Call For Entries Now Open for the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival

Now in our 25th year, The Chicago Underground Film Festival, the longest running “underground” film festival in the world, is an internationally recognized program providing a venue for the documentary, experimental and avant-garde narrative film and video. The festival’s mission is to select and screen film, video and related works presenting a diverse line up of moving image programming focusing on filmmakers working to reinvent and explore new approaches to established practices, to foster new forms of media art and to build an audience for such work. Our goal is to achieve these aims by presenting a fun, user-friendly and accessible event..if you suspect your film is “underground,” it probably is.


  • Early Deadline: October 2, 2012 – Entry Fee: Features $35 (Students $25); Shorts $30 (Students $20)
  • Regular Deadline: December 1, 2017– Entry Fee: Features $45 (Students $35); Shorts $35 (Student $25)
  • Late Deadline: January 5, 2018 – Entry Fee: Features $55 (Students $45); Shorts $40 (Student $30)

We accept submissions through our website, FilmFreeway and Withoutabox.

Apply to our Fiscal Sponsorship Program

Become an IFP Chicago Fiscally Sponsored Project:

When you join IFP Chicago's diverse membership, you qualify to apply to our Fiscal Sponsorship Program.

Receiving funding is one of the most challenging parts of independent filmmaking. Many foundations, corporations and governmental grant making organizations restrict funding of independent projects to tax-exempt organizations (aka not-for-profits or 501c3 organizations).

IFP Chicago's Fiscal Sponsorship program was created to assist members applying for these funding opportunities. Additionally, this arrangement enables individuals to take contributions to sponsored projects as charitable contribution deductions on Federal tax returns.

Your project can be anywhere from pre to post production when you apply. Not only do we help you with funding, but we also help mobilize your project through our marketing and social media campaign. There are two easy steps. First, become an IFP Chicago member and start taking advantage of the full spectrum of IFP Chicago member benefits! Second, apply to our fiscal sponsorship program. High five! You're on your way!

We are always here to answer questions, so just contact us!

IFP Chicago is incredibly proud of the cast and crew of SIGNATURE MOVE, one of our fiscally sponsored projects, which had its world premiere at this year's SXSW!

SIGNATURE MOVE is a comedic and heartfelt look at modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms. Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza) is a Pakistani, Muslim lawyer living in Chicago who begins a new romance with Alma (Sari Sanchez), a confident Mexican-American woman. Zaynab’s recently widowed mother Parveen (Shabana Azmi) has moved in and spends her days watching Pakistani TV dramas while searching for a potential husband for her only daughter. Alma’s mother is a former professional Luchadora which Zaynab finds fascinating as she's recently taken up lucha-style wrestling with a former pro wrestler. Zaynab tries to keep her secrets from her mother who knows more than she lets on.

Eugene Park Co-Producer, SIGNATURE MOVE

Eugene Park

About SIGNATURE MOVE's experience as an IFP Chicago Fiscally Sponsored Project:

"Membership in IFP has helped me and my projects in so many ways. The larger community of IFP members and supporters continues to intersect with my own organization's efforts, and I'm so thankful to have such a vibrant independent filmmaking organization in Chicago. IFP's fiscal sponsorship and support for Signature Move's Indiegogo campaign (we raised over $30,000!) was tremendous, and that support has continued beyond the formal crowdfunding campaign."


MAY 10: Member Rough Cut Screening of Emilie Upczak's MOVING PARTS

Wednesday, May 10  |  6:30-8:00pm  |  Tribeca Flashpoint College

Emilie Upczak is an independent filmmaker, originally from Boulder, Colorado. She lived and worked in Trinidad and Tobago over the past 10 years. Emilie’s experimental video installations have been exhibited at PG Contemporary in Houston, AIR Gallery in Brooklyn and the Festival International Signes de Nuit in France, while her short films have played at a number of Caribbean and African Diasporic Film Festivals.

Emilie is currently in post-production on her debut feature, MOVING PARTS, which was shot in Trinidad in 2016 and will be screening as a rough cut on Wednesday, May 10 at Tribeca Flashpoint College. This event is free to IFP Chicago Members. Simply RSVP here to reserve your seat.

Moderated rough cut screenings are an important part of the filmmaking process, and are available to every IFP Chicago member as a resource.

"I became an IFP Chicago member in November and soon thereafter applied for Fiscal Sponsorship, which has enabled me to raise funds through tax deductible donations to complete MOVING PARTS. Their support of the film has been a tremendous boost and I am excited to work with IFP Chicago on future projects." - Emilie Upczak

IFP Chicago launches the PA Essentials Workshop Program! Sign up to be on the waitlist for our next class!

IFP Chicago is thrilled to announce our new PA Essentials Workshop! There has never been a better time to break into the Chicago film and television industry than right now. The city is booming and all types of productions - from big broadcast show to independent films - are looking for reliable people to hire. In this day long course, participants will learn the essential skills needed to become a production assistant, a entry-level position that is the first step to becoming a film professional.

The workshop covers:

  • Set protocols

  • Film Set “Lingo” 

  • Essential Tools (How to build a kit)

  • Walkie etiquette

  • Lock-downs and dealing with the public 

  • Paperwork

  • Set Safety

  • How to find work, get hired and keep getting hired. 

  • And common mistakes of Rookie PAs . .. that you will never make.

If you are interested in enrolling in the workshop,
please email to be added to the waitlist and we will let you know as soon as the next class is scheduled!


For our inaugural course on March 4, 2017, IFP Chicago & Free Spirit Media Pathways teamed up with Anthony Cabral, a working Assistant Director and Director’s Guild of America member to lead the course! The day long course featured instruction from Key PA Justine Marcantel, Assistant Director Stephanie E. Clemons, Director and Producer Heston Charres, Assistant Director Andy Spellman and Office Production Assistant Hayley Mellish. The small group workshop was a fast-paced, hands-on and incredibly fun introduction to the skills and information needed to get a job as a production assistant.

Check out some photos from the March 4 course:

24th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival Poster Released! Pre-order yours now before they're gone!

We are proud to present the official poster of the 24th Chicago Underground Film Festival
designed by Ryan Duggan!

We've only printed 50 of these limited edition, hand signed and numbered screen-printed posters. $30 poster + $10 S&H. Don't wait!

Head here to pre-order yours before they all sell out!

Early bird passes are still on sale!
Grab them before they're gone!

IFP CHICAGO MEMBERS: Remember, you receive an additional 15% off of early bird passes! Email or more information.

See more of Ryan's work here.