Frequently Asked Questions

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 57th Chicago International Film Festival will be held October 13-24, 2021.

The 57th Chicago International Film Festival will take place in multiple theaters in Chicago. Based at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.), the Festival will expand to arthouse theaters Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State St. ) and the Music Box Theatre (3733 N Southport Ave.) for select screenings. In addition, we will have drive-in presentations at Pilsen’s ChiTown Movies (2343 S Throop St.), as well as virtual access (for viewers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin) for select Festival films.

We are requiring proof of full vaccination or negative Covid-19 PCR test result to attend the Festival. We will also have a Covid Safety table on the second floor of the AMC theater to disperse wristbands for easy identification of vaccination status. More information can be found on our Safety Protocols page..

Explore all announced films. The full lineup will be available on September 20. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to get updates.

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.

Cinesend is the video streaming platform for the virtual component of this year’s Festival. CineSend gives viewers a high quality in-home cinematic experience while also providing MPAA-accedited DRM protection for our filmmakers.

  • 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. 🙂

Questions About Purchasing & Using Tickets

September 21-22 at 10:00am: Member Pre-Sale for ticket sales and redemption

September 23 at 10:00am: Pass Redemption for all In-Person and Virtual Passes

September 24 at 10:00am: General Public Onsale

Tickets for in-person screenings will be available until 30 minutes before the showtime. Tickets for virtual screenings will be available until 30 minutes before the virtual streaming period expires (October 24 at 11:59pm).

Tickets will be available on individual film pages. To view the film pages, you can visit our full films list or view films organized by program. Instructions on how to purchase tickets and/or redeem tickets with a pass are available in our How To Guide.

Note: Member Pre-Sales will be done completely online. The Festival Box Office is located at the AMC River East 21 (322 E Illinois St.) and will be open during the festival, October 14-24th, one hour before the first showtime until the beginning of the last showtime. Box office will be cashless and will only accept Credit/Debit cards only. We highly encourage you to purchase in advance online to avoid wait times and contact.

Students and seniors can purchase individual tickets for regular screenings for $17 ($3 discount) at the box office when it opens for in-person sales. A photo ID must be presented at the time of purchase. The in-person festival box office is located at the AMC River East 21 (322 E Illinois St.) and will be open during the festival, October 14-24th, one hour before the first showtime until the beginning of the last showtime.

All fees are included in ticket prices.

An individual/student/senior membership allows one ticket purchase at the member price for each screening, while dual and producer memberships allow two, and founder memberships allow four. Please note that this applies to individual ticket purchases, not ticket redemptions for multi-film passes.

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.

Please double check that your film selections listed on your order confirmation email are correct. Then, look out for a Virtual Access email, which will provide a VIEW link. This will take you to the watch portal (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, you 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 your preferred viewing method. Alternatively, you can access the link from your Elevent virtual history page. Log in, and you will see a VIEW NOW displayed with your order details.

Please double check that your film selections listed on your order confirmation email are correct and carefully review the time and venue of each screening. On the day of the screening, please take traffic and parking time into consideration and plan to enter the theater at least 15-30 minutes prior to the showtime.  Show your Vaccination Card and ID at the Healthy and Safety Checkpoint (floor 2 of AMC.) You will receive a wristband at the Checkpoint table; put this on before leaving the table to make sure that Festival staff can identify your vaccination status at a glance. Please have your ticket ready (on your device or printed out); there will be a volunteer present to scan your tickets before entering the auditorium.

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

There are no refunds or exchanges. Please read the film’s availability details carefully before purchase.

Not all Festival films will be available virtually. Please check individual film pages to see specific availability for in-person, drive-in, and virtual.

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

Questions About Purchasing & Using Passes

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

No. If you have an in-person pass, all 10 or 20 tickets will be redeemed for in-person screenings, and virtual passes will be used only for virtual offerings. If you would like a mix of virtual and in-person screenings, we recommend looking at individual ticket options in addition to your pass purchase.

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

Not necessarily! You can mix and match tickets as you please. 2 tickets to 5 different films, 10 tickets to one film, etc. This applies to in-person screenings; for virtual options, patrons will need only one virtual access ticket and code to enjoy a film at home.

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 (or register for) your Festival ticketing account (via Elevent) using the Sign In button the menu at the top of the page. Then add both items before completing the purchase.

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.

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. If you still can’t locate this email, check your bank statement or your Festival ticketing (Elevent) account. You can also check your Elevent order history page, which will display the details of any orders you’ve made. If you’re still experiencing issues, please contact us.

The week before the festival, Shorts Passholders will be emailed log-in credentials for our Cinesend video player, which can be found at watch.chicagofilmfestival.com. Shorts Passholders will use the Badge Holder Sign-in. There will be no need to “redeem” tickets for Shorts Programs; all shorts programs will be accessible via the video player.

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.

Each in-person pass can be used by one person at a given time. It is up to the discretion of the pass purchaser as to who uses the pass. Each virtual admission is for one stream on one device. Each passholder can choose who or what device accesses the virtual admission.

You may follow the normal process to purchase an individual ticket (please see our How To Guide [link] for more information), but when you reach the billing information page, you will apply your voucher code in the “Extra Code” section, instead of filling out a payment method.

Questions About Streaming Films & Virtual Access

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.

Please double check that your film selections listed on your order confirmation email are correct. Then, look out for a Virtual Access email, which will provide a VIEW link. This will take you to the watch portal (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, you 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 your preferred viewing method. Alternatively, you can access the link from your Elevent virtual history page. Log in, and you will see a VIEW NOW displayed with your order details.

Not all Festival films will be available virtually. Please check individual film pages to see specific availability for in-person, drive-in, and virtual.

Just like the in-person Festival, there are a limited number of tickets available per film. Please reserve your tickets early to avoid disappointment. Many films have multiple screenings and virtual options, so check first for alternative showtimes. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will not be able to admit any patrons without a ticket once the screening is sold out. Please reserve tickets early; auditoriums are set to fill 80% of full capacity.

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

You will receive a Virtual Access email to the email address used to purchase your ticket. If the virtual event is already available for viewing, you will receive this Virtual Access email 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. Most films are available for the duration of the Festival, but some films will have shorter time periods to press Play; please check individual film pages for specific details). Upon pressing play, you will have 48 hours to complete the film.

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

In your browser, navigate to watch.chicagofilmfestival.com

System Requirements

  • Android: use Chrome on Android 6.0 or later
  • iPhone/iPad: use Safari on iOS 11.2 or later [screen mirroring is not supported, set to OFF]

Please note: DRM-protected content cannot be viewed with the latest iOS 15.0 update, and Apple has recognized this as a bug that will be fixed in the currently unreleased 15.1. This means that unfortunately, the video player is not compatible with the iOS 15.0 update at this time.

In your browser, navigate to watch.chicagofilmfestival.com

System Requirements

  • PCs running Windows 7+
    Supported Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera
  • Intel-based Macs running macOS 10.12+
    Supported Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera

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.

No, you do not need to download and install the app to watch. However, you may wish to download the Chicago International Film Festival app on Apple TV or Roku devices to watch on your TV, iPad, or Tablet.

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

Most films in the festival are available to stream from October 14-24, 2021, beginning at 12pm on October 14. Access to some films will be limited to a smaller number of days within the Festival period; please check individual film listings for more specific details. In most cases, once you hit ‘PLAY’ you will have 48hrs to complete the film before your watch window closes.

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.

Yes, you can pause and rewind during the watch window. You’ll have access to the film for 48 hours, with some exceptions. The exceptions will be indicated on the film’s page.

Films with virtual access are available in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

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 ( Apple Airplay icon ) in the bottom right-hand side of the player

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.

Drive-in & Event Questions

Yes, there will be select in-person filmmaker conversation or post-screening Q&As. There will also be live-stream and recorded Q&As for some in-person and virtual films. These will be available on each film’s page on our streaming platform and website. The filmmaker Q&A schedule can be found on our website and will be continuously updated.

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!

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 Support

For Ticketing or technical support, contact our support team.

Festival Support: 312.332.3456 (FILM)

techsupport@chicagofilmfestival.com

Festival Customer Support Hours
(Live chat, phone, and email support)

Member Pre-Sale (Pass Redemption and Ticket Sales):
Sept 21-22, 10am-6pm

Festival Pass Early Redemption:
Sept 23, 10am-6pm

General Ticket Sales:
M-F, Sept 24-Oct 13, 10am-6pm

Festival Hours:
Oct 14-24, 10am-8pm