The BLOW-UP ARTHOUSE FILM FESTIVAL links the most creative artists together with very intelligent audiences for its annual festival of narrative and documentary films, shorts, animations, experimental films, and student work. The Festival was named after Michelangelo Antonioni's iconic film "Blow-Up".

The Festival pursues goals to introduce more people to the arthouse film. We believe that a story driven by a genuine expression can stimulate new thoughts that have the power to promote the fundamental principles of humanism, expand creative frontiers, stimulate new levels of compassion, and even lead to social change. We welcome serious films aimed at a specific audience rather than a mass-market consumer. We would like to see films made primarily for aesthetic and philosophical reasons rather than commercial profit.

The Festival is an organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. The Festival seeks to inspire independent film artists from the United States and around the world and to introduce audiences to their new work. We also welcome established Arthouse filmmakers, who already attained a major contribution to the art of filmmaking. The festival would like to approach the caliber of films made by such great directors as Eisenstein, Antonioni, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Godard, Truffaut, Pasolini, Kurosawa, Buñuel.

- Main Categories -
Best Feature Film: Antonioni Award
Best Short: Charlie Chaplin Award
Best Documentary Feature: Dziga Vertov Award
Best Documentary Short: Lumière Brothers Award
Best Experimental Film: Luis Buñuel Award
Best Student Film: VGIK Award
Best Animation: Norman McLaren Award
Best New Media: Andy Warhol Award

- Technical Categories -
Best of Fest: Blow-Up Award
Best Illinois Film: Made in Chicago Award
Best Director: Tarkovsky Award
Best Cinematography: John Alcott Award
Best Screenplay: Tonino Guerra Award
Best Production Design: Cedric Gibbons Award
Best Actor: Marcello Mastroianni Award
Best Soundtrack: Nino Rota Award
Best Musical Film: Bob Fosse Award
Best Comedy: Buster Keaton Award
Best Montage: Eisenstein Award
Special Jury Prize: Best New Director Award
Special Jury Prize(s): Outstanding Directing
Special Achievement Prize(s): Film Criticism/Journalism
Founder's L'Eclisse Award(s)

Please read these Rules & Terms carefully before you submit your film. By submitting your film into competition in the Blow-Up Film Festival, you expressly acknowledge and agree that you shall be bound by the terms of these Rules & Terms.

The Blow-Up Film Festival (BFF) is an event with live public screening. Generally, we do not run online screening. The festival is open to any film completed after January 1, 2018, regardless of content, subject, or origin. Submitting your film to the BFF is not a guarantee of selection. All the winning films will receive an award and/or certificate via mail. Please read all rules and regulations before submitting your project.

Please note that Festival does not offer fee waivers, discounts, invitations to become an Official Selection, or any other form of preferential treatment that Festival directors feel would be out of step with the Festival's mission of providing a level playing field for all filmmakers. Filmmakers seeking a waiver because the required fee is beyond their current budget are advised to wait until the next Early Submissions period or find a sponsor. The Festival's organizers do not respond to pitches for individual projects, and filmmakers writing the Festival with requests or demands for other forms of preferential treatment will typically not receive a response.

1. Films made in languages other than English must have English subtitles.

2. The BFF is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted for promotional purposes of the festival within the United States only. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements, rules, and regulations.

3. The BFF reserves the right to refuse entries or change the Submission Status.

4. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the BFF, from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

5. By submitting your film to the BFF, the individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that BFF is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements, rules, and regulations. Films that are selected to screen with us will have the opportunity to opt out of their screening while still maintaining their award/s.

6. A film will only be eligible for the jury competition if the film is properly submitted via the FilmFreeway platform. We support independent film and encourage all genres to enter. The BFF will not refund any fees if the filmmaker fails to submit the film in the correct category. Films submitted without the correct fees or proper submission media may be deemed ineligible at the discretion of the BFF programming director or executive director.

7. The festival does not cover any of the expenses incurred by the filmmaker. The festival does not pay any screening fees.

8. After a film has been accepted as a Finalist (also known as an Official Selection), it will be eligible for public screening at the live festival. However, festival entries upgraded to Finalist or Winner status late in the process may not have the option for public screening.

9. It is the filmmaker's responsibility to deliver screening media by November 15 in the required format (listed below). Our screening team does not provide any written feedback/critique. Jury deliberations are confidential. If film contains nudity, we may have to limit screening to certain audiences.

10. Category Winner will receive an official BFF Trophy.

11. The festival does not pay any screening fees to filmmakers/producers. Films that are selected to screen with us will have the opportunity to opt-out of their screening while still maintaining their award/s if there is a conflict with another festival or event. A filmmaker can withdraw the film from the festival at any time.

12. A filmmaker will not be reimbursed for the submission fee if they decide to withdraw the submission.

13. LIABILITY. Although every possible care will be taken with tapes, films, drives, and files while in our possession, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage. Do not send original or master prints, tapes, files or drives. Please keep the BFF notified of any address/phone number changes.

14. BFF may without advance notice amend festival dates and/or Rules & Terms. Each and every such amendment shall become effective immediately. It is your responsibility to periodically check for updates to these Rules & Terms. Festival honors may be rescinded due to violations of the festival's terms or for ethical reasons.

15. Every festival participant will receive at least 2 automatic notifications via FilmFreeway/Blowup mail server:
Mandatory Notifications:
1. Submission confirmation.
2. Project status change.
Optional Notifications:
3. Award decision
4. Screening schedule


1. Specify your Country of Origin, Address, eMail, and Phone.

2. Upload an official trailer or poster, synopsis, and a link to your film. We accept all genres in any language, from around the world. Please select the correct category, while submitting to avoid disqualification. Also, we reserve the right to re-assign film to an appropriate category.

3. If your film's status is Finalist, we require one of these formats delivered to us within one week of your "finalist" status notification:

- DCP: both 2K or 4K (physical media only).
- We cannot provide file conversion services
- More info at!screener-formats.html

4. All costs for shipping of the screening media to the festival are the responsibility of the sender.

Overall Rating
  • Honored to have had our work selected - very thoughtful programming! Communication was excellent throughout the process. Many thanks!

    April 2024
  • Brad Gallagher

    Thank you for selecting "Artifact" as a Semifinalist. Blow-Up Arthouse Filmfest is an outstanding festival for unusual films.

    January 2024
  • We had a great time being part of this festival. Thank you for selecting our work!

    January 2024
  • Dien Vo

    Very communicative team, and so glad that there are still a few fests out there dedicated to arthouse. Thank you, best best wishes!

    January 2024
  • Charlie Balsar

    Was honored to be awarded as an Outstanding Arthouse Film and be named as a finalist for Best Student Film! The screening was lovely and you can tell the people who put this together truly care. Thank you!

    January 2024