Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (BWiFF) is a not-for-profit organization based in the greater Chicagoland area. The festival seeks out bold and innovative filmmakers that utilize story elements in a new and exciting way, presenting character-driven independent cinema that is fueled by the filmmaker's passion for the art without large studio support.

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival will be presenting its 2017 festival from August 3 - 11 at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. In 2016, the festival exhibited over 30 films from around the globe that competed for a variety of awards that ranged in genre, production, performance and audience categories.

Each film selected for exhibition and competition is screened in one theater over the course of eight days. Judges experience each film for the first time along with the audience. During the festival's week-long run, filmmakers are encouraged to attend and participate in live Q&A's moderated by a festival judge, enjoy meals with pass holders and partake in any potential panels. Each accepted feature filmmaker will receive two festival passes. Each accepted short, music video and series pilot filmmaker will receive one festival pass.

The Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival continues to build a reputation for exhibiting rare and compelling independent films while bridging the gap between the film-goer and the filmmaker.

Awards & Prizes

Best of Fest
Audience Favorite
Best of Illinois
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Documentary Short
Best Music Video
Best Experimental
Best Animation
Best Director
Best Screenplay
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Editing
Best Sound
Best Cinematography
Best Production Design
Best Original Score

Rules & Terms

All discount submissions must be postmarked no later than Friday, December 16, 2016. All early submissions must be postmarked no later than Friday, February 24, 2017. All regular submissions must be postmarked no later than Friday, March 17, 2017. All late submissions must be postmarked no later than Friday, April 7, 2017. Any submissions postmarked after the final deadline will be considered for the following year's festival.

The festival does not enforce any category subject restrictions. Films can be of any style or genre. Above all, BWiFF seeks strong, passionate, unique storytelling. Each submission is carefully considered solely on its own merit by the festival programming committee.

Any and all submissions for the 2017 festival must have been completed no earlier than January 2014.

Film producers are responsible for all insurance and shipment costs. Although due care will be exercised and staff will contact the submitter in the event a defective disc is received, BWiFF cannot assume any liability for damage to entries. Submissions will not be returned. Every effort will be made to send notifications by June 23, 2017. Due to the high volume of entries received, possible e-mail complications, or inaccurate information provided by the submitter some notifications may not be received by the official notification date. BWiFF will not be liable in any manner for the failure of notification. If you have not received notification by June 23, 2017, we encourage you to please contact our programming department at

Entrants must agree to all Entry Terms and Conditions, which also includes deadline and entry material requirements. Please read all Entry Terms and Conditions in their entirety as submission fees are non-refundable. The Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (BWiFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition for promotional purposes (limited to the season in which the film was submitted).

(1) Non-English language produced films must have English subtitles or be dubbed in English. Submission DVDs will not be returned. BWiFF is not liable for any submission shipping costs or screening fees.

(2) By submitting, the filmmaker grants BWiFF non-exclusive permission to exhibit the film (if selected).

(3) Only NTSC DVD (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-R DL or DVD+R DL) or Online Screener submissions will be accepted. All DVD entries must be submitted and postmarked no later than the extended deadline on April 28, 2017. It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to ensure that the DVD or Blu-ray submitted plays in its entirety on an industry-standard DVD or Blu-ray player prior to submitting it to the Festival.

(4) BWiFF is not responsible for any packaging or shipping costs in the return of exhibition copies and/or other promotional materials. Although due care will be exercised and staff will contact the entrant in the event a defective disc is received, BWiFF cannot assume any liability for damage to entries. If the entrant has not received notification that their submission was received by June 23, 2017, it is the responsibility of the entrant to contact our programming department.

(5) Electronic press kits (which should include film stills, director(s) photos, brief director bio, producer(s) photos, brief producer bio, synopsis and production credits) are encouraged and must be submitted by the applicable deadline. In the event they are not, BWiFF reserves the right to secure substitute materials from other sources. All hard copy photos provided must be clearly identified on the back. Promotional materials will not be returned and may be used for any festival marketing.

(6) Filmmaker shall indemnify and hold harmless Blue Whiskey Independent 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 submission materials entered. Selected films and their respective filmmakers agree to participate in the publicity for the festival as well as other promotional opportunities. Festival staff may require a high resolution Quicktime trailer (or 30 second clip) and social media info (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc). This media will be used to promote the individual films at the festival.

(7) If filmmaker's work is not selected for competition, filmmaker agrees to allow the festival the option to include film in the Blue Whiskey Cinema series held monthly between August and June following the annual festival. If filmmaker's work is not selected for festival competition, the festival does not guarantee acceptance to the Blue Whiskey Cinema series.

(8) Accepted filmmakers who plan on attending the Festival are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and all other expenses. Each accepted feature film will receive two festival passes. Each accepted short film and music video will receive one festival pass.

(9) All of the above submission eligibility guidelines and general rules are subject to change by the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival without notice.

6 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Grant Mason

    Fantastic film festival run by people who really seem to care about making the experience rewarding for filmmakers and audiences. We had one of our best film festival experiences with this festival, with great communication from them.

    September 2016
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    Ian Simpson

    Well-run, highly organized festival with attentive, friendly staff. Couldn't have asked for a better experience!

    August 2016
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    Megan St. John

    We loved our time at BWiFF! Fun and friendly people, and an awesome selection of films. It's great to see a fest like this in Illinois, and we're looking forward to next year's event!

    August 2016
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    Mailuki Films

    Definitely, one of the most coolest Film Festivals in the World and, personally, top 5 favorites in USA.
    We will submit a lot of new shorts next year.

    August 2016
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    Matthew Weinstein

    Not only was the presentation and the overall film selection awesome, but everyone on the staff really made it worthwhile!

    August 2016