Festival supports international and national filmmakers and showcase strong independent work in the city of Chicago.

CIFF fills the overdue need for a quality international independent film festival in Chicago. Ran by filmmakers with a recognized and notable track record, CIFF not only brings quality projects to Chicago but partners with reputable, knowledgeable local film and arts groups. We will use an inside-out approach to championing local creators. After having worked in both Chicago and Los Angeles for nine years we understand the realities of film and video in Chicago and the bulk of the opportunities outside of the region. We see the need to educate and champion local production opportunities but also the actuality of the current industry.

In our first year we emulated the success we've had in our sister project Chicago Comedy Film Festival. CCFF, now in its seventh year, has become the go-to festival for comedy film and video projects. The fest was named one of MovieMaker Magazines Top 50 film festivals. It is the only Midwest film festival to nationally premiere an Academy Award nominated film. Hosting thousands of film and comedy lovers for a weekend each November, CCFF brings together over 200 industry creators, managers, agents and executives. We will bring this high level of quality and opportunity to CIFF.

“Exhibition platforms such as the new Chicago Independent Film (+TV) Festival are important both to showcase diverse Chicago stories and voices, as well as strengthen our local networks and offer space for creative collaboration and development.” -
Rebecca Stocchetti, outgoing Local Initiatives Coordinator Chicago Film Office.

“Chicago has an incredibly vibrant independent film and TV community and the Chicago Independent Film (+TV) Festival is another great opportunity for filmmakers to connect with audiences.” - Jack Newell, filmmaker and director of The Second City Harold Ramis Film School.

“There is a strong, immediate need for a quality independent film and television event in Chicago.” - Independent filmmaker Brent Kado, the festival’s founder.

As Executive Director of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Kado has helped grow that event into a premier destination for comedy and film. He hopes to mirror the success of CCFF with this new festival.
“Independent film and television is rapidly changing and we want to help foster that change in Chicago.” Kado also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College.

Have a viral video? Submit here:

Got America's next big reality show hit? Go here:

Hilarious comedy, music video, web series?

Top Award and Audience Choice recognition(s) in each category plus:

Top Female Filmmaker

Top LGBTQ Project

Top Diverse Voices Project

Top Social Change Film

Top Feature Film

TERMS AND CONDITIONS (please read thoroughly before submitting)

Chicago Independent Film (and TV) Festival (CIFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. Payment of submission fee does not guarantee inclusion in our festival. If your film is chosen as an official selection CIFF does not compensate for travel, accommodations, or appearance fees unless otherwise offered. Online distribution of the film prior to screening at the festival is prohibited. Local screenings and announcements (75 miles radius) are prohibited within 90 days prior and 30 days post CIFF screening. CIFF reserves the right to schedule changes and may at any time revoke a film screening, festival passes, accommodations, and any other filmmaker agreements for any reason. ONLINE SCREENERS ONLY.

Once the film is accepted to Chicago Independent Film Festival, DIGITAL COPIES and PRESS SCREENERS (DVD) will be required. The committee reserves the right to rescind any screening engagement if the film is not delivered on time. Chicago Comedy Film Festival holds your screeners in a secure fashion and takes the filmmakers rights very seriously. Please note that technical glitches will not be adjusted during the screening of your film. Your screener must be in final format upon acceptance and filmmakers will not be allowed to have private technical meetings with the projectionist due to CIFF contractual rules with the theater.

The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. Upon acceptance, CIFF may offer contract options to join the CIFF Youtube network and/or work with CIFF digital partners as CIFF. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Chicago Independent Film Festival 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 videos entered.

If accepted and notified, project head has 10 (ten) business days to notify the festival if they intend to NOT screen or a $500 (US) fee will be charged back to the filmmaker. (This is to cover booking and scheduling issues)

Overall Rating
  • Harrison Stagner

    Met wonderful people, had a great time.

    April 2019
  • Patrick Behan

    It was a pleasure to screen at Chicago Independent. Festival staff were nice, helpful, and welcoming. It did feel like a first year festival but it will improve. I wish there were more organized opportunities to speak with other filmmakers and network.

    May 2018
    Response from festival:

    We had a networking event and two after parties. You should have came to those.

  • Thomas Galassi

    We and our guests had a wonderful time! The projection and audio were perfect. Honored to be in this festival’s first year with our movie.

    May 2018
  • Monika Petrillo

    Sadly, I couldn't attend. But the communication with the festival founders was great, the venue looked awesome, and from the pictures I saw, it looked like it was a success.

    May 2018