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CHIditarod Film Challenge 2021

Make a video capturing your team’s epic CHIditarod journey for 2021!

Chiditarod is a creative outlet for everyone involved, and the need for creative expression is even greater this year than ever before. We’ve been cooped up in our homes for months! We want to create a space where we could safely share art, comradery, and performance with each other.

Thank you all for your interest in the 2021 Film Challenge!

At this point we are no longer accepting films for the challenge, but we are excited to show you all the submissions. Join us on our twitch,, on March 6th from 7-9 PM Central Time, for our Chidtiarod 2021: Telethon and Award Ceremony!

What are we doing?

This year we are proud to announce our First Annual CHIditarod Film Challenge. We are asking you to make short films to express yourself creatively and provide a focus for your fundraising efforts. These films will be judged and receive prizes just in time for our 2021 CHIditarod Fundraising Telethon. We will host a livestream event on Twitch on March 6 with videos from the charities we support, live color commentary,  fun filled and fast paced fundraising, the announcement of the film festival winners, dance breaks, surprise guests, and other treats we hope you’ll love.

How can I participate in the film challenge and/or telethon?

There are three ways an individual or team can participate. You can participate in any or all of the following: 

  1. Submitting a Film
  2. Participating in or watching the First Annual International Socially Distant CHIditarod Telethon
  3. Creating your own fundraising team!

What do I need to know to submit a film?

Registration – we’re asking teams that are interested in submitting films to register in advance. This will help us plan the live event and make sure we have enough time for judging. Since this is the first time we’re running this event, we don’t know whether to expect 1 film or 1,000,000 films. This will inform whether we can show all the films during the live event or curate our live stream to share our favorites on March 6th.  

  • Films must be registered by January 29, 2021 in order to participate.
  • Fees are $25 per film.
  • There will not be refunds for registered films that do not end up submitting a film.
  • Registration fees help us cover expenses to run the event, allowing all fundraising money to go directly to the Foundation.
  • Teams may submit multiple films, but each film must be registered to a different person. All films must be registered separately and pay a separate registration fee.
  • Registrant must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Links to submit films will be sent directly to email of the individuals who complete registration.

Who can make a film?

  • Anyone. You do not need to have prior Chiditarod or filmmaking experience.
  • You can submit a film solo or with a film crew.
  • A Film Crew is considered to be the person who registered the film, plus anyone in front of or behind the camera, including writers, editors, camera and lighting people, etc.

If you have no idea how to make a film, check out some helpful hints, prize categories, and more!

Film Crew Rules:

  • There are no size restrictions to your crew, although you are expected to follow all Pandemic Safety Guidelines and stay within the Chiditarod Core Philosophy.
  • People can appear in each other’s films – just because you registered Film A doesn’t mean you can’t also be part of the crew for Film B.
  • Everyone on your our film crew does not need to be part of the same Fundraising team.
  • The person registering the film will be asked to provide the names of those who will be on their crew.
  • Only the film’s registrant will receive direct, official communication about the event, prizes, etc.
  • All film crews agree to follow:

What do I need to know to participate in the live event/telethon?

  • The telethon will be held the evening of March 6. It will be an opportunity to virtually gather with folks across the Chiditarod community, watch films, fundraise, laugh, and witness some hijinks and shenanigans. Awards for the film festival will be announced during the telethon.
  • The telethon itself will be free to stream on Twitch — invite your friends, family, and donors to join for a little bit of Chiditarod magic.
  • Fundraising Prizes will be awarded at the end of the telethon, but feel free to continue to contribute to the CHIditarod Foundation!

Do I need to participate in the telethon in order to submit a film or fundraise?

  • No, but it’s highly encouraged because it will be fun!
  • Don’t want to make a film but want to provide some content for the live show or help us organize? Contact us with your ideas at

Film Requirements & Formatting

Film Challenge Requirements

  • Films must contain AT LEAST one shopping cart
    • Carts may be prominently placed or in the background of a shot.
    • Carts can be physical, illustrated, digital, or discussed.
    • Carts may but are not required to be central to your film’s theme.
  • Films should be suitable for all audiences
    • Films will be streamed to households where minors are present.
    • Films deemed too violent or sexual will not be included in any CHIditarod streaming events.
    • Some swearing, some violence, and mild adult content is allowed. Use general common sense; we want the telethon to be streamed to all CHIditarod households. Please remember this is a charity event.


  • Films MUST BE under 7 minutes (In general, the shorter, the better).
  • Instructions for submitting a film will be sent to registrants at the end of the registration period (January 16th).
  • Films are strongly encouraged to be in widescreen format.
  • Minor edits to film formatting may be required for viewing and done by Telethon organizers.
  • Files should be in .mp4 format. Films can be submitted as a .mov, .avi, or .wmv, although these films may be reformatted for presentation.
  • Films should not include copyrighted music, media, or logos without legal clearance. Films including copyrighted materials may be removed from potential CHIditarod hosted platforms.

Safety & Core Philosophy

Pandemic Safety Guidelines

2021 and the CHIditarod Core Philosophy

All films must comply with CHIditarod Core Philosophy.

  • The primary mission of the CHIditarod is to harness the love and energy of Chicagoans to forge positive relationships and social good across our communities. This event, just like the annual CHIditarod race, aims to accomplish this goal by fostering a culture of mutual care and creative community engagement.
  • Flagrant violation of these core philosophies will result in your film’s exclusion from the event; violations include, but are not limited to, disrespecting others or the property of others, displaying harmful or inappropriate racial or cultural stereotypes, participating in or promoting hate speech, filming or participating in criminal activities, and wasting food for an ill-conceived purpose. Such behaviors bring harm to members of our community and are therefore harmful to all of us.

All participants and volunteers are required to read and agree to uphold the core philosophy before participating in the event.

Registration & Fundraising

Film Challenge Registration [CLOSED]

  • Please register to submit a video by Fri Jan 29th (final videos are due by Feb 13th).
  • Video registration will be on our fundraising platform on with a one time donation of $25 benefitting the CHIditarod Foundation (extra $1.30 service fee).

Fundraising for 2021

  • A fundraising team is defined as a group that has a fundraising page on Classy. There is no limit to the number of people that can be part of a team this year. Fundraising teams do not have to submit a film in order to be eligible for the fundraising prize.
  • Fundraising up to and during the telethon will be highlighted live at the end of the telethon event. Additional fundraising is welcome after the telethon event.