This article originally appeared on Better.net
This year, the Chicago International Film Festival will be celebrating its 58th consecutive, enriching year. The fest, which doubles as North America’s longest-running competitive film festival, will begin its showcase October 12 and run until the 23. During that time, audiences will come from far and wide to take in the fest’s lineup — which includes work from a variety of international filmmakers as well as a range of genres from lighthearted to complex. What’s more, the festival will also feature competitive categories and programs, each that reflect and speak to Chicago’s multicultural communities in contexts that foster discussion.
The Chicago International Film Festival was started in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza to provide an alternative to the commercial Hollywood movies that dominated the city’s theaters. Seeking out the best in international cinema, the festival has opened windows to a world of film previously or otherwise unavailable in Chicago. That mission continues today as the fest ventures farther away from its roots in The Loop and expands to other venues throughout the city, including Music Box Theatre and the Chicago History Museum, as well as pop-up screening events on the South and West sides of Chicago.
“We serve our diverse community by providing access to world-class cinema through inclusive programming, including Black Perspectives and OutLook (LGBTQ+), and Women in Cinema Programs. At many of the screenings, filmmakers, actors, and other special guests will be joining in person from across the country and around the world to talk about their work and engage with audiences, continuing its rich tradition of bringing people of different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences together through their shared love of cinema,” said a representative of the fest.
More to that point, the Chicago International Film Festival will soon offer a monthly program titled Community Cinema Program, which aims to make cinema more accessible to the public across Chicago. It all kicks off this October with the fest, and Chicagoans can expect “this neighborhood-based program [to] effectively reach audiences from students and youth to adults in communities with limited access to film programming in Chicago.” Additionally, the festival’s virtual screenings will be shown using its streaming platform, which will be accessible across Illinois and nearby states, including Indiana, and Wisconsin (all short film programs are available to stream across the U.S.). These neighborhood-based screenings launch the Chicago International Film Festival’s community programs, developed in collaboration with community arts and educational partners.
In testament to its legendary status in the city for over half a century, the Chicago International Film Festival is sponsored by a number of local and national organizations. Some of their sponsors include: Citi Bank, Xfinity, Adobe, WTTW, Make It Better Media Group, Chicago Park District and Dark Matter Coffee.
The festival and various programs flourish under the auspices of Cinema/Chicago — a non-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to bridging the gap between people of diverse cultures and access to the art of film. This year, Make It Better Media Group is pleased to extend one of its annual matching grants to Cinema/Chicago — meaning that for every dollar they raise, MIBMG will match it up to $10,000. From October 5 – 30, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the efforts of Cinema/Chicago and help MIBMG double their impact across the city.