The Chicago Independent (Indie) Film Awards in partnership with the Chicago Movie magazine is devoted to the art of indie filmmaking; a journey of artistic expressionism, compelling narratives and unique forms and voices in filmmaking and screenwriting.

The IMDb qualifying festival celebrates indie U.S. and international film and script projects through its annual and bi-monthly competition. The festival is looking for fiction, documentary, experimental, animation, comedy and all genres of filmmaking which can inspire us, challenge us and make us think.

In addition to being visual, cinema combines most aspects of art; these include symbolism, subject matter, theme and background. Cinema is the most influential form of art since it is the only form in which you can have the largest impact on a wide range of individuals. Our team brings together filmmakers, actors, directors, writers, artists and critics from US, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, United Kingdom and all over the globe in order to network and select the best of each category.

Chicago Indie Film Awards is committed to indie filmmaking and the language of cinema as an art form. Our mission is to inspire & motivate people to discover the world through the art of motion pictures and indie filmmaking.

Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary short
Best Experimental
Best Animation
Best Science Fiction
Best Horror
Best Director
Best Producer
Best Cinematography
Best Editor
Best Actress
Best Actor
Best Script
Best Unproduced script
Best TV Series/Pilot/Web
Best Comedy
Best Student Film
Best Music Video
Best Thriller
Best Trailer
Best Composer
Best First Time Filmmaker
Best Female Filmmaker
Best Indie Film

Films can be available online and still submit to the festival.
Films must have been completed within the past 4 years.
Shorts must be less than 50 minutes.
Chicago Indie Film Awards can use stills, poster, headshots and trailers to promote films and artists.
Entry fees are non refundable.

Overall Rating
  • I am honored and thankful for receiving the Best Cinematography award for my film, A Circle in the Desert. This is a meaningful and much appreciated award to me. I thank you all and I look forward to working with you again in the future!

    November 2022
  • This is a wonderful festival for screenwriters.

    October 2022
  • Great experience with Chicago Indie Film Awards - easy communication, quick turn around, and wonderful exposure. I really appreciate being selected to participate as a feature screenplay for Skull Rock. Thanks again to my Second City!

    September 2022
  • It has been an HONOR to be selected and awarded for Best Experimental Short-Film. Looking forward to be submitting again in the near future.

    September 2022
  • Kathryn Orzech

    I appreciate that CIFA supports new talent and posts winners on their website. I'm grateful and encouraged that ASYLUM was awarded Best Unproduced Script in the 12th Edition festival. The festival is IMDb qualified and a great value.

    September 2022