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 the 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, Norshteyn.

- 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 a hybrid event: an awards competition and a festival with two days of public screening of award-winning films. It is open to any film completed after January 1, 2016 regardless of content, subject, or origin. Submitting your film to the BFF is not a guarantee of selection. All the Official selection, Nominees, and the Winners will be listed on our website. 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 rights 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 fees and forms are submitted with the film. We support independent film and encourage all genres to enter.

7. 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. 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 into Official Selection, the filmmaker will be notified, and eventually, the film will be listed on the festival website under Official Selections. 'Accepted' (Official Selection) status means your film is included in the competition section of the BFF and you are now eligible for a nomination/award. Only the award-winning films and some short film finalists will be publicly screened at the festival. It is filmmaker's responsibility to deliver screening media by October 20 in the required format (listed below). Our screening team does not provide any written feedback/critique. Jury deliberations are confidential.

9. An official selection will be privately screened for the BFF judging panel, and if it wins its category, it will be screened to the public. The screening categories include Best Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Animation, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Student Film, Best Experimental Film. The festival sends a notification to a filmmaker only is the status of the submission changes vial Filmfreeway automated system.

10. “Best” films of each category 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 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.


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. For theatrical screening we require one of these formats delivered to us by October 21:
- Apple ProRes: 1920 x 1080 video + uncompressed 24-bit stereo (upload or USB drive).
- DCP: both 2K or 4K (physical media only).
- 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
  • Geska Helena Brecevic

    I attended the festival in 2018 with Dreaming The Memories of Now which was awarded the Dziga Vertov Award, and it was a truly delightful experience, I am very happy I was able to attend! Everything from communication to the hospitality and generosity of the organizers, the delicious dinner for all filmmakers and jurors in an Italian restaurant and the cocktail following the screening made the filmmakers feel really appreciated. Submit and go if you can!

    March 2019
  • One of the actors had a family member in Chicago who bought tickets for every member of their firm and all went to see the screening. They came away believing our movie was an experience but we knew it was the atmosphere this festival provided the audience.

    January 2019
  • Francesca Penzani

    I wasn't able to fly to Chicago, but I am deeply grateful and honored that DOUBLE UP was part of your festival. A truly independent Spirit. All my deepest wishes for a continuous success of your events.

    December 2018
  • Although we did not attend BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Fest in Chicago, we were honored to have been a "final selection" and earn our first laurel.
    The times I reached out to the festival with questions, they replied in a timely fashion and kindness.

    November 2018
  • Francesc Font Andreu

    Very motivational experience thanks to Blowup Film Fest. I could appreciate these festival’s jury have strong values scale related to cinematography art, apart from market pressures. Author work is the first!

    November 2018