Chicago Comedy Film Festival is an international festival. We aim to showcase films that are both humorous and poignant. Comedy often has difficulty competing against other genres in the film festival circuit. The Chicago Comedy Film Festival is a welcoming environment for both experienced and first time comedy filmmakers. What our fest offers:

* An organized, legit festival (we do not screen in some dive bar or in the basement of our production house) We're bring you really opportunities that you'll only get at the top ranked film festivals.
* A festival staff that cares about your work and success. We're filmmakers too! (But we never screen our own work, our staff's projects or close friend's films because that is not fair to everyone that pays to submit)
* We have a management deal with YouTube Studio, Collab. If you want to learn more about YouTube success, we're the fest. Our channel here:
* A strong alumni network. We do LA events often.
* Introductions to Chicago press and Chicago film reviewers from Chicago Film Critics and other publications
*We're the only Chicago festival to premiere an Oscar nominated film. Why Do I Have to Take Care of Everything
* Networking with some of the world's funniest filmmakers, celebs, comedians
* We send out three submission waivers PER MONTH through our newsletter, first come first serve.
* Top Female Filmmaker (since our first year in 2010) and Diverse Voices in Comedy Awards as well as top awards in all categories.
* Be seen and talk to Cow Lamp Films, independent film distributor. And another distributor being added for 2018.
* Sometimes we have cookie or beer sponsors

Mission Statement: To support comedy as a vital and influential art form.

Our partner film festival: Chicago Independent Film (+TV) Festival (submit on FilmFreeway)


The Second City's Harold Ramis Film School-APPLY>>

The Harold Ramis Film School is the only film school in the world focused entirely on comedy. We educate writers, performers, directors, and filmmakers through the collaborative styles of comedic content creation embraced by The Second City and alumnus Harold Ramis.

“I look for the meaning in what’s funny, and I look for what’s funny about things that are meaningful to me.” – Harold Ramis

Have a viral video? Submit here:

Got America's next big reality show hit? Go here:

Top Award recognition(s) and Audience Choice in each category as well as
Top Overall Female Filmmaker (since 2011) and Diverse Voices in Comedy Award (starting in 2018)

Cow Lamp Films will be in attendance at the festival to meet with filmmakers about distribution. Cow Lamp Films is the first independent film distributor in the Midwest- run by filmmakers, for filmmakers. Based in Chicago, with an office in LA, the Cow Lamp family represents many up-and-coming filmmakers and is always looking to represent new artists.

* We only screen Chicago premieres and non distributed films.

*If you fail to inform us that your film is screening in Chicago we have the right to replace your film.

*Our team does research films for inaccurate descriptors (age of film, whether it has screened in Chicago, has distribution, whether it has already been up online for free-not including web series).

*You may submit to our festival and once accepted tell us that you have already gotten distribution. If you inform us within 7 days (by end of day on September 7th) after acceptance there will be no penalty. If you do not notify us of changes within 1 week of acceptance we will charge you a $250 non screening fee.

* Exhibition Specs Accepted: Quicktime files.

* Waiver requests must be accompanied by a trailer or excerpt. We consider waivers early in our screening process and decisions are based on a variety of factors. While we understand submission fees can be costly for filmmakers, there must be a compelling reason for us to waive your fee over everyone else. Please sign up for our monthly newsletter to be part of our monthly waiver lottery.

FURTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS (please read thoroughly before submitting)

Chicago Comedy Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. Payment of submission fee does not guarantee inclusion in our festival. If your film is chosen as an official selection CCFF does not compensate for travel, accommodations, or appearance fees unless otherwise offered. CCFF reserves the right to schedule changes and may at any time revoke a film screening, festival passes, accommodations, and any other filmmaker agreements for any reason. Films with theatrical release prior to festival dates will not be accepted. ONLINE SCREENERS ONLY. Once the film is accepted to Chicago Comedy Film Festival, DIGITAL COPIES and PRESS SCREENERS (DVD) will be required. The committee reserves the right to rescind any screening engagement if the film is not delivered on time. Chicago Comedy Film Festival holds your screeners in a secure fashion and takes the filmmakers rights very seriously. Please note that technical glitches will not be adjusted during the screening of your film. Your screener must be in final format upon acceptance and filmmakers will not be allowed to have private technical meetings with the projectionist due to CCFF contractual rules with the theater. 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 and regulations. Upon acceptance, CCFF may offer contract options to join the CCFF Youtube network and/or work with CCFF digital partners as CCFF. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Chicago Comedy Film Festival 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.

If accepted and notified, project head has 10 (ten) business days to notify the festival if they intend to NOT screen or a $500 (US) fee will be charged back to the filmmaker. (This is to cover booking and scheduling issues)

Screenplay Competition Rules:

1. The Chicago Comedy Film Festival Screenplay Contest is an international competition open to entrants from around the world.

2. Adults 18 and over may enter.

3. Multiple submissions are allowed. Each script must be submitted separately with its own entry registration and entry fee. Submissions of the same script may also be entered under separate categories using our online entry form.

4. Submissions should be full-length feature screenplays (usually 80 to 120 pages) and formatted as a standard motion picture screenplay. Correct formatting is most easily achieved by using screenwriting software built for industry standards. Books are also available that demonstrate the proper format. Do not show any personal information within the interior pages of the submitted script (name, address, etc). Contact information may appear on the cover or title page only. Remember to number your pages, but you do not need to number your scenes. This is not a production script.

5. Submissions must be original screenplays written solely for the big or small screen unless adapted from source material written by the submitting author(s) or with the permission of the author of said source material. Adaptions from material found in the Public Domain are also acceptable.

6. The purpose of this contest is to judge entries solely on the quality of the writing itself. Do not submit with your script any pitches, log lines, synopses, testimonials, casting recommendations, trailers, links or any other documentation wishing to support your entry. Such material received will be ignored.

7. Be sure your screenplay is perfect upon submission. No revisions, new pages, missing pages or any other alterations to the entry will be accepted once the contestant has completed the submission process. Any revised scripts you wish to submit will need to be submitted as a new and separate entry.

8. All authors of any submission must be listed in the online entry process. Up to 4 authors may be listed and only a single entry fee is required for the script. The first author listed should be considered the primary contact. Upon submitting the entry, all authors listed agree to the terms of the contest.

9. Scripts must be entered as a PDF

10. All rights to submitted screenplays are retained by their author(s). Entry to the contest does not convery or transfer any rights to us whatsover. Although not a requirement, we recommend that all screenplays should be registered and/or copyrighted by the author(s) with an appropriate agency before submission. No submissions will be returned to the author(s) so be sure not to lose your file and ask us for a backup.

11. It is acknowledged that similar concepts, ideas, stories, characters or other elements may be embodied in more than one submission and that any overlap of such reasonably shared concepts, ideas, stories, characters or other elements do not entitle any entrant to any compensation or credit.

12. It is acknowledged that any and all submissions are original work of the author(s) listed and is not in violation of any copyright laws, trademarks, intellectual property rights or basic ethical standards of amateur or professional writing. Any entry found to be in violation of the above or to be proven to be plagiarized in any way will be immediately disqualified. Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, as well as our employees, partners, owners, and affliiates, from all claims and liabilities and we shall in no way be held liable for any such legal action that results from unlawful or restricted submissions. The Chicago Comedy Film Festival reserves the right to make any necessary changes to scheduling.

13. The winning script will have a staged reading at the 9th annual Chicago Comedy Film Festival. The staged reading will be a produced by the Chicago Comedy Film Festival.

Overall Rating
  • Mario Corry

    This Film Festival is top notch. Great communication with filmmaker. The people that run this wonderful festival couldn't be more accommodating. Had a blast!

    November 2018
    Ccff new logo v3
    Response from festival:

    We had a blast with you Mario! Thanks for attending from the great city of New York!

  • Brianne Nord-Stewart

    I submitted to CCFF because a filmmaker who had attended the year before swore by the festival saying it was one of the best run festivals and that they really take care of their filmmakers.

    Going into the festival, I knew it was going to be very small and intimate based on the location and the schedule, but I had high hopes on the "they really take care of their filmmakers". Sadly, this was not my experience.

    I can't imagine there were a ton of out of town guests, and even if there were, no one from the festival introduced themselves to me. None of the organizers said hello to me or my writer who flew in from LA. Except the photographer.

    On the last day of the festival I had to ask for the podcast people to talk to me – where as other filmmakers seemed to have been scheduled by the organizers, but I could be wrong – and I'm pretty sure that was my only one on one interaction with an organizer

    So overall I'm personally happy I went because it was my first time visiting Chicago, but as a filmmaker, the dollar investment to attend the festival was not remotely worth it.

    I hope that this was an anomaly experience, but I'm not super confident that it was.


    I’m not sure the air can be cleared after this back and forth, but thought I would try. I wasn’t trying to make anyone defensive but I understand that is a consequence of receiving negative feedback.

    In giving a review of the festival I wasn’t wasn't trying to bad mouth the festival, I just wanted to share my experience which was that it seemed unimportant and unregarded that our team was even in attendance. I have been to many many film festivals over the years, both big and small, and in my experience the size of the festival and the team has nothing to with the ability to be acknowledged by someone. It might not be the festival director, it could be a volunteer, but someone usually says “thanks for being here. We really appreciate it”. You mentioned the screener request in your follow up, which I didn’t mention it in my review because it didn’t play into my feedback. It’s completely fair for the festival not be able to change a screener so close to the festival. I’m happy that it was teched beforehand as I don’t think all fests do that!

    Yes, your staff (photographer and security person) did speak to me in the filmmakers lounge, but I was always the one who initiated it. I would have loved to talk to the organizers from the get go to get acquainted with the festival and the city but I really was not sure who those people are. It was only at the awards when the female MC was on the stage that I realized she must be an organizer. I believe she also did our Q&A which was very well done. But there was still no formal introduction or discussion or a “thank you for being here”. Maybe this seems trivial to your team, but it’s really important to indie filmmakers travelling on their own dime to feel like it matters that they are there to represent their work.

    And as far as not winning an award, of course it’s always disappointing not to win! But it’s most often the case that we don’t win. I’m a very experienced non-winner! There are only a couple of awards and many more films and filmmakers and never enough to go around. I’m not sure what exactly was said to you by the other filmmakers, and I’m not asking you to tell me, but in my conversations I was just speaking my opinion regarding the choices that were made. That doesn't mean my work should be the winner, but I am allowed to think different films than what was chosen were more worthy.

    I know it’s hard work to put on a festival and that’s why I didn’t score it lower. Of course you can disagree. I do hope that the outcome of this back and forth is that next year selected filmmakers don’t fall through the welcome wagon cracks. They deserve to be thanked for their efforts, as do you. Thank you for selecting and showing our work at the festival this year.

    I wish you all the best and continued success in the future.

    November 2018
    Ccff new logo v3
    Response from festival:

    Hi Brianne, thank you for your feedback. We would never want anyone to leave feeling badly or unappreciated. That is never our intention!

    There were 200 out of town filmmakers who attended but the founders remember speaking to you in the dedicated filmmaker lounge, the after party on Saturday, and we enjoyed a great Q&A after with you and your writer and our staff about your film as well! Glad we were able to rearrange things with our generous media sponsor to get you on the podcast too! :) Sorry if we let you down! From our end we enjoyed having you!

    We see we gave you a discount code last season. We give all of our alumni fee waivers to submit to future fests. If you have more projects don’t hesitate to reach out so we can accommodate you!

    The CCFF Folks

  • Neal Fischer

    Had a wonderful time at this festival. It's run by passionate filmmakers, and designed for passionate filmmakers!

    February 2018
    Ccff new logo v3
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Neal! Good to have you back again this year!

  • Chris Deir

    The absolute best festival I've ever been a part of. Brent and his crew really know how to put together a festival. It was professional, organized, and highly entertaining. I was so happy to see my film on the big screen. And it was great to share that moment with my friends and family. Thank you to the CCFF crew!

    December 2017
    Ccff new logo v3
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Chris!

  • Julia Mercer

    This festival is extremely well organized and had some amazing films as well! Def would recommend submitting or attending!

    November 2017
    Ccff new logo v3
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Julia!