Frequently Asked Questions

Here, you will find answers to common questions about the Festival, tickets, purchasing, and streaming. For in-depth instruction on streaming Festival films, visit our How To page. For questions about our drive-in screenings, visit our Drive-in Films page.

General Questions

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival will be held October 14-25, 2020.

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival will be virtual with exclusive drive-in screenings October 14-18 and 23-24 at Pilsen’s ChiTown Movies at 2343 S Throop St.

Elevent is the ticketing platform for this year’s Chicago International Film Festival. When you purchase tickets through the Festival website, you will receive a confirmation email from Elevent with the subject line: “Order Confirmation # – Chicago International Film Festival”. You will also receive an activation email which will take you to the viewing platform, CineSend. More information can be found here.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago International Film Festival has moved online in 2020. We are utilizing a platform called CineSend which gives viewers a high quality in-home cinematic experience while also providing MPAA-accredited DRM protection for our filmmakers.

There will be virtual Q&As with filmmakers for select screenings. Check the film program for details on Q&As for specific films.

Purchasing & Ticketing Questions

All tickets are on sale now.

Visit our Ticketing page to purchase multi-film passes, or visit individual film pages to buy single tickets.  Visit our full films list or view films organized by program.

All fees are included in ticket prices.

Just like the live Festival, there are a limited number of tickets available per film. Please reserve your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

You can! When you add an item to your cart, it will stay in your cart until you remove it. This way, you can visit both membership and pass pages without losing your progress. Log into your Festival ticketing account (Elevent) (or register for one) and add both items before completing the purchase.

Please double check your film selections listed on your order confirmation email. Then, look out for a Virtual Access email in order to stream your selections.

You should have received an email with the subject line: “Order Confirmation # – Chicago International Film Festival.” If you do not see this in your inbox, please check your spam folder. You can also check your Elevent order history page. Log in, and you will see a view button displayed with your order details. If you’re still experiencing issues, please contact us.

You can check your Festival’s Elevent order history page. Log in, and you will see a view button displayed with your order details.

Once you purchase a ticket or pass you will receive a confirmation email that details what you purchased and how much you spent—like a receipt.

Ticket Holders will receive a second email with a Virtual Access VIEW link, which will take them to the watch portal for the film of their choosing (if the film is not immediately available to watch, this access email will be sent out 1hr prior to each film’s watch window). In addition to the link, Ticket Holders will also receive a VOUCHER CODE, which can be used to access the film via our dedicated apps on Apple TV or Roku devices, if that is their preferred viewing method.

Pass redemption instructions will be emailed to passholders. You may also visit our How To page for more information.

No! You do not need to redeem all tickets at once; redeem and complete the fulfillment transaction for as many as you’d like, up to the maximum, at any time. Note: You cannot exchange tickets once you have confirmed them.

When you add a ticket to your cart, it will give you a message that says “Purchase Maximum Reached” for that specific film; this simply means that you have successfully added that film to your cart and would not need any additional virtual admissions for the same film. If you navigate to other film selections, you will have the option to add a ticket to your cart, until the ticket maximum is reached.

Drive-in screenings are offered as a separate purchased ticket. Passes apply to regular, virtual screenings only.

Each virtual admission is for one stream on one device. Each passholder can choose who or what device accesses the virtual admission.

Become a Member! You’ll receive benefits throughout the year, as well as discounts on passes and individual tickets.

There are no refunds or exchanges.

Streaming Questions

Streaming simply refers to watching a film over your internet connection (instead of downloading a file to your computer). It’s immediate and available on demand with any device that is connected to the internet. Any time you watch something on Netflix or YouTube, you’re streaming.

You will receive a Virtual Access email at the email address used to purchase your ticket. If the virtual event is already available for viewing, you will be presented with a link on the order confirmation screen immediately after purchase to start watching.

When the virtual event begins at a scheduled date and time, you will receive the Virtual Access email one hour before the virtual event. Upon receiving confirmation, you will have 48 hours to complete the film (this may change for select scheduled screenings; please check individual film pages for specific details).

Upon pressing play, you will have 48 hours to complete the film (this may change for select scheduled screenings; please check individual film pages for specific details).

There are three methods to watch films on your TV:

  • Download our dedicated “Chicago International Film Festival” app for Roku or AppleTV (Gen 4 and above)
  • Cast from a computer or Android phone/tablet using the Chrome browser to a Chromecast device
  • AirPlay from a computer, iPhone or iPad to an AppleTV (Gen 2 and above) or to any Smart TV bearing the “AirPlay” badge

Compatible Operating Systems: Microsoft Windows 7 or later, Apple Mac OS 10.12 or later, Chrome OS

Compatible Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari (for Mac). We recommend using the latest version of your browser. Internet Explorer is not supported.

You can also watch films on Android tablets and phones using Chrome, and on iPhones and iPads using Safari.

We have endeavoured to ensure that as many films as possible have either closed or open captioning. Captions are indicated on the film pages with CC for closed captioning and OC for opening captioning.

Closed captions can be turned on or off while streaming the film. To turn them on, select English (CC) in the subtitle window at the bottom right corner of the video player.

Open captions cannot be turned off.

We have a festival channel on Roku and Apple TV you can download in order to stream titles on your TV. Please visit our How To page to learn how to set this up.

No, you do not need to download and install an app to watch, but you can access films via the Chicago International Film Festival channel on Roku or Apple TV.

Please check for a system update. Navigate to Settings -> System -> Systems Update.

You can Chromecast from a Chrome web browser on PC and Mac computers as well as Android devices by selecting the cast button in the bottom right-hand side of the player.

Note: Due to licensing agreements, it is not guaranteed that you will be able to Chromecast from an iOS/Mac device

Yes. Please visit our How To page for more information

We use adaptive bitrate streaming which means the streaming quality will automatically adjust based on your internet speed. If your internet connection is poor or inconsistent you may experience problems during playback. If you’re on wifi, try moving closer to your router.

You likely have “Screen Mirroring” turned on in your device settings. Please turn off the screen mirroring setting and start AirPlay by selecting the AirPlay button () in the bottom right-hand side of the player

Most films in the festival are available to stream from October 14-25, 2020, beginning at 8pm on October 14. In most cases, once you hit ‘PLAY’ you will have 48 hours to complete the film before your watch window closes. Some films in the Festival are scheduled on a specific date and time (“appointment viewing”) with a limited watch window. Be sure to read carefully on each page of the Film Guide.

A watch window is how long you have to watch a film once you hit ‘PLAY’

Most films have 48hr watch windows, but some have shorter windows. Some films in the Festival are scheduled on a specific date and time (“appointment viewing”) with a very limited watch window. Be sure to read carefully on each page of the Film Guide.

You can watch most films from anywhere in the U.S., but a select few are geoblocked and limited to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri. The restrictions are noted on each page of the Film Guide, where applicable.

The following films are NOT available outside of our Midwest region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri):

  • Days
  • Farewell Amor
  • Kubrick By Kubrick
  • Memory House
  • Preparations To Be Together For an Unknown Period of Time
  • There Is No Evil
  • Things We Dare Not Do
  • Undine
  • The Woman Who Ran

These restrictions were set by the rights holders. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to request special access to them. Sorry!

The majority of the films are available for the duration of the Festival, October 14-25. There will be some films and special presentations that are only available as “appointment viewing”, meaning they’re only available on a particular date and time with a very limited watch window. Please check our film listings on our website. These will be indicated on our “Film Guide”.

Unfortunately not. It was a one-time only screening at our Festival. Please keep an eye out for it when it’s released later on.

Event Questions

Yes. We’ll be hosting live conversations with filmmakers and stars from our films on Facebook and Youtube where you’ll be able to ask questions. Recorded conversations, when available, will be available on the film’s webpage on our website. After the Festival, a selection of conversations will be posted to our YouTube channel.

Yes! We’re working on scheduling some virtual discussion groups and social meet-ups on Zoom. Check our website for more details.

Our website will have the most updated information. We’ll also post and live stream different content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you aren’t already following us, please do so! We also send out Daily E-newsletters during the Festival. These will come from email@chicagofilmfestival.com. Please check your Spam account in case they accidentally go in there!

  • For films that have a live Q&A, try and time the viewing of the film so that you can go right into the Q&A after you’re finished watching the film. Come with questions and enter them into the Q&A box.
  • Dress warmly if you’re coming to the Drive-in. It’s October in Chicago!
  • Make sure your devices are all properly connected.
  • Remember the 48 hour watch window. If you pause a film, remember to come back to it within 48 hours, otherwise you will no longer be available to you.
  • Take a chance on some of our international films: this may be one of your only opportunities available to watch it if it doesn’t get U.S. distribution.
  • Stock up on snacks before the Festival. 🙂

Still have questions?

You can email techsupport@chicagofilmfestival.com, call our tech support at 1-312-332-FILM (3456) or live chat with an agent via our website (starting September 23).

Customer/Technical Support

For Ticketing or technical support with stream, contact our support team.

Festival Support: 312.332.3456 (FILM)


Sept 23 – Oct 13: Mon-Fri 10am–6pm
Oct 14 – 25 (Festival): Mon-Sun 10am–10pm