CineYouth is the Chicago International Film Festival’s yearly film festival that showcases short films made by filmmakers 22 years old and younger from around the world. CineYouth encourages the talent of young filmmakers and supports diverse youth voices by providing opportunities to have their work showcased, to learn about filmmaking from industry experts, and to network with peers. CineYouth 2021 will offer free film screenings, virtual filmmaking workshops, live filmmaker Q&A’s, and more!

While the 2020 edition of CineYouth was postponed, those films will be featured in 2021 and join a new selection of work from the past year for a week-long virtual event, May 6-13, 2021!

Select award-winning CineYouth films will be screened at the 57th Chicago International Film Festival at the CineYouth "Best of the Fest" screening (October 2021).

One winning film in each category, which include Drama, Women Filmmakers, LGBTQ+, Chicago made films, Horror and more! Select award winners will be screened as part of the "Best Of the Fest" at the 56th Chicago International Film Festival.

CineYouth is the Chicago International Film Festival's yearly film festival that showcases short films made by filmmakers 22 years old and younger from around the world. CineYouth encourages the talent of young filmmakers and supports diverse youth voices by providing opportunities to have their work showcased, to learn about filmmaking from industry experts, and to network with peers.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Entries accepted February 10th, 2021 through March 22nd, 2021

Eligibility
- The film's director(s) must have been 22 years old or younger at time of film's completion. (Can currently be 23 if the film was finished while 22.)
- All films must be in English or subtitled in English
- All music and other copyrighted material used must be properly licensed
- The length of all submissions must be 15 minutes or less, including
credits
- Past submissions to CineYouth may not be resubmitted
- You must provide your age at the time of film completion in the synopsis.

Submission Process

- Please include your age at time of film completion in the Synopsis.
- You may submit as many films as you like, but a completed entry
form/FilmFreeway submission must accompany EACH entry.
- Programming decisions are sent via email in April, 2021.
- Because of the high volume of submissions, we are unable to provide feedback on why your film was/was not selected.
- If your film is accepted, you will be asked to provide an electronic film still (not poster image) that is a minimum 300dpi, 4×6 and high quality.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Matthew Brdlik

    I've heard a lot of great things about this festival and it has always been an ambition of mine to screen in it. My film was accepted into the festival, but snubbed because of covid. Unfortunately I ran into a lot of arbitrary rules that ultimately prevented my work from screening at the festival.

    First, despite this being a Chicago International Film Festival, they do not want you submitting to both festivals. After a lot of pushing, they were thankfully able to make an exception for me in which I would withdrawal from CineYouth if I was accepted to CIFF.

    Then Covid hit and the festival was postponed. After a year, the festival staff understandably decided to combine 2020 with 2021 and make a virtual festival. Unfortunately, I had to make the tough choice for my film not to screen at any virtual festivals. I inquired if it would be possible to wait for another year and they said no, I could not resubmit my film in the future, it was against the rules even despite the extenuating circumstances behind it. I am 23 now so my window of opportunity has closed.

    I'm disappointed I missed my chance with this festival due to the pandemic, but I know it's a good one. I think there are some kinks that could be ironed out, but overall I know they are doing great work. Best of luck with your submissions.

    March 2021
  • One of the top student film festivals out there. Definitely worth submitting to

    December 2020
  • Honoured that our film screened at CineYouth Film Festival. Great festival... keep up the amazing work!

    November 2020
  • Samuel Johnson

    Worth submitting, been lucky to have been accepted two years in a row and it is a nice community

    September 2019
  • Max Shoham

    Thanks, CineYouth Film Festival, for selecting my film, wavy head, in the screenings this year! Really lucky any time a film festival shows young filmmakers films on a big screen before a live audience. It's a privilege and an honour to be allowed to spend my time telling stories!

    June 2019