CUFF Is Hiring! Join the crew and make underground film history!


The Chicago Underground Film Festival, the longest running underground film festival in the world, is gearing up for its 25th year. We're looking for an enthusiastic collaborator and organizational genius to be the festival coordinator. The coordinator is a key member of the event production team. 

Please email to apply. Application deadline is January 20, 2018

Festival Coordinator

The CUFF Festival Coordinator (FC) is responsible for the coordinating, executing and wrapping operations and venue, screening, financial and personnel logistics of the festival and oversees all departments. The FC is responsible for tracking all information in the Google drive and disseminating logistical information to CUFF and IFP Chicago staff and volunteers. The FC is the main contact in regards to CUFF’s operations so this position requires the utmost professionalism as well as supreme organization, communication and time management.

The FC is a seasonal, but full-time position during the festival, scheduled to begin February 1, 2018 and end June 30, 2018. The FC reports to CUFF’s Artistic Director and Executive Director.
The FC will prepare a festival wrap report and will coordinate a post-festival exit interview with CUFF’s Artistic Director and Executive Director.
Responsibilities include:

Planning and administration
● Support CUFF’s Artistic Director and Executive Director in planning, management and execution
of all festival logistics
● Plan and execute pre-festival events, screenings and fundraisers, including gallery shows, CUFF satellite screenings and the kick-off fundraiser.
● Recruit, train, and coordinate staff, volunteers and interns
● Lead planning and training meetings with festival staff and volunteers.
● Work with festival staff to secure venues, coordinate event logistics, including transportation,
food, providing event materials and supplies, securing equipment as needed.
● Ship prints, drives, awards, and any other materials after the festival.


Department management

● Work with the Hospitality Manager to coordinate travel & accommodations for
filmmakers/jurors/special guests
● Work with Volunteer Manager, along with other key staff positions, to determine how many volunteers are needed for each day and event, and to ensure they are properly trained and scheduled. Update and distribute Volunteer Handbook.
● Collect volunteer forms/contracts, W9s and other necessary paperwork.
● Work with Sponsorship Manager to manage festival advertising & sponsorships execution
● Compile data to create sponsorship deck.
● Work with the Parties/Special Events Manager to coordinate pre-production of special events and on-site management including liquor deliveries, sponsor needs and venue requirement.
● Coordinate with Tech Director on necessary personnel and equipment requirements.
● Put together spreadsheets for tech and the theater, listing exhibition format, duration, theater #, and other pertinent information needed by tech staff and the theater’s staff.

Financial management
● Coordinate with bookkeeper to set-up clients and vendors in QuickBooks, create invoices for sponsors and advertisers.
● Collect invoices from all individuals, venues and organizations/businesses that we need to pay, and work with ED and Treasurer to make sure payments are made according to our agreement with the individuals, venues and organizations/businesses.
● Keep details of all merchandise sold, and reconcile merch reports with cash and card sales for each day and event.
● Count money at end of day or next morning with box office manager and deposit into the bank. Provide details on what is ticket sales vs. filmmaker merch vs. CUFF merch sold.
● Work with festival staff on getting reports following the festival on attendance, tickets sold vs. comp tickets given away, party attendance and ticket/drink sales, and any other information that needs to be collected.
Marketing, communication and outreach
● Assist in gathering materials and copy for program book and other marketing items.
● Oversee preparation of festival program book and content
● Assist with promotional outreach, including distribution of marketing materials and coordinating community outreach
● Work with Artistic Director to plan screenings and informational class visits to local universities, reaching out to colleges and universities to visit classrooms to show work from past years, talk about what CUFF does, and ways for students to get involved.
● Work with artist to get various designs for t-shirts, web use, buttons and other things as necessary.
● Work with festival photographers to ensure they are taking photos required for sponsors and promotion of the festival.
● Assist in all other festival areas as necessary

Final Deadline Submit to the 25th Chicago Underground Film Festival is January 5, 2018

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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.


  • 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."


GIRL WITH CHILD wins "The Pitch" at Industry Days!

Congratulations to Girl With Child:
The 2017 Winner of "The Pitch" at Industry Days!

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We would like to congratulate Girl With Child for winning this year's "The Pitch" at Industry Days, co-produced with the Chicago International Film Festival. Five diverse and incredibly strong projects presented a 7-minute pitch during Sunday's live competition. This year's judges were Amy Hobby, Vice President of Artist Programs at Tribeca Film Institute, Aijah Keith, Acquisitions Manager of IFC Films and Sundance Selects, and Brian Hieggelke, Editor & Publisher of Newcity. The event demonstrated the breadth of talented filmmakers here in Chicago, and the judges faced a very difficult decision in choosing a winner. We are proud of all five teams that pitched and are looking forward to following their progress.

You can read more about each project here.

Left to right: Louis Ferrara (Illinois Film Office), Maria Abraham & Luz Agudelo Gipson ( Girl With Child ), Luke Boyce ( Revival ), Eugene Sun Park & Alex Heller ( The Year Between ), Sara Archambault ( Rainbow Farm ), Haroula Rose ( Once Upon A River ), J.P. Sniadecki ( Rainbow Farm )

Left to right: Louis Ferrara (Illinois Film Office), Maria Abraham & Luz Agudelo Gipson (Girl With Child), Luke Boyce (Revival), Eugene Sun Park & Alex Heller (The Year Between), Sara Archambault (Rainbow Farm), Haroula Rose (Once Upon A River), J.P. Sniadecki (Rainbow Farm)