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Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Cinema/Chicago News: Mimi Plauché named Artistic Director; Michael Kutza, President & CEO
CINEMA/CHICAGO ANNOUNCES TWO SIGNIFICANT STAFF PROMOTIONS
Michael Kutza Named President and CEO of Cinema/Chicago
Mimi Plauché Promoted to Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival and Cinema/Chicago
CHICAGO – Cinema/Chicago, the parent organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, announced the promotion of two long-time employees. Mimi Plauché has been named Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival and Cinema/Chicago, effective immediately. Michael Kutza,
who founded the Festival in 1964 and has since served as Artistic
Director, will continue to serve as the President and CEO, with a
dedicated new focus on overseeing operations, the branding of the larger
Cinema/Chicago organization, fundraising and supporting the expansion
of education programs.
For photos Michael Kutza and Mimi Plauché, click here.
“This is an incredible opportunity for the growth of Cinema/Chicago,” said Governing Board Chair Penelope R. Steiner.
“Having Michael’s time and attention focused on helming the
organization’s year-round branding and fundraising efforts will enable
us to expand in a multitude of ways. Mimi’s extensive knowledge of
film, her longstanding relationships with studios and filmmakers and -
more than anything -- her impeccable taste, make it clear that the
artistic leadership of the Festival is in extraordinarily capable
Plauché has worked in the programming department of Cinema/Chicago
since 2006, most recently holding the title of Programming Director. As
Artistic Director, she will be responsible for all film programming at
the Chicago International Film Festival as well as Cinema/Chicago’s
year-round programing including various community partnership-related
programming throughout Chicago. She also will scout the latest work of
international filmmakers, including established and emerging artists, to
identify films and filmmakers to showcase at the annual Chicago
International Film Festival and in other programs throughout the year.
She will travel extensively to represent the Festival and Cinema/Chicago
across the global film festival scene, including attending film
festivals in Cannes, Berlin and many more.
Kutza, who has served as Artistic Director since the Festival’s
founding (and has held that title longer than any other Festival
artistic director), will now hold the title of President and CEO of
Cinema/Chicago, the parent corporation of the Chicago International Film
Festival. He will work full time consulting on business affairs of the
non-profit arts institution, overseeing the visual representation of the
organization’s year-round programs. He will also continue to attend
international film festivals and advise on films, galas, special
presentations and tributes presented by the organization.
“Having served as Artistic Director for more than 50 years, since the
inaugural Film Festival, I can think of no person better qualified to
serve as Artistic Director than Mimi,” said Kutza. “From the moment we
began working together, we have forged a partnership to curate the
Festival’s programming, and she has challenged me to grow the Festival
in innovative new directions. She is smart, forward-thinking and has an
incredible eye for talent and excellent filmmaking. Entrusting her
with the artistic leadership of the Festival allows me to focus my
attention on other divisions of our organization so Cinema/Chicago can
grow into an even more prominent showcase for the best in cinematic
“It is a great honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading
the organization’s artistic direction, and I am excited to be guiding
the continued evolution of our world-renowned film festival,” added
Plauché. “Michael has been my mentor and collaborator for more than a
decade. I look forward to carrying on the tradition of bringing the
finest in international and independent cinema to Chicago’s adventurous
and informed Festival audiences. I am also working to expand the
Festival through strategic growth and dynamic community partnerships to
better support the international and local filmmaking communities and
best serve our audiences.”
About Mimi Plauché
Mimi Plauché was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, and graduated
from Davidson College in North Carolina cum laude with a BA in English.
Before joining Cinema/Chicago, she earned an MA in Japanese Studies and
worked on a doctorate in Japanese literature and film at the Department
of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. She is
the recipient of Fulbright-Hays, Japan Foundation and Social Science
Research Council fellowships, among others. While living in Japan, she
worked for the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. During
her tenure at Cinema/Chicago, she has programmed documentaries, short
films, features and most recently held the title of Programming
Director. She has served on juries and as programming advisor at a
number of film festivals around the world.
About Michael Kutza
In 1964, at the age of 22, Michael Kutza founded the Chicago
International Film Festival. He has been a lifelong advocate for the
cinematic arts, and is responsible for having served as artistic
director of 52 Chicago International Film Festivals. He was among the
first to showcase the emerging work of some of the film industry’s most
remarkable directors, including Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner
Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Tsai Ming-liang, Mike Leigh, Michael Moore,
John Carpenter, and Taylor Hackford, among many others. Under his
leadership, a who’s who of the film industry’s elite has attended the
Festival and its special events, including Harold Lloyd, Bette Davis,
Jack Lemmon, Vincente Minnelli, Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine,
François Truffaut, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry,
Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, and many more.
Kutza was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres,
awarded by French Minister of Culture Jacques Lang at the Cannes Film
Festival in 1984. He also received the Silver Lion Award at the 32nd
Venice International Film Festival, awarded for organizing a special
section devoted to US independent filmmakers. He received the Chicago Sun-Times award for "Exceptional Contribution to Chicago.” In 2010, Chicago Magazine
included Kutza on their list of "Top 40 Chicago Visionaries. In 2012,
he received the Sydney Pollack Award, honoring a person “who has been of
critical importance and continuing influence in non-profit film
exhibition, film preservation and/or independent film distribution.” In
June 2015, Kutza was named a Knight of the Legion of Honour by
the President of the French Republic for his achievements as "an
internationally recognized graphic designer, filmmaker and the Founder
of the Chicago International Film Festival."
About the Chicago International Film Festival and Cinema/Chicago
Founded in 1964, the Chicago International Film Festival is North
America’s oldest competitive film festival. Its parent corporation,
Cinema/Chicago, brings a diverse array of year-round events and
activities celebrating international film to Chicago to enrich the
community. These include its Education Program, which brings independent
and international film to thousands of Chicago Public School students
each year; the Chicago International Television Festival celebrating the
art of the small screen; the annual CineYouth Festival showcasing the
work of young filmmakers; and free weekly film screenings over four
months of the summer presented in collaboration with the City of
Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and with its
Chicago-based consular and cultural partners.
Michael Kutza is the President and CEO of Cinema/Chicago. Mimi Plauché
is the Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival and
Cinema/Chicago, continuing to report to the CEO in both her roles.
Vivian Teng is the Managing Director of Cinema/Chicago, also reporting
to the CEO.
The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival will take place October
12-26, 2017 at Chicago’s AMC River East theater; entries are now open at
Cinema Chicago will host a series of free International Screenings May
31 – Oct. 4. For additional information on all programs and events,