Accessibility

Accessibility icon overlayed on empty movie theatre seats

Accessibility at Cinema/Chicago

Cinema/Chicago is committed to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment at all of our programs and events. We strive to provide an enjoyable viewing experience for all patrons. We invite feedback on how to improve our accessibility practices to accommodate a broader, more inclusive audience for all our programs.

For Accommodation requests or feedback, please email us at access@chicagofilmfestival.com, call us at 312.683.0121 x108, or fill out our Accommodation Request Form.

Accommodation Request Form

Accessibility Frequently Asked Questions

All event venues are fully wheelchair accessible, with no-step entrances or ramp access, and elevators. All venues offer wheelchair-designated spaces, companion seating, easy-access theater seating, and accessible restrooms.

All of our non-English-language films have English subtitles. Virtually screened English-language films will have Closed Captions when available, and select in-person English-language films will screen with Open Captions. These screenings will be announced and publicized on our website and program guides. ASL interpreters will be made available upon request for filmmaker Q&As and panels, as well as Assisted Listening devices when compatible.

Open captions always are in view and cannot be turned off, whereas closed captions can be turned on and off by the viewer.

An assistive listening device are personal technologies used to improve hearing ability for people in a variety of situations where they are unable to distinguish speech in noisy environments.

While all of our theaters offer wheelchair accessible spaces, these are first-come first-serve. To reserve a spot you can do any of the following:

ASL Interpreters are available upon request. Please fill out the Accommodation Request Form to request an interpreter. Please note that any requests made less than a week before your scheduled screening cannot be guaranteed.

Our Accommodation Request Form is great for giving feedback as well! You can also fill out the Film Event Accessibility Scorecard to give us feedback.

For Filmmakers

Creating accessibility assets for you films means that a wider, more diverse audience has access to your work. Your captions and audio description are as much a part of your film’s completion as the editing and coloring and should be submitted to festivals along with your film.

Download our Film Submission Accessibility Resource Guide

Filmmakers submitting their films to Cinema/Chicago with one or more of these assets are eligible for a 20% discount on their submission fee through Filmfreeway. To inquire about the discount, please email entries@chicagofilmfestival.com.

Captions are a textual transcript of a film’s dialogue, sound effects, and music. Captions are different from subtitles in that subtitles only contain a transcript of dialogue. Captions are primarily created for the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities, but have grown in popularity with many audiences.

Captions can be presented to audiences in different ways. Open Captions are visible on the big screen for everyone in an audience to see. Closed Captions can be viewed on a personal closed caption device, only visible to an individual audience member. In the case of online content, closed captions can be toggled on and off.

Audio Description is a verbal description that provides context to key visual elements of a film. The Audio Description is carefully planned so as not to overlap with a film’s dialogue or important auditory cues. Audio Descriptions are primarily created for blind or visually impaired audience members to make film programming accessible.

Here is an example of Audio Description:

There are many ways to create these assets for your film! Many independent captioners and audio describers are available for collaboration.

There are also websites like REV and 3Play where you can upload your film to have your captions or audio descriptions generated. It’s important to QC, review, and edit errors when using services like these. For more curated captions or audio description, companies like All Senses Go are a great option. They can work with you to fulfill your creative vision for your captions.

Find Audio Describers for your film
Find Captioners for your film

The 59th Chicago International Film Festival logo banner

Accessibility at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival

Closed Captions

There are a limited number of closed-captioned films available via CCAP at The Music Box, AMC New City, and via our streaming platform. There are a limited number of devices at each location. A Closed Caption screening does not automatically include visual language support for the possible Q&A that follows some screenings.

Please contact access@chicagofilmfestival.com to inquire about the availability for any specific film or request additional access.

In-Person Screenings with Closed Captions

Thu Oct 12 5:30pm
An older woman treads water a few yards beyond a boat. Smiling, she wears a swim cap and goggles.

SpotlightWomen in Cinema

NYAD

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin  |  United States

Fri Oct 13 5:00pm
A black family of six poses together in front of their home.

Black PerspectivesDocumentary

Silver Dollar Road

Raoul Peck  |  United States

Fri Oct 13 6:30pm
A woman looks to the side, resting her chin on her hands.

Special Presentation

Eric LaRue

Michael Shannon  |  United States

Sat Oct 14 8:15pm
A man and woman, looking concerned, kneel next to a retro-futuristic looking microwave.

Special Presentation

Fingernails

Christos Nikou  |  United States

Sun Oct 15 12:00pm
In a lightly attended screening in the movie theater, a man glances at the woman seated next to him.

Best of the FestInternational Competition

Fallen Leaves

Aki Kaurismäki  |  Finland, Germany

Sun Oct 15 5:15pm
A woman with ginger hair, wearing a red sweater, yells while standing in a classroom.

Snapshots

The Teachers’ Lounge Das Lehrerzimmer

İlker Çatak  |  Germany

Mon Oct 16 7:00pm
A bald, bearded man wearing a white button up stands in front of a large home with an American flag hanging from it.

Black PerspectivesNewly AddedSpecial Presentation

American Fiction

Cord Jefferson  |   United States

Tue Oct 17 5:45pm
A group of well-dressed people dance in a ballroom.

ComedyOutLookWomen in Cinema

The Persian Version

Maryam Keshavarz  |  United States

Tue Oct 17 6:30pm
A mysterious man wearing a hat and leather gloves, looks through a monocular at an unseen view in Paris, France.

Special Presentation

The Killer

David Fincher  |  United States

Tue Oct 17 7:30pm
A high angle of a man wearing a backpack walking down the shoreline next to the blue ocean.

DocumentaryWomen in Cinema

The Mission

Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine  |  United States, India

Wed Oct 18 1:30pm
A high angle of a man wearing a backpack walking down the shoreline next to the blue ocean.

DocumentaryWomen in Cinema

The Mission

Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine  |  United States, India

Wed Oct 18 5:15pm
In a lightly attended screening in the movie theater, a man glances at the woman seated next to him.

Best of the FestInternational Competition

Fallen Leaves

Aki Kaurismäki  |  Finland, Germany

Wed Oct 18 6:30pm
In a bathroom mirror, a dark haired woman takes notes and observes as an older blonde woman applies makeup to her skin.

Special Presentation

May December

Todd Haynes  |  United States

Fri Oct 20 8:15pm
A woman and two men sit in a dimly lit dining hall, having a meal. A Christmas tree stands behind them.

ComedySpecial Presentation

The Holdovers

Alexander Payne  |  United States

Sat Oct 21 7:30pm
A dark haired woman and child share a warm smile as the girl rests her hand on the womans.

SnapshotsWomen in Cinema

Shayda

Noora Niasari  |  Australia

Sat Oct 21 2:45pm
A group of Jazz musicians record in a studio.

DocumentarySpotlight

They Shot the Piano Player

Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal  |  Spain, France

Sat Oct 21 8:00pm
A pale woman in a yellow dress looks over her shoulder, her black hair cascading down her back. A man stands behind her.

Newly AddedSpecial Presentation

Poor Things

Yorgos Lanthimos  |  United States, United Kingdom, Ireland

Streaming Films with Closed Captions

Streaming
Two black cyclists, in full kits, ride past camera on a flat road.
Streaming

City & StateShorts Program

Shorts 1: City & State – Revelations

Various  |  United States, Japan

Streaming

Shorts Program

Shorts 2: Animation – Desires

Various  |   Argentina, Belgium, France, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, The Netherlands, United States

Streaming

Open Captions

Open Captions are available for the select screenings listed below. Live Open Captioning via CART will be provided for all Q&A’s following Open Captioned films and for all Industry Day presentations.

Screenings with Open Captions

Open Caption screenings will feature Live Captioning for filmmaker Q&As when applicable.

Thu Oct 13 5:45pm

City & StateComedyWomen in Cinema

All Happy Families

Haroula Rose  |  United States

Fri Oct 14 1:30pm

City & StateShorts Program

Shorts 1: City & State – Revelations

Various  |  United States, Japan

Mon Oct 16 2:30pm
Astronaut Ronald McNair smiles while holding a film slate. He wears a name badge that says Cecil B. McNair.

Black PerspectivesDocumentaryWomen in Cinema

The Space Race

Lisa Cortés, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza  |  United States

Thu Oct 19 1:00pm
Under a tent lined with string lights, a man and a woman stand closely. He looks down while she gazes as him.
Fri Oct 20 4:00pm
Fri Oct 20 6:30pm
Two black cyclists, in full kits, ride past camera on a flat road.
Sat Oct 21 6:00pm
A colorful truck weaves through winding mountain roads, two people sit on its roof observing the passing scenery.

City & StateDocumentaryWomen in Cinema

Food Roots

Michele Josue  |  United States, Philippines

Audio Description

There are a limited number of film screenings available with Audio Description at The Music Box and AMC New City. They will be listed on this webpage as they are confirmed. Please contact access@chicagofilmfestival.com to inquire about the availability for any specific films.

Assisted Listening Devices

Screenings at GSFC, AMC New City, Music Box, Chicago History Museum, Logan Center for the Arts and MCA have Assisted Listening Devices. These devices play the same audio from the theater speakers, not additional descriptive audio. For more information about a particular locations equipment, please contact access@chicagofilmfest.com.

Screenings with Assistive Listening Devices available

All screenings at the Gene Siskel Film Center have assistive listening devices available.

See all films screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center

ASL Interpreters

ASL Interpreters are available by request. When they have already been assigned to an event, they will be added to this page. If you would like to request an ASL interpreter, please fill out the Accommodation Request form or email access@chicagofilmfestival.com.

ADA Priority Entrance

In addition to reserved accessible seating, we offer ADA Priority Entrance. This will allow those who need accessible seating priority entrance into the theater so they can choose the seats that will make the film most accessible to them. If you would like to request ADA Priority Entrance, please fill out the Accommodation Request for or email access@chicagofilmfestival.com.

Sensory

For those with sensory sensitivities, there will be sensory items (ear plugs, sunglasses, fidget tools) available at the AMC New City, The Music Box, and GSFC. Staff and volunteers will also be equipped in showing you to a quiet space when asked for assistance.

Venue Descriptions

Please visit our individual venue pages for specific venue accessibility details.

Though all of our venues are ADA accessible, not all access fits everyone’s needs.  If you have any specific questions or concerns about venue accessibility (i.e. ramps vs. elevators, accessible door function, ADA restroom details, ect.), please contact access@chicagofilmfestival.com.

Service Animals

Service animals are always allowed. Emotional Support animals are not permitted.

Companion Pass

Attendees who require assistance during the event can request a Companion Pass for an attendant or aid to accompany them. The Companion Pass does not grant access to any events without the ticketed patron. If you would like to request a Companion Pass, please fill out the Accommodation Request form or email access@chicagofilmfestival.com.

Masking

Though masking at our events is recommended, we do not have any mask requirements at this time.

Additional Accommodations

If something that is not listed here would make our event more accessible to you, please fill out the Accommodation Request Form or email access@chicagofilmfestival.com to discuss what options we may have available for you.

Official Festival Accessibility Partners

Logo: Caption Consulting 164x150logo: Periscope Post & Audio 308x100

Summer Screenings 2024

Accessibility at Summer Screenings

Summer Screenings is Cinema/Chicago’s annual free film series that casts a spotlight on a different country’s national cinema each week all summer. Learn all about Summer Screenings…

Screenings with Open Captions

Wednesday, June 28 @ 6:30pm

Soft

Dir. Joseph Amenta | Canada |

Three friends fall in love with summertime Toronto’s lively nightlife. Young, queer, and unapologetically self-confident, the trio spends their days holding court and plotting to sneak into a nightclub. When one of their caregivers goes missing under suspicious circumstances, reality comes crashing in and their seemingly unbreakable bond is tested. Featuring…

Learn more

Wednesday, July 5 @ 6:30pm

Cumar: A Galway Rhapsody

Dir. Aodh Ó Coileáin | Ireland |

Nestled along Ireland’s Western coast, Galway holds a magnetic attraction for artists of all stripes. Through a series of interviews with writers, musicians, poets, and painters, Cumar (Irish for “confluence”) crafts a portrait of the metropolis as seen through the eyes of its artists. This visually sumptuous, reflective ode to the city itself explores…

Learn more

Wednesday, Aug 9 @ 6:30pm

Keep Stepping

Dir. Luke Cornish | Australia |

In Sydney, Gabi and Patricia train to compete in Destructive Steps, Australia’s largest street dance competition. Both are pushing themselves mentally and physically in hopes that winning the contest will open new doors and possibilities for a better life. The film spans seven years and provides viewers with intimate access to the breathtaking artform…

Learn more

Wednesday, Aug 23 @ 6:30pm

City, Living: Chicago Stories

Dir. Various | United States |

Chicago-made short films create a patchwork of perspectives on life in the city.Featuring a profile of a busker, an exploration of the city’s bricks, a comedy about a souvenir salesman, a document of the reversal of the Chicago River, an examination of gun violence, a rumination on family and place, and a comedy about a dog sitter.

Learn more

Wednesday, Sept 6 @ 6:30pm

Nowhere Special

Dir. Uberto Pasolini | United Kingdom |

Thirty-five-year-old window cleaner and single father John has dedicated his life to raising his son. Given only a few months to live, he traverses Belfast, visiting homes of the working class and wealthy alike. He has a singular goal: to find the perfect family to raise his toddler Michael. How can he carry out this impossible task? Inspired by true events…

Learn more