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 2025 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 and Academy Award-nominated films. Most films and short film programs will be followed by a live Q & A with the filmmaker(s).

CSIFF takes place annually in April. 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 Short Film Competition, entrants are qualified to receive festival awards. Award winners for our short film competition will be announced at the Awards Ceremony. The winning film in each category will be given an award. Festival awards will be handed out to attending award winners at the Awards Ceremony. Awards can be mailed to winners at the expense of the filmmaker.

Selected films for the Feature Film Showcase (FFS) - 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.

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 be sent as soon as possible after you receive an acceptance notification. The CSIFF Team will also be in contact to provide an upload link for you to send a digital copy of your film. 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

*All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English.

*Chicago Southland International Film Festival does not offer screening fees or honorariums to filmmakers or distributors who submit short films to the Short Film Competition at this time.

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

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 November 1, 2024. Late entries will not be considered.

Short Film Competition Judging and Selection

Each submission will be reviewed by at least six screeners for first-round reviews. Official Selections will be made based on the reviews of screeners. Selected films will also be nominated for awards in their subsequent categories based on the screening process. Not all selected films will be nominated. Nominated films will be reviewed and rated by our judging panel that is made up of film professionals and film educators. Award winners will be determined based on the ratings given to the Official Selections by the judges. Names of Judges will not be released until Official Selections are announced to avoid favoritism.

All entrants should be notified regarding selection for the Festival by Friday, January 17, 2025 at the latest via unless additional deliberation is needed. A member of the Festival committee will also notify each Official Selection entrant by email at the address provided on FilmFreeway. If additional deliberation is necessary, entrants will be notified.

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 can offer very few discount codes to submit to our festival at this time. Filmmakers who have been selected to our festival in the past are eligible to a discount code. Also, filmmakers in countries under sanctions by the U.S. government who are unable to make financial transactions will be provided a waiver at the request of the filmmaker. Please, email us at for more information.

Overall Rating
  • Mina Patel

    What a blast! CSIFF showcased films from so many talented international filmmakers. Films have the power to shed light on important social and political issues. There was a selection of fascinating animated films that expanded our understanding of the power of animation in storytelling. The Q&A sessions with the filmmakers provided a glimpse into their creative process and the challenges of independent filmmaking. CSIFF did a wonderful job making everyone feel welcome and included throughout the three days. See you next year!

    April 2024
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind review, Mina! We enjoyed hosting your film at the festival and look forward to seeing you in the future!

  • Saber Mostafapour

    Our film "Blood Snow" won best International short film award and we would like to thank all the CSIFF 2024 team specially Suzanne and Josh.

    April 2024
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Saber! It was wonderful hosting your film! We hope to see you in the future!

  • Angela Sutherland

    Fantastic festival! Great communication and wonderful panels! Thank you!

    October 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Angela! We are so thrilled you enjoyed our festival!

  • Nasser Zamiri

    Dear Suzanne & Josh
    Thank you very much for your valuable feeling about my film.
    I will never forget. I am very happy to know you & your nice festival.
    With Love from Iran / Nasser Zamiri

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Nasser! Congratulations again on winning the Best International Short; your film is incredibly effective and powerful. We look forward to future submissions from you!

  • A BIG thank you to Joshua, Suzanne and crew for making us part of this year's festival. The communication was great and the perseverance in keeping the fest live this year was amazing. Thank you for supporting indie filmmakers! We hope to be back again!

    October 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Pat! Indeed, your films have become a staple of our short film competition with 3 consecutive years of submissions! Bravo! We look forward to future submissions and continuing our festival friendship!