We are now accepting submissions for FACETS 40th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (“CICFF”), running November 3 through 19, 2023.

As the first Academy®-qualifying children’s film festival in the world, the CICFF presents the best, most innovative international films for kids, teens, and young adults ages 2-25. We seek films that entertain audiences, challenge perspectives, inspire, and speak to the creative minds and hearts of young people.

Oscar®-qualifying film categories include Live-Action Short Film and Animated Short Film.

For 40 years the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) has helped set a standard of excellence in filmmaking for children, youth, and young adult audiences. The CICFF celebrates films from around the world that break new ground in their approach to storytelling, offer unique or seldom-heard points of view, respect and empower the youth experience, and demonstrate artistic and technical mastery. Recognizing film and television works that raise the bar for what film for young people can achieve, the CICFF positively impacts the quality of film production for the next generation.

An advocate for young people, the CICFF selects films that are child and youth-driven, that prioritize the rights of the child, and protect their health and well-being. Stories presented should reflect humanism and be culturally authentic, timely, innovative, and/or of universal appeal. The content of the films should speak positively to people of different backgrounds, cultures, and orientations.

We strongly believe that CICFF audiences should be engaged, entertained, and enlightened. Films presented should foster critical thinking, insight, and discussion into new concepts, perspectives, and ideas. Offering an unparalleled opportunity to reach the widest possible audience, the CICFF stimulates discussion by connecting the community with these extraordinary films and filmmakers at in-person and virtual screenings, filmmaker Q&A’s, and workshops.

It is our continued mission that Festival films reach unique audiences diverse in age, socioeconomic background, ability, identity, and ethnic heritage, as well as a broad range of children, teens, and young adults, educators, parents, and peers unduplicated in the youth film festival audience landscape.

We strive to provide equitable access to film content through initiatives and partnerships working toward Closed Captioning, descriptive audio, and Spanish language audio or captioning of Festival films.

Founded in 1984, the CICFF is the oldest children’s film festival in the country and the largest in the world, screening 308 films from 50 countries during the 39th season in 2022.

The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is produced and presented by FACETS, a nonprofit film arts organization that connects people to independent ideas through transformative film experiences and pioneering programs focused on film education, exhibition, and distribution. Since 1975, FACETS has provided a platform for important, thought-provoking conversations and community-driven education through increased access to a broad range of independent and foreign films for kids, teens, and adults.

In addition to the Festival, the CICFF provides important, year-round thematic programming that promotes media education in the community and the classroom.

New Dimensions, initiated by the CICFF in 2021, provides programming for young adults ages 18-25. Selections are made by the Festival Programmer and are eligible for all CICFF prizes and awards.

We strive to support the work of talented and dedicated filmmakers by showcasing international films of the highest quality and awarding prizes in multiple categories of genre and theme.

Awards are determined by a Professional Jury consisting of filmmakers, critics, teachers, community leaders, and parents, who award prizes in all categories including the Oscar®-qualifying Best Animated and Best Live-Action Short Film categories.

The CICFF also hosts a Youth Jury (ages 14-19) and Children’s Jury (ages 7-14) led by a team of media educators who meet separately from the Professional Jury and award their own respective awards in all categories.

Special awards are determined by separate jury groups.

Award categories include: Live-action Feature, Animated Feature, Live-action Short, Animated Short, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Live-action Television Production, and Animated Television Production.

Prizes may not be awarded in all categories each year.

Special Prizes that may be awarded include: Best of the Fest Prize, Milos Stehlik Global Impact Award, Best Production for Early Childhood (Ages 2 to 5), Programmer’s Choice Award, Teacher’s Choice Award, Parent’s Choice Award, Girl Empowerment Award, Liv Ullmann Peace Prize, Embrace Award (LGBTQ+), STEM Award, and the Emerging Director Prize.

Awards are announced during the Festival. Please note that awards are given to the director of the film, unless otherwise specified on the entry form.

The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is recognized as a qualifying festival by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Films that win first prize from the Professional Jury in the category of Live-action Short Film or Animated Short Film are eligible for Academy Awards consideration.

The following Rules and Terms control the submission of films to the 40th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (the “Festival”). The Rules and Terms are by and between FACETS Multi-Media, Inc. (“FACETS,” “we,” or “us”), an Illinois nonprofit corporation with a place of business at 1517 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60614, and the individual or entity submitting a film for consideration in the Festival (the “Submitter” or “you”), By submitting a film to us for consideration in the Festival, you agree to the following Rules and Terms.

The 40th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) will take place November 3 through 19, 2023. This includes:

In-person and virtual screenings November 3-12, 2023

Virtual screenings November 13-19, 2023.

Participation in the CICFF (November 3 through 19, 2023) also includes possible encore screenings for groups and the general public November 20 through December 31, 2023.

Additional Opportunities for accepted films include:

-Special consideration to participate in year-round screening programs for school groups and the general public, screening virtually and in-person at venues in the Chicagoland area.

-Special consideration for the CICFF’s Travelling Fest screening virtually and at venues throughout the United States.

-Special consideration to participate in additional programs for marketing, publicity, or fundraising purposes.

-The CICFF will contact filmmakers regarding additional opportunities to participate.

-All correspondence to the Festival management, including entry forms and support materials, must be in the English language.

-At peak times during the submission process, it may take several days for us to respond.

-The Submitter will be the main contact for all communications.

-If the ‘Distributor Info’ section is left blank, we will use the ‘Submitter Info’ information
to represent ‘Distributor Info’.

If you have any questions about the submission process, please refer to the Rules and Terms or contact our Festival Manager at jake@facets.org.

Enter a film by submitting to FilmFreeway and/or emailing/postmarking materials by May 1 (for early entries) or May 31, 2023:

All submissions must go through FilmFreeway:
-A separate entry form, payment, and preview screener must be provided for each
film or episode submitted
-Entry fee in USD – United States-affiliated bank checks and international money
orders should be made out to “FACETS” and the title of the film/episode(s) should be
written on the check. Entry fees are non-refundable
-Please read the Rules and Terms and Participation Agreement entirely.

Preview Film Submission Formats:
-Online screeners must be downloadable
-Downloadable file types include: H264, .mov, .mp4, and .avi
-Include the link AND password
-Download link must be available through August 31, 2023.
-If submitting a Blu-Ray or DVD for preview, the full-length preview copy must be
formatted for all-region, multi-zone, or Zone 1 (NTSC, North America) and clearly
labeled with title of production.
-To make the CICFF more inclusive and accessible, please include an English closed
caption file (.srt), a descriptive audio file, and a Spanish language audio or subtitle file
if available.

Film Stills:
-Two high-quality images from the production (.jpgs or .tifs)
-Images MUST be 300 dpi or higher
-Provided via FilmFreeway or emailed to jake@facets.org

Marketing Links:
-Websites/Social Media
-Trailers (if available)

Other Production Information (if available):
-Director headshot (300 dpi or higher)
-Production information (full cast & credits, etc.)
-Director’s filmography (with years)
-Director(s) Biography
-Posters/Lobby Cards


Chicago International Children's Film Festival (CICFF)
1517 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, Il 60614 USA


Early Deadline: May 1, 2023 (Materials must be postmarked by this date to receive the discounted entry fee rate)

Final Deadline: May 31, 2023 (Materials must be postmarked by this date.)

Entry Materials: entry form, support materials, and preview copy.

Festival formats are due for all accepted entries by September 11, 2023. See below for details.

Entry received by May 1, 2023:
-Short films (under 40 minutes): $40.00 USD
-Feature-length films (40 minutes or longer): $80.00 USD
Entry received May 2-May 31, 2023:
-Short films: $60.00 USD
-Feature-length films: $100.00 USD

-Features (productions 40 minutes or longer in length) or Shorts (productions less
than 40 minutes in length)
-Live-action (productions made using live action cinematography) or Animation
(productions made using traditional “hand-drawn,” stop motion, or computer
-Note: in the event that your production features both live action and animation
components, its category will be determined by the Festival
-Narrative (productions that tell a fiction or fictionalized story) or Documentary
(productions that use actual people, places, and events, and place them in a non-
fictional context)
-Film (productions that are a self-contained in its narrative) or Television (productions
that are an episodic installment or a larger narrative universe)
-Note: any television episodes that have aired or will have aired by the Festival dates
on a national network, cable television, or Internet streaming platform for the
general public in the United States will not be eligible for Festival consideration

If your film includes both animation and live action, please choose the one you feel best represents your film. The CICFF reserves the right to determine or change the category of your submission.

-All submitted material must have a copyright date of 2023, 2022, or 2021
-Submissions must be suitable for children ages 18 and under. However, content
suitable for ages 18-25 will be considered for our young adult program.
-There is no premiere requirement, but premiere status (World, North American, U.S.,
Chicago) is a factor weighed during the selection process
-Only completed works can be submitted, we do not view works-in-progress
-All films whose original language is something other than English must be subtitled
or dubbed into English. All films titled in a language other than English must have
their titles translated into English, except in cases where the title is a proper noun.

The CICFF celebrates film from around the world that break new ground in their approach to storytelling, offer unique or seldom-heard points of view, respect and empower the youth experience, and demonstrate artistic and technical mastery.

Story and Content:
-The action and point of view of the story should be youth-driven and appeal to, be
relatable to, or empower children, teens, or young adults.
-Stories should reflect humanism and be culturally authentic, timely, innovative,
and/or of universal appeal.
-The story's structure and style (conflict, character, setting, resolution) should be
memorable and relevant.
-Film content should encourage positive, global inclusivity and speak to people of
different backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, races/ethnicities, gender/sexuality, ages,
and abilities.

Audience Impact:
-Audiences should be engaged, entertained, and enlightened relative to the age range
for which the film is being considered (young children, children, teens, and/or young
-Films should foster critical thinking, insight, and discussion around their purpose,
message or moral, and/or into new concepts, perspectives, models, and ideas.
-An advocate for young people, the CICFF selects films that are child and youth-
driven, that prioritize the rights of the child, and protect their health and well-being.

Artistry and Production Values:
-Film content should be creative, highly original, and demonstrate artistic and
technical skill and mastery (including excellence in direction, artistic design,
screenplay, cinematography, editing, and performances).
-The production should be a unified, cohesive, and purposeful cinematic statement
that demonstrates a clear artistic intent of its creators.

Films must NOT include:
-Excessive or gratuitous violence, nudity, or profanity (including in writing or in
-Content that advocates and supports racial, cultural, religious, or gender bias.
-Content or images that are exploitative or negative.

Filmmakers will be notified regarding acceptance or rejection by August 31, 2023 via FilmFreeway. Additional details regarding Festival screening formats, additional marketing materials, and attendance will be sent at that time.

Preview copies and support materials of all entries cannot be returned.

A global hub of cinema for young people, the CICFF welcomes filmmaker and distributor participation to present, view, discuss, and network.

Details on Festival accreditation and attendance are emailed to accepted filmmakers in September.

Be advised that if the submission is accepted to the Festival, the ONLY Festival Screening Formats include:
-Digital file (H264, .mov, .mp4, and .avi)
-Blu-ray (all-region)
-DVD (NTSC all-region)
-DCP (for features only)
-3rd party service (Filezilla, FTP, etc.)

Preview screener could be used as ‘Festival Format’ IF submission is festival-quality (e.g., no watermark, no time code, hi-resolution)

In order to make the CICFF more inclusive, an English closed caption file .srt is also requested.

NOTE: DCP is an option for feature films only, encrypted content must remain open for the duration of the Festival, and CICFF requests Blu-ray or digital file “back-ups” of all content.

For the transportation of physical media, all print traffic costs inbound to Chicago are the responsibility of the Submitter, including charges for Customs clearance. The Festival will pay outbound shipping costs, back to the original Submitter or to another film festival, excluding charges for Customs clearance and expedited or overnight fees.

Consistent with Festival policy, screening fees will NOT be paid by CICFF for print usage.

The FACETS/CICFF staff and Board of Directors reserve the right to rule on cases not covered by these regulations.

The Submitter must read and agree to our Participation Agreement and the Rules and Terms for the Chicago International Children's Film Festival. The Participation Agreement is to be considered a part of the Rules and Terms is hereby incorporated by this reference. All references to the Rules and Terms shall also expressly include reference to the Participation Agreement. The Rules and Terms are legally binding.

Overall Rating
  • Hurricane & Yucca Films

    It was a pleasure to be part of the festival once again. Last time was over a decade ago with my short film "Namibia, Brasil." It was amazing to win an award with our Feature "The Last Election and Other Love Stories" in 2022. I can't wait to be back. The festival and FACETS are incredible institutions, I can't begin to describe how wonderful the whole thing is. Thank you!

    January 2023
  • Jarrett Roseborough

    This was such a wonderful experience. Thank you so much to everyone involved! We were even more thrilled to know that our production “This is My Black” won 2nd prize in the documentary category from the Children’s choice section! Amazing!

    December 2022
  • Thanks for selecting my film 'A day under the sky' the only Indian entry of the 2022 edition.
    CICFF is very beautiful celebration of films for children and youth.
    Keep it up CICFF and best wishes for future editions. 😊💐

    November 2022
  • Jonathan Blagrove

    So great to have feedback and interaction with Jake from Chigaco.
    Nice recommendations of other festivals
    Look forward to showing with you again.

    November 2022
  • Lucía Florez

    Amazing festival that's commited to the community and aims to grow with every edition!

    November 2022