Chicago International Film Festival Opening Night Block Party

ChiFilmFest Opening Night Block Party

October 11, 2023 • 5:00–10:00pm
Southport from Grace to Waveland (in front of the Music Box Theatre)

The Chicago International Film Festival will kick off Opening Night with an Opening Night Block Party encompassing Southport between Grace and Waveland, home of the Music Box Theatre. Neighbors, community groups, and film fans from across Chicago are invited to enjoy live music, outdoor film screenings, retail kiosks, and local food vendors. Entry to the Block Party is FREE.

Director Steve James answers a reporter's question on the red carpet
Executive Director Vivian Teng and Artistic Director Mimi Plauche pose in front of the lighted marquee sign of the Music Box Theatre
Three improv performers perform to a crowd at a block party


Live performances by local bands


Performing at 5:00pm
Listen to music from Senya…

Living Thing

Performing at 6:15pm
Listen to music from Living Thing…

Omar Coleman & West Side Soul

Performing at 7:30pm
Learn more about Omar Coleman & West Side Soul…


Performing at 8:45pm
Learn more about ÉSSO…

Film trivia from Cinema/Chicago

All trivia will take place at the Video Wall on the north end of the block party (Grace & Southport). Participants will use their phone to answer questions projected on the screen via Crowdpurr. The player with the quickest correct responses will win Chicago International Film Festival merchandise!

Chicago International Film Festival Programmers’ Trivia

Starting at 6:15pm

Join Festival Programmers Anthony Kaufman, Sam Flancher and Christy LeMaster for a round of advanced movie trivia: from general questions about crowd favorites to deeper cuts into cult classics, this round of trivia is sure to engage film buffs of many genres!

Cinema/Chicago Associate Board Film Trivia

Starting at 7:30pm & 8:45pm

Gather ’round for this general movie trivia led by Cinema/Chicago’s Associate Board. From blockbusters to indie darlings, movies from many years and many categories will be featured in this round designed to find the film fan with the biggest range in taste and knowledge!

Short films on the outdoor screen

CineYouth Highlights

Showing at 5:30pm & 8:15pm

Directed by Ryu Sihyun, Andee Williams, Aniya Carey, Antoinette Green, Iyanna Jordan, Shane Dioneda, Adelaide Wilson, Lua Borges, Adora Midderhoff, Jessica Sarmina, Tatiana Mays, Nariah Walker, and Benji Tucker.

City & State Shorts

Showing at 7:00pm & 9:15pm

Directed by Peter Collins Campbell, Dustin Nakao-Haider, and Brian Zahm

A man in a hoodie and beard takes food from a food truck vendor while other people wait in line.
A crowd of people fill the street of a block party with tents on either side and a dusk sky behind them.

Block Party Sponsors

Logo: DCASE Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events 311x100Logo: Choose Chicago 139x100Logo: Lakeview Special Service Area 27 307x75Logo: NEA 293x100logo: Illinois Arts Council 266x200logo: CineCity Studios 156x125logo: Perilllo Chicago 230x125Logo: The Seeker 210x75logo: Sanpellegrino 213x100

Block Party Partners and Participants

Bad Johnny’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Kitchen • Bill Rush Photography & Design • Cáfe Tola • Camera Ambassador • Chetoni Designs • Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals • CHIRP Radio • Comfortably Queen • Cotacachi Handy Crafts • Dark Matter Coffee • Gene Siskel Film Center • giveash*t • The Illinois Film Office • Indie-Pendant • Japanese Culture Center • Kartemquin Films • Kerwell • Linner Bakery • Lola’s Coney Island • Lolis Designs • Mistura • Mixtape Your Life • Mochinut – Lincoln Park • Music Box Theatre • Nothing Bundt Cakes • NRG • OuroHermetic • Pallay Craft • Peanut Butter Pig • Tori Grace Outfitters • The Bernese Builder • Uncle Nearest • Wander from the Known