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 is a non-profit tax exempt organization.

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 support and inspire independent film and theatre 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

- 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 or Film Journalism
Founder's 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 2016 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, 2013 regardless of content, subject, or origin. Submitting your film to the 2016 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 we do not offer application fee waivers.

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 2016 BFF 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 a few runner-ups will be publicly screened at the festival.

9. An official selection and a nominee 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. We may also be screen some runner-ups if we have a time slot available. The festival sends a notification to a filmmaker only is the status of the submission changes.

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.

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. The required screener format is ProRes (recommended) or DCP: both 2K or 4K. We can also screen 16-mm and 35-mm film. You would have to ship us physical media: we do not accept downloads. All costs for shipping screening materials are the responsibility of the sender. Festival pays for the return shipping.

Overall Rating
  • false
    Jarrod Hachey

    My favorite time of every year is Blow-Up. I'm always beyond grateful for their respect and support. Worth the submission fee every time!

    January 2018
  • false
    Festival Formula Ltd

    A superb festival which fell in love with our clients film as much as we did - we currently have the Best Experimental International Film award sitting in our office to pass on to the filmmakers. Great line-up, reasonable submission fees, and a dedicated audience. Love it!

    December 2017
  • false
    Kalee Forsythe

    My film was selected and I didn't know until after the festival! Such a bummer! Might have been a glitch with Film Freeway, but I never received an e-mail from BLOW-UP. Seems like it would have been a great festival, looking forward to submitting my next project.

    December 2017
    Bff fb logo
    Response from festival:

    Dear Kalee, we think there is no glitch. Everyone gets an automatic email notification of submission status change - this built into the Filmfreeeway submission platform. In addition, we have also emailed everyone links: The List of Award Winners, Official Selection/Nominations List, The 2017 Festival Screening Program. So we've sent you at least two communications. Perhaps your spam filters took care of them. Congratulations on Official Selection and we hope to have your next film!

  • false
    Liz Holland

    I was selected as an "Official Selection" for the BLOW-UP film festival and, although I did not screen at the festival, I was always communicated with and given updates by the festival. It is an honor to have my name on their website and I am excited to have been a part of a festival like this!

    November 2017
  • false
    stephen cookson

    A great festival who support unusual hard to finance movies that need exposure to find their audience. Great work!

    November 2017