The annual Festival Au Cinema is Haven Chicago's platform for emerging and visionary media artists staking their claim in the future of storytelling, defying traditional conventions of genre and form. This new initiative aligns with Haven's overall organizational mission to "embolden visionary artists to practice and hone their craft by providing an equitable haven of opportunity for the creation of innovative performance, theatre, and media arts."

Festival Au Cinema welcomes original video submissions in categories including, but not limited to, creative narrative features and short films, screenplays, documentary, animations, experimental media, and music videos.

Haven Chicago will award creatives who deliver excellence in the following categories:

- Best Picture, awarded to the overall best-in-show
- Best Director, awarded to greatest achievement in directing
- Best Script, awarded to greatest achievement in writing
- Best Performance, awarded to greatest achievement in acting
- Best Friend, awarded to audience favorite
- Best Technical Art, awarded to greatest achievement in creative technical work

Each award will receive complimentary admission to Haven Chicago for the 2023 Gala.

The following rules govern all film submissions to Festival Au Cinema
(“or the “Festival” from Haven Chicago)

- Submissions must be accompanied by the applicable submission fee of $25 PER ENTRY and a completed online entry form. All films must be in English or have English subtitles at the time submitted.

- Films must be submitted as an online streaming video via a participating submission platform (FilmFreeway), a password-protected streaming URL, or on DVD with NTSC or PAL formatting (please test before sending).

- In the event of a password change or link change after submitting, you must email Haven Chicago immediately with that change so we may update your record. If the Festival is not notified of the change and the link is found to be inactive or the password to be incorrect, the submission may be deemed ineligible.

- Festival Au Cinema screens films as digital files during the Festival and does NOT screen films on Blu-Ray, HD-CAM, or DCP.

- Films must be available for screening during the Festival Au Cinema, September 22nd - 24th, 2023

- Films that have been submitted to Festival Au Cinema in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted, provided they are eligible according to all of the current rules.

- Films with US distribution (obtained prior to being selected for Festival Au Cinema screening) or films produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition, but may be considered for a special screening. Selection for screening will be determined no later than one month prior to the festival. Films that have screened on US network or cable television or distributed to theaters prior to the festival dates are also ineligible for competition.

- Haven Chicago reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.

- Films that are selected to screen at the Festival may not necessarily be selected to be “in competition” for awards purposes. Notifications regarding potential selection for competition status possibly may occur subsequent to notifications of acceptance for exhibition.

- Films must be the original work of the applicants. If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights.

- Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. Haven Chicago expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing.

- Films that have not received a full color edit, or sound edit are eligible for submission. Haven Chicago prefers picture-locked submissions for the consideration process. Haven’s focus is on story, technical changes such as color or sound will not affect the final decision of any film. Should the film be accepted to play during the Festival, the filmmaker will have the opportunity to supply the Festival with their most recent version.

- Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by Haven Chicago in connection with the dispute.

- You MUST include your physical address either in your entry or in your cover letter. Please do not submit a film without giving us your address, which we need for our records. Payments made with a check are subject to our Bounced Check Policy: If we receive a returned check from our bank for a payment you made, you will be invoiced for the original amount of the check plus a $25 bounced check fee. The payment of the invoiced amount will be due within 30 days of invoice date. We will not re-submit the original check, nor will we accept another check for repayment. Repayment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.

- Please include in submission if your film was SHOT IN CHICAGO/ILLINOIS (include locations) or made by Chicago/ILLINOIS filmmakers.

- Haven Chicago has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.

- Haven Chicago explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by Haven Chicago or by its volunteers.
Winners will be announced during the film festival. The judges’ decision is final.

- DVDs and press materials will not be returned under any circumstances. Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgment of the receipt of your entry.