Full Spectrum Features and Chicago International Film Festival, in partnership with the Illinois Film Office, present: Shortcuts Short Film Contest.

Illinois Filmmakers who are looking for their next big break are invited to enter their work in the 2020 Shortcuts Contest. Shortcuts is an opportunity for burgeoning Illinois filmmakers to express their creative visions in the short film format. The film business has been part of Illinois from Charlie Chaplin’s first American films, to today’s TV series Chicago Fire, Med, PD, and Empire. Our state is also home to a thriving independent film scene, where filmmakers of all backgrounds can acquire the skills and resources to share their stories with the world. We hope this contest helps nurture new talent and encourage Illinoisans to be part of this exciting industry.

In order to be eligible, entrants must be 1) between the ages of 18 and 22 and 2) Illinois residents or students attending Illinois colleges and universities. The project submission must have been produced between 2018-2019. The winner will receive a $500 cash prize and their film will screen during the 2020 CineYouth Film Festival, Cinema/Chicago’s festival designed to encourage youth filmmakers in their creative endeavors.

Participants may use any format film, video, graphics and/or animation to tell a narrative, documentary or freeform visual expression. Submissions must be 15 minutes or less in running time. All entries will be judged by a panel of film industry professionals.

FULL SPECTRUM FEATURES is a Chicago-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to increasing diversity in the independent film industry by producing, exhibiting, and supporting the work of women, LGBTQ, and minority filmmakers. We also aim to educate the public about important social and cultural issues, utilizing the power of cinema to foster understanding in our communities.

Films not meeting the following rules and regulations will be immediately disqualified without refund of the entry fee.

1. Introduction: The Illinois Short Film Contest, sponsored by the Illinois Film Office, is designed to be an opportunity for Illinois based film makers to showcase their talents. The Contest is designed to foster film production in the state while simultaneously giving filmmakers an opportunity they might otherwise not receive. The format allows for all levels of experience and expertise. All levels of expertise and experience have an equal chance in this competition, so let your creativity flow.

The winning entry will receive a $500 cash prize and premiere at the 2020 Chicago CineYouth Film Festival. Filmmakers are welcome to submit more than one entry. Resubmissions from last year are discouraged, but not prohibited.

2. Film Length, Content, Format & Type: Film entries shall not exceed 15 minutes running time including credits. Participants are welcome to use any format–film, video, graphics, animation–to tell a narrative story, a documentary or free form visual expression of ideas, as long as the submission is suitable for a general audience.

Submissions in a foreign language (non-English) are acceptable if subtitled or dubbed in English.

3. Entrance Fee: There is a $30.00 entrance fee payable with the entrant's submission. Entry fees are non-refundable.

4. Eligibility: The competition is open only to residents of the State of Illinois or students a college/university in Illinois who were between the ages of eighteen (18) years and twenty two (22) in the year the media project was filmed. The project must have been finalized between 2018-2019. Projects produced before 2018 are not eligible. Additionally all entrants must comply with all the rules and regulations governing the contest, including but not limited to the entry form.

5. Prizes: The Winner shall be announced in March 2020 via personal notification and the FilmFreeway portal. The winner shall receive a cash prize plus the chance to screen their film as part of the CineYouth Film Festival. Judges decisions are final.

6. Releases and Copyright: If your film contains any copyrighted material (music for example) the filmmaker will be responsible for securing the licensing rights. To avoid the expense and difficulty of securing licenses, the Illinois Film Office recommends using only
original, non-copyrighted material.

However, if you decide to use copyrighted material, entrants must obtain all necessary licenses and entrants must indemnify and hold harmless the Illinois Film Office from any potential copyright or trademark issues that may arise from the entrant’s use of any material in their films. Any violation of these rules may result in the immediate disqualification of or forfeiture of prizes by the entrant. Submissions made with university or third party funding are welcome, but if someone other than the filmmaker holds the rights to the film, the filmmaker will need to obtain the third party's written permission to submit the film.

7. Judging: The panel of judges will be comprised of professional members of the Illinois film industry to review and judge the submissions. If two or more films are rated equally, the judges will decide a tie-breaker. Judges decisions will be final.

8. Deadline: All submissions must be submitted by the final deadline.

DISCLAIMER: the views expressed in the submissions including the winning entry are not necessarily those of the Illinois Film Office or the judges.