2013 Call for Entries
Film illuminates the world. It opens our eyes. It shows us things we don't see every day, makes us feel things we don't always feel. For 48 years, we've been committed to discovering some of the most exciting film the world has to offer…yours!
Across countries, languages and classes, film has the power to provide us with a release, an escape, a window into new worlds and new possibilities. In 2012, we presented 127 feature films, including 21 feature-length documentaries, and 50 short subject films from more than 55 countries. Many of these films participated in competitive sections, where the highest honor is the Gold Hugo - a standard of excellence in the world of film and a true symbol of discovery.
When we started the Chicago International Film Festival 49 years ago, we had one simple goal: to introduce Chicago and the world to new filmmakers, new stories and new points of view. We've shown first feature films by world-renowned directors like Martin Scorsese (USA), Peter Weir (Australia), Mike Leigh (UK), Gregory Nava (USA), Bertrand Tavernier (France), Jan Troell (Sweden), Joe Swanberg (USA), and Wim Wenders (Germany). Last year I'm proud to say we stuck to that mission more than ever by showing over 40 films by first-time filmmakers. It's important to us that we're always learning, always seeing the world in a new way.
For our 49th year, we want to discover something new, and that all starts with you, the filmmaker.
Show us something new, share your stories with us.
Founder and Artistic Director
COMPETITIONS AND PROGRAM SECTIONS
Films are programmed for public screening in a diverse selection of competitions and categories. Each film is presented in one or more of the following sections and is placed at the discretion of the programming committee.
International Feature Film Competition
Representing a wide variety of styles and genres, these works compete for the Festival’s top honor, the Gold Hugo—as well as awards for best actors, director, and writer—in North America’s longest-running competitive film festival.
New Directors Competition
This selection of first and second feature films receiving their U.S. premiere in Chicago celebrates the spirit of discovery and innovation upon which the Festival was founded. To be eligible for the competition, films may not have U.S. distribution and must be a U.S. premiere if selected for the Festival.
Real stories, real people, real emotions. This selection of international documentaries competing for the Gold Hugo go beyond the headlines in telling those true stories that surprise, entertain, and challenge us. To be eligible for the competition, films must be U.S. premieres if selected for the Festival.
Short Film Competition
Annually showcasing the best short films from around the globe, this competition highlights the work of both upcoming artists and established masters in the short subject form. The winner of the Short Film Competition is eligible to be considered by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for the Academy Awards®.
After Dark Competition
Gathering genre films from horror and thrillers to edgy animation and dark comedy, this competitive section showcases films not often presented in the Festival context for the chill seekers and lovers of camp.
A mix of classic narratives and cutting edge forms, this program offers a snapshot of the contemporary cinematic landscape. Serving up the sights, sounds and stories from cultures around the globe, the films represent the latest from established masters, festival award winners, box-office hits, and hidden gems.
Now in its 17th year, this program, created through a collaboration with director Spike Lee, showcases films that celebrate the richness and diversity of black cultures around the world and the filmmakers responsible for them.
Cinema of the Americas
From the Bahamas and Panama to Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, this program spotlights the fresh and vibrant work of emerging and established filmmakers from South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
City & State
Illinois has a rich filmmaking tradition second to none. This program showcases the best features, documentaries, and short films with their roots right here in Illinois. Films in this program are eligible for the Chicago Award.
From the edgy to the tender, these bold LGBT-themed films fearlessly exhibit new artistic perspectives on sexuality.
Spotlighting the contribution that female writers and directors continue to make to film around the world, this program features films as diverse as the women who made them.
The Chicago International Film Festival's commitment to presenting the films of cinematically significant regions of the world continues with this showcase of innovative works and exciting new voices from Africa Cinema. This program is made possible by a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
With the remarkable ability to translate across different cultures and eras, comedy has been an integral part of film history from the very beginning. From Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, and the Marx brothers to Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow, audiences have been united by the universal experience of gathering in a theater and laughing together. This year, the Chicago International Film Festival will celebrate this tradition by highlighting the comedic side of our program in a brand new Comedy section.