The Chicago Southland International Film Festival is a film festival located in University Park, IL and hosted by Governors State University. With core values of inclusiveness, diversity and promoting quality of life, we at GSU value an atmosphere that fosters a capacity to enjoy life through the fine arts and humanities.

CSIFF 2020 will again include our Feature Film Showcase and Short Film Competition for students and professionals. The Feature Film Showcase includes feature films hand-selected by members of the CSIFF Committee, and has previously featured Sundance Grand Jury Award winning films and Academy Award nominated films. Each film will either be followed by a live Q & A with the filmmaker or a prerecorded interview about the film.

This year's festival will be held on October 23-25. A full festival schedule will be released closer to the festival date.

Prizes and Awards

All Official Selections will receive official, high-resolution laurels for promotion of the film. Once officially selected for inclusion in the festival, entrants are qualified to receive festival awards. Award winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on the evening of Sunday, October 25, 2020. The winning film in each category will be given an award. Awards can be mailed to winners at the expense of the filmmaker.

Selected films for the Feature Film Showcase- as chosen by the festival committee- will also receive an award for selection in the FFS. Awards can be mailed to winners at the expense of the filmmaker.

Festival Poster Competition

All high school and college/university student artists are encouraged to design and submit for this year's Official Chicago Southland International Film Festival Poster Competition. The winner will be awarded $100 and have their poster as the official poster for this year's fest! For more information visit:

Entrants of the film competition warrant that they have the legal right to enter film work to the Chicago Southland International Film Festival. As the Director/Producer of the film, entrants represent and warrant to the festival that the film and all parts thereof are original; that the film does not contravene the rights of any person or entity and that entrants own or control the film and all parts thereof and have the sole authority to submit the Film to the festival; the film entrants submitted to the festival is not subject to nor threatened by any litigation.

If a film is accepted, entrants will be solely responsible for delivering their exhibition video materials to the Chicago Southland International Film Festival. A complete press kit for and online link to your film needs to be sent as soon as possible after you receive an acceptance notification. Chicago Southland International Film Festival cannot be held liable for your exhibition print/video materials which are lost or damaged.

By submitting to the Festival you agree to be included in the Chicago Southland International Film Festival‘s promotional material (newsletters, flyers, media, etc.).

Short Film Competition Submission Rules and Regulations

*Films must have been completed less than 18 months prior to the festival submission deadline (after January 1, 2019).
All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English.

Entrants confirm and warrant that they have the required legal authority to submit the entry into the festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.
Films must be submitted digitally via Southland International Film Festival

Short Film Competition Submission Guidelines

This festival is only accepting completed works at this time; no works-in-progress will be considered.

The deadline for all submissions is May 1st. Late entries will not be considered.

Short Film Competition Judging and Selection

Each submission will be reviewed by at least one judge for first round reviews. Films selected during the first round will be reviewed again by a group of Film Professionals /Educators whom will announce Official Selections. Names of Judges will not be released until Official Selections are announced to avoid favoritism.

All entrants will be notified regarding inclusion in the Festival by July 1st, 2020 at the latest via A member of the Festival committee will also notify each Official Selection entrant by email.

Judging decisions are final.

Submissions that are found to have violated any of the Eligibility Requirements listed above may be disqualified at any time.

Short Film Competition Submission Categories and Costs

It is the responsibility of the entrant to submit films into the correct category. Incorrect submissions may be disqualified. Entrants into incorrect categories will not be given a refund.

Submission fees are non-refundable and will not be waived for any reason. If a submission is not selected or disqualified, entrants will not receive a fee refund.

While we understand and appreciate the financial struggles of independent artists, we will not be offering discount codes to submit to our festival at this time. The only exception to this rule will be made for filmmakers in countries under sanctions by the U.S. government who are unable to make financial transactions.

Overall Rating
  • Although I was not able to attend the festival, it has been a great and warm experience.

    I would love to express my gratitude to the jury and organizers for accepting our film, 'The Good Wife'...

    The communication from the festival has been extremely lucid and clear and we have been notified in advance of any developments.

    Would love to visit the festival in the future!

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you very much for taking the time to review our festival! We were very excited to include your film and hope to see you submit in the future!

  • Patrick Lee

    This festival is one of those that stays under the radar while still being a great experience. Top notch theater venue at a university on the edge of Chicago with welcoming staff and lots of free perks on behalf of the fest. Looking forward to seeing this one grow and can’t wait to submit again!

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review, Mr. Lee. We are very happy that you enjoyed our festival! We look forward to seeing you at future festivals!

  • Although I couldn't attend the screening of It's Time for Tea, the team at Chicago Southland were communicative with me and did a great job of promoting the festival. It looks like it was extremely successful and I appreciate all that they are doing - thank you!

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review, Mr. Kaplan. We were very sorry that you, your cast, and your crew were unable to attend. We look forward to seeing you at future festivals!

  • While I was unable to attend I appreciated the organizers including my short What A Wonderful World in their festival and their communication skills in requesting the needed materials for the screening.

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review, Mr. Cabaroy. We were glad to include your film! We are sorry to see your lower rating. As CSIFF continues to grow, we are always trying to improve. Please, email our Festival Co-Chair Josh Young at to let us know what we can improve. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at future festivals!

  • thank you for taking the time to organize the festival and giving "I am Zal" the chance to be a part of this great event and win the Life Happens award. for me, it was a golden opportunity and I look forward to the future editions. keep up the good work!

    September 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review, Mr. Naderi and congratulations on the winning the Life Happens Award! Your film was tragic and beautiful. We were so sorry to not be able ot have you at the festival in person, but were so grateful that you were able to send in your acceptance speech. We hope to see you and your work at future festivals!