CineYouth banner: See the next generation of filmmakers


CineYouth is the Chicago International Film Festival’s annual film festival that showcases short films made by filmmakers 22 years old and younger from around the world. CineYouth encourages the talent of young filmmakers and supports diverse youth voices by providing opportunities to have their work showcased, to learn about filmmaking from industry experts, and to network with their peers. CineYouth 2022 offers both in-theatre and online film screenings, filmmaking workshops, live Q&A’s, and more! All events at CineYouth are FREE and open to the public.

Select award-winning CineYouth films will be screened at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival at the CineYouth “Best of the Fest” screening in October 2022.

CineYouth Festival 2022

See the next generation of filmmakers. CineYouth 2022 presents 71 international short films across 10 programming blocks featuring everything from mind-bending animation to nuanced portraits of finding home to our Opening Night program of new filmmaking voices from the Chicagoland area. Plus, CineYouth presents workshops, live filmmaker Q&As, and more! Tickets and all events are free and open to the public.

Download CineYouth Program BookLearn about CineYouth workshopsAward Winners

A laptop ready to stream a film next to a theeater-style box of popcorn

Streaming globally: April 25 – May 1

CineYouth 2022 film programs will be available to stream globally on the Chicago International Film Festival streaming platform from Monday, April 25 at 12:00pm CT until Sunday, May 1 at 11:59pm CT unless otherwise noted on the film program’s webpage. Once you press play, you’ll have 72 hours to finish watching the program.

To watch, please visit the program details pages available below.

Learn How To Stream

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In-Person Screenings & Events: April 22-24

All in-person screenings, Q&As, and events took place at Facets, a Chicago-based is a nonprofit that connects people to independent ideas through transformative cinema.

2022 Short Film Programs


11 shorts | 85 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

A multitude of artistic approaches give voice to the vibrant cinematic cultures of the Chicagoland area, celebrating the diversity of experience found in our city.*

Learn more

Late Night Thrills

5 shorts | 62 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Strap yourselves in for a hair-raising evening featuring a smorgasbord of darkly comic surprises, sinister thrills, and shocking twists!*

Learn more

Playtime: Animation

10 shorts | 44 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Pack your bags and load up your spaceship! You’ll want to bring the whole family along for these colorful creations from around the world.

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Speak, Memory: Documentary

6 shorts | 52 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Covering subjects from small business owners to rural activists, these documentaries engage us with the personal histories and values of individuals and groups.

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Give Me Strength

7 shorts | 46 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Using the film medium itself as a form of healing, these narratives and documentaries tackle mental health concerns and personal traumas through the restorative process and power of art.*

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A Family Affair

6 shorts | 53 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Paying tribute to the endurance and adaptability of family, these portraits of parents and grandparents acknowledge their strength and resilience over time.

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You Havin’ a Laugh?

6 shorts | 53 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Come get a bellyful of laughs (perhaps some turkey, chips, and hotdogs, too) in these quirky and all around hysterical shorts.*

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Searching for Home

5 shorts | 60 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

These shorts illustrate the emotional challenges and complexities of the immigrant experience and what it takes to call a new country “home.”*

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Living Your Truth

5 shorts | 44 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

In the face of society’s confining norms, the individuals in these films persevere and celebrate their queerness, gender fluidity, and identities.
Learn more

Project a World: Experimental

10 shorts | 45 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Claymation, digital collage, 16mm photography, and triptych displays are but a few of the formal devices out to use in these exciting explorations of our evolving world.

Learn more

CineYouth Awards Ceremony

60 minutes
Streaming globally April 25-May 1

Celebrate the winners from this year’s CineYouth Festival at the Awards Ceremony. Categories include Animation, Chicago, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Experimental, International, Rising Star, and Social Impact awards.

Learn more

*Films in this program contain themes or language that may not be suitable for all ages.

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About the CineYouth Festival

Created in 2005, Cinema/Chicago’s CineYouth Festival is designed to encourage youth filmmakers in their creative endeavors. CineYouth provides opportunities for young filmmakers to articulate themselves artistically, and have their voice heard. Held annually in Chicago, CineYouth is a festival celebrating and fostering the creativity of filmmakers 22 years old and younger by screening officially selected work and encouraging their creative endeavors with workshops, discussions, and panels. CineYouth encourages the talent of young filmmakers and supports diverse youth voices by providing opportunities to have their work showcased, to learn from industry experts, and to network with peers.

2022 CineYouth Supporters

Want to help support the next generation of filmmakers? Become a CineYouth Sponsor today…

Major Sponsor

Logo: Adobe 257x85Logo: DePaul University 459x75Logo: Make It Better Media Group 188x100

Additional Support

Logo: Acuqa Panna 107x100Logo: DCASE logoLogo: HI USA 253x75Logo: Dark Matter Coffee 125x125
Logo: Illinois Arts Council - 133x100Logo: Make It Better Foundation 175x100Logo: Perrier 120x75

Event Partner

Logo: Acadia Consulting Group 245x100

Partner Venue

Logo: Facets 180x75

Official Agency

Logo: Ogilvy 175x75

Community Partners

Logo: National Film Festival for Talented Youthlogo: Free Spirit Media 146x100logo: Fresh Films 243x50

CineYouth is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

Submission Guidelines


  • Early Bird Deadline: January 21, 2022
  • Regular Deadline: February 18, 2022
  • Final Deadline: March 4, 2022


  • Filmmakers must be 22 years old or younger at the time of the film’s completion. (Can currently be 23 if the film was finished while 22.)
  • Films must be 15 minutes or less.
  • All entries must be submitted through FilmFreeway.
  • We accept the following genres: drama, comedy, animation, horror, thriller, music video and experimental.

Questions? Email:

Submit Now

For full submission details and to submit your film for consideration, please use the FilmFreeway link below:

Submit With FilmFreeway

Our Commitment to Diversity

As a step towards a more inclusive and accessible festival that addresses the systemic inequity and underrepresentation in film, CineYouth is offering a 50% discount to all films submitted by BIPOC filmmakers, as well as filmmakers with disabilities and/or films featuring performers with disabilities using the following codes:



Additional discount and waiver requests are considered by CineYouth on a case-by-case basis. To make a request, please fill out this short form