Annual festival of the best independent films created in the past year by Irish filmmakers working around the world and filmmakers working in Ireland. For over two decades the festival has strived to create a program of inclusion that supports and celebrates diverse voices of Irish storytelling in animation, documentary and live action in both short and feature lengths.

Over the last 21 years we’ve been delighted to welcome to Chicago so many talented people representing every aspect of filmmaking including, Colm Meaney, Roisen Kearney, Jim Sheridan, David Kelly, Elaine Kennedy, Dairmaid Murtagh, Andrew McCarthy, Milo O'Shea, Naomi Sheridan, Kealan Ryan, Brian Gleeson, Ross Whitaker, Nick Kelly, Marie-Therese Garvey, Ian Power, Barry Dignam and Richard Bolger (and so many, many more) whose work has informed and engaged our audiences and contributed to fascinating Q&A's and social networking occasions.

COVID-19 NOTE: August 2020
Chicago is presently entering Phase 4 of its re-opening program which includes movie theaters. Although we expect to be back in theaters for the March 2021 festival there will of course be adjustments to audience sizes and Q&A viability, so the festival asks that filmmakers be open to the possibility of virtual screenings and pre-recorded Q&A's should the necessity occur. Filmmakers will be informed in advance if virtual screenings are to be part of the 2021 festival. Any online screenings will be facilitated by our festival partner Elevent.

Thank you from everyone at the CIFF, we look forward to your submission and sharing your film-making talent with our Chicago audiences.

The CIFF is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Please see the Rules for complete information for all our categories.

The festival presents five Awards for achievement in SHORT FILM:

Festival Award : Selected by jury
Audience Award : Selected by ballot
Consulate of Ireland Award : Selected by the Consulate of Ireland-Chicago
One Minute Irish Award : Selected by jury
2021 Special Covid -19 Award : Selected by jury


FEATURE FILMS and FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES must be by an IRISH filmmaker working anywhere in the world OR a filmmaker working in IRELAND.

SHORT FILMS must by an IRISH filmmaker working anywhere in the world OR a filmmaker working in IRELAND

IRISH HERITAGE SHORT FILMS maybe by an IRISH filmmaker or a filmmaker of IRISH heritage that created a film reflective of their IRISH background, the IRISH people or IRELAND's history.

ONE MINUTE IRISH (OMI): Open to ALL filmmakers: One film per filmmaker capturing a sense of Ireland or Irish heritage or Irish culture anywhere in the world.
Please Note: Only one OMI entry per filmmaker

COVID-19 SHORT FILM: Open to all Irish filmmakers,working anywhere in the world OR filmmakers working in Ireland that is inspired in some way by the global pandemic Covid-19, including corresponding events and experiences and was created anytime after March 1, 2020.

ALL FILMS must have been completed in either 2019 or 2020 and be a Chicago premier, but Midwest and U.S. premiers are greatly appreciated! Date of completion must be included in the submission.

Films must not be available for public viewing on television or the internet in the US prior to March 7, 2021.

Films in any language other than English, including Irish Language must have English subtitles.

Filmmakers may only submit a maximum of 2 films : each separately and pay entry fee for each film.

The CIFF cannot acknowledge receipt of entries.

Applicants will be notified if their submissions have been successful by email after the selection process has taken place.

Due to the number of submissions received The CIFF cannot enter into discussion regarding films that are not selected for the festival.

Filmmakers of selected films should note that screening links might be made available to members of the festival and marketing team as necessary ahead of the public screening. The CIFF respects the filmmakers' copyrights and will make every effort to protect the film from piracy. The CIFF abides by the European Privacy Act of 2018 (GDPR).

▪ SUBMITTING A FILM ▪

1: For those films not accessible directly through the FilmFreeway submission page
please include a working YouTube or Vimeo link of the film AND password that does
not expire prior to the festival notification date!
Note: Filmmakers will be notified if the password fails one time and then eliminated
from consideration, without refund, if a new password is not provided.

2: Please include a synopsis of the film

3: Please include at least 3 images from the film: large hi-res / 300 dpi.

4: Please include a YouTube or Vimeo link of the film's trailer if applicable.

5: All content must be the filmmakers', including footage, music, images etc.
Films w/ unauthorized use of copyrighted material will be disqualified!

6: Film must not contain any objectionable, vulgar, libelous, obscene or gratuitous
violent material!

7: Filmmakers will be notified by December 15, 2020 of the judges’ selections
Judges may disqualify any film they feel does not comply with the above
stated guidelines.

8: The CIFF cannot acknowledge receipt of entries.

9: Due to the number of submissions received The CIFF cannot enter into discussion
regarding films that are not selected for the festival.

▪ SELECTED FILMS ▪

If selected the filmmaker must provide before January 15, 2021:

Option A: WeTransfer / Dropbox etc. in one of the following formats:
MP4 / Codec H264, or Apple Pro Res – 25fps

Option B: DCP from filmmaker, studio or distributor

Films must be delivered no later than January 15, 2021 either by transfer or shipment.

The filmmaker is responsible for the shipment of the film to Chicago.
The festival will return the film upon request or forward it to another festival if information is provided prior to the start of the CIFF.
PLEASE CONTACT THE FESTIVAL DIRECTLY PRIOR TO SHIPPING A FILM.

▪ Publicity
The Festival reserves the right to use extracts from selected films for
publicity and promotional purposes related solely to the festival and its archives.

Filmmakers of selected films should note that screening links might be made available to members of the festival marketing team and local film critics as deemed necessary and or appropriate ahead of the public screening. The CIFF respects the filmmakers' copyrights and will make every effort to protect the film from piracy.

Filmmakers of selected films should note that screening links might be made available to members of the festival and marketing team as necessary ahead of the public screening. The CIFF respects the filmmakers' copyrights and will make every effort to protect the film from piracy. The CIFF abides by the European Privacy Act of 2018. As of May 2018 the CIFF acknowledged the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law and will continue to respect our filmmakers and their privacy. We do not share or sell any personal data or information.

▪ Rights
By submitting a film to the festival the filmmaker/producer assumes sole responsibility of the acting and authorized agent and that exhibition of the film will not violate or infringe on any rights including but not limited to the images, music and content.

▪ Submission of a film constitutes an understanding of the guidelines and requirements of the festival. Please note that films that are submitted that do not comply with the stated guidelines will be disqualified. In the event of a disagreement concerning the rules and regulations regarding submission the festival's interpretation will take precedent.

These regulations are subject to change without prior notice.

Thank you for your submission.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Melissa Culhane

    Delighted that A Quack Too Far was selected for this festival :)

    March 2020
  • Brian Stynes

    Great Festival and team. Regularly posting updates and advertising everyone's project ahead of screening.

    March 2020
  • Michael-David McKernan

    A festival run by truly kind and passionate people. Highly recommend making the trip over if selected to enjoy the fantastic city of Chicago and to meet the brilliant people involved with this festival.

    March 2020
  • Damian O Callaghan

    I will always have a special place in my heart for everyone Involved at this amazing Festival. Jude, Padraig and all the team went above and beyond in making our experience here a really special one. They are really setting the bar and the community of Chicago should be really proud of The Chicago Irish Film Festival Team of Musketeers who made our stay a really enjoyable one. 10/10

    March 2019
  • Laura O' Shea

    While I unfortunately couldn’t attend CIFF this year, I found the festival organisers and team to be a delight to deal with. They were very organised and professional. We were thrilled also to hear that our film ‘Hold the Line’ was selected for the Audience Award! I have heard from friends who did attend this year that it was a brilliant and well run weekend, full of quality films. Hope to attend next year!

    March 2019
    Logo
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Laura and congrats again on your award!