Insect Fear Film Festival

scaring the general public with horrific films and horrific filmmaking
— Since 1984 —

Join the Entomology Graduate Students Association (EGSA) and the UIUC Department of Entomology for our annual film festival!
Held every spring, this festival is an opportunity to see movies focused on insects, interact with the insects in our petting zoo, and dispel some fears of these incredible, fascinating creatures!

41st Annual
Insect Fear Film Festival:

The 41st Annual Insect Fear Film Festival (IFFF) will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at Foellinger Auditorium, on the campus of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Hosted by the EGSA in the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, this year’s theme is Ant-Men—movies featuring people who shrink down to the size of ants and participate in ant societies. The lives of social insects have long fascinated people around the world, based on real or (more often) imagined resemblances between insect and human societies. Ants in particular are among the most accessible social insects, who typically spend much of their time out and about on the ground or underfoot, working together to transport objects, build nests, and even fight among themselves. It’s only natural that Hollywood has exploited plot lines that place humans directly into ant storylines to make an often misplaced metaphorical point. In the kid-friendly feature The Ant Bully (2006), a ten-year-old boy who has terrorized an ant colony is shrunk down to ant size by the colony residents to teach him a lesson; in Ant-Man (2015), an eccentric physicist recruits a professional burglar to use his unique size-changing technology to become an ant-sized superhero who can communicate with ants.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Activities will begin at 5:30 pm CST, and introductions to festival guest and films will start at 6:00 pm. This year’s festival will feature:

  • A living ant display
  • An insect petting zoo
  • Bugscope (scanning electron microscope) to get up-close and personal with ants and other insects
  • Insect arts and crafts for the whole family
  • A gallery of the annual IFFF art contest featuring insect-themed artwork by local K-12 students
  • and more!!!

Meet our festival guest! 

Our festival guest, Dr. Andrew Suarez, is the University of Illinois’ very own Ant-Man! Dr. Suarez is an expert in ant ecology, behavior, and biological invasions. Dr. Suarez is the acting director of the School of Integrative Biology, the Jeffrey S. Elowe professor of the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, and a professor in the Department of Entomology. Research in the Suarez lab focuses on the evolution and biomechanics of trap-jaw ants, specialization and body size variation in ant societies, and biological invasions.  

41st IFFF Schedule (all times CST)

Saturday, Feb. 24

5:30 pm – Doors open; exhibits, activities, and art show in the foyer and second floor hallway

6:00 pm – 6:30 pm Festival guest Dr. Andrew Suarez, introduced by Dr. May Berenbaum

6:00 pm – 6:20 pm 10 Things You Should Know About Ants, presented by Dr. Suarez

                6:20 pm – 6:30 pm Q & A with Dr. Suarez

6:30 pm – 6:45 pm Welcome to the festival, presented by Dr. Berenbaum

6:45 pm – 7:00 pm Raffle and Art Show winner announcements, presented by Dr. Berenbaum

7:00 pm – 7:15 pm Introduction to theme and movies, presented by Dr. Berenbaum

7:15 pm – 7:30 pm – Shorts & trailers

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Film 1: The Ant Bully (Rated: PG)

9:00 pm – 11:00 pm Film 2: Ant-Man (Rated: PG-13)


IFFF41 T-Shirt designed by Grace O’BrienIFFF T-shirts will be available for purchase during the Festival:

  • Youth short sleeve shirts (S-XL) will be available for $15.00
  • Adult short sleeve shirts (S-XXL) will be available for $15.00
  • Adult long sleeve shirts (S-XXL) will be available for $20.00
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 24th, 2024!

2024 Student Art Competition for the 41st IFFF

This year the Insect Fear Film Festival celebrates its 41st anniversary with films about “Ant-Men”! The Entomology Graduate Student Association would like to invite all students, in grades K through 12, to enter the insect art contest. As always, there will be grade categories for competition. In addition, there will be best-of-show prizes various other categories to be determined. Winners will be awarded prizes by May Berenbaum, Head of the Entomology Department and creator of the festival, at 7:30 pm, before the films begin. All artworks will be on display in Foellinger Auditorium during the festival, Saturday, February 24th, 2024 (doors open at 5:30 pm).

Contest Theme: The theme of this year’s festival is “Ant-Men”. Participants may consider submitting artwork featuring ants, but any art incorporating insects or other arthropods is acceptable.

Entry Form: Each entry must be accompanied by a completed Entry Form [EN] [FR] [ES]. Please refer to the Art Contest Entry Rules [EN] [FR] [ES] for further details. The top portion of the entry form must be securely taped on all four sides to the back of the entry. The label at the bottom of the entry form should be cut out and fixed to the front of the piece on the lower right-hand side of the artwork, as indicated on the form.

Artwork: All entries must be 2-D works no larger than 11 x 14 inches. Unfortunately, we do not have space to display larger entries. Because the artwork will be moved and handled often it is important that the work be protected. Pencil, charcoal or chalk drawings should be fixed with a fixative spray or work should be covered with a plastic or paper sleeve. By submitting to the art contest, the participants give permission to the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to use the artwork for promotional purposes and posted online to the related websites.

Delivery and pick-up of artwork: Entries may be dropped off or mailed to the Department of Entomology Office but must arrive by 5:00 pm, Thursday, February 15th, 2024. Entomology office hours are M-F, 8:30 am-noon and 1:00-5:00 pm. The Department address is:

Department of Entomology Office

320 Morrill Hall

505 South Goodwin Ave.

University of Illinois

Urbana, Illinois, 61801, (phone 217-333-2910)


IFFF History:

Click here for a history of the IFFF.
Click here for a listing of features shown at previous festivals.
Gallery of IFFF t-shirts from the last 39 years.
Press Release/Flier: 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016_1, 2016_2, 2015, 2013, 2012
Previous Insect Art Contest winners from 2023, 2022, 2021, 2019, 20182017, and 2016.

Find more information about the IFFF on Facebook or Twitter.
@uiucEGSA @InsectFilmFest #IFFF41
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/IFFFatUofI