Onion City is one of the premiere international festivals exclusively devoted to experimental film and video.

Onion City was founded in the 1980s by the Experimental Film Coalition. Chicago Filmmakers assumed responsibility for the festival in 2001, and expanded the size and opened it up to video work as well as film. Onion City presents 8-10 programs over four days in Chicago and features roughly 60-70 works from around the world. Aside from the competition programs, there are occasional special presentations of new or older films of note or guest presentations. Screenings take place at Chicago Filmmakers and other venues.

The mission of Onion City is to provide local and regional audiences with an opportunity to view a wide variety of contemporary experimental works, focused on artistic excellence but also with an eye towards representing differing styles, forms, and nationalities.

For more information contact Devon Coffee at dcoffee@chicagofilmmakers.org.

Onion City is a juried festival with cash prizes.

Entry Fee
$25 for the first entry and $5 for each additional entry by the same
entrant. Make checks payable to "Chicago Filmmakers."

Any experimental works completed between 2017 and 2020 are eligible.
No length restrictions. Chicago premieres are highly preferred but not

Eligible Formats
Entries should be submitted for preview on DVD or BluRay (any region;
NTSC or PAL; no DVD+RW), digital file, or online preview; contact
Onion City if you prefer to submit film prints for preview. Note:
preview copies will NOT be returned (except for film prints - contact
Onion City before submitting film prints). If your work is available
online in a high quality streaming format, you can submit as a link.

Acceptable formats for exhibition include: FILM - 35mm (potentially),
16mm and Super-8mm; VIDEO - DCP, Digital File, Blu-Ray, DVD (no DVD+RW)
Foreign language work must be subtitled in English.

By entering the festival, the entrant authorizes a public screening of
the work in the festival and agrees to provide an exhibition copy for
the period of the festival. Should the distribution rights for the
work change by the time the festival takes place, it is still the
responsibility of the entrant to provide an exhibition copy to the
festival without charge. Once a film/tape is submitted for entry, it
may not be withdrawn. Additionally, the entrant authorizes the
festival to make copies of their preview copy for press use.

If your entry is accepted for exhibition you will be notified by
February 11, 2019. If your entry is not accepted for exhibition you
will be notified by February 28, 2019. These dates are approximate and
may change.
Receipt of Exhibition Copy: February 19, 2019
If your entry is accepted for exhibition, your exhibition film or
digital copy should arrive in our office by February 15, 2019. Please
inform us if this will be a problem. Exhibition copies (physical
media) will be returned to the entrant by April 15, 2019 (or later, if
the festival dates shift) unless we are requested in writing otherwise.
Transshipments of exhibition copies to other U.S. festivals must be
requested in writing. Onion City cannot transship to other
international festivals.

Exhibition copies must be sent to the festival prepaid. Return
shipping via UPS or US Mail will be covered by the festival.
Additional charges for express shipping or transshipments to foreign
film festivals must be paid by the entrant or the recipient. The
festival cannot accept nor assume responsibility for damage or loss of
materials while in transit. All film reels, cans, discs, and cases
must be labeled with the title of the entry. Please do not use fiber
filled shipping envelopes; fibers damage media and equipment.

International Shipping
Foreign entries must be shipped prepaid. Exhibition copies must be
sent directly to the festival office with all transportation charges,
delivery fees, and any duties or taxes prepaid by the shipper. The
entrant will have to bear financial responsibility in the event that
the festival is charged any brokerage fees. Please be sure to include
all proper customs documentation. We recommend that the following
declaration be printed on the outside of the package and on customs
COMMERCIAL VALUE. Exhibition copies will be returned to the entrant at
the expense of the festival.

Overall Rating
  • Jessie Darnell

    So honored to be a part of Onion City - The program was incredible and I was so excited to receive a Jury Award for my piece. Thank you!

    April 2019