Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Thank you from the Chicago Film Fest!


Thank you for being a part of 12-day celebration of international, independent, and local cinema at the Chicago International Film Festival. 

Thank you for logging on, driving in, pulling up, sitting down, and engaging with stimulating, enlivening, exhilarating, gratifying, cathartic, diverting, and satisfying film.

As both festival organizers and attendees, we really appreciated the opportunity to be transported — be it a romantic interlude in Paris through Suzanne Lindon’s Spring Blossom or a traditional festival in a dramatic Japanese coastal town in Takuma Sato’s Any Crybabies Around? or to a social media influencer’s private world in Magnus von Horn’s Sweat or an epic moment in 1960s hidden Soviet history in Andrei Konchalovsky’s Dear Comrades! I hope you did as well!

Film is a powerful tool that connects us with the world beyond our own doorsteps, city limits, or national boundaries. At this year’s Festival, film lovers joined us from 47 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, to watch more than 100 films from 43 countries over 12 days, amounting to 1,554,780 minutes of exciting cinema. In addition, film fans from more than 100 countries engaged with us on Facebook and YouTube for filmmaker spotlights, livestream conversations, and more. 

We had no idea what a virtual festival would bring. Would our dedicated patrons still attend? Would film lovers still appreciate the unique place our Festival holds in their cultural lives? Would audiences from around the country join in despite being miles away from Chicago? Overwhelmingly, the answer was yes! 

From September through October, Cinema/Chicago signed up more new members in a two-month period and received more tip-jar donations on tickets purchased than ever before. By hosting a virtual festival, we enabled you and so many of your fellow attendees to participate from wherever you were — overcoming some of the boundaries and restrictions that keep us apart and offering increased access for people of all different backgrounds and from many different locations.

Together, through film, we connected with the lives and experiences of people from distant times, in faraway locations, of diverse cultures, and even from fantastical, unknown worlds that allowed us to imagine something new, extraordinary, and different.

Coming off the exuberance and exhaustion of the Festival this year, we ask ourselves, what makes a community? 

Shared geography? Shared emotions? Shared values? Shared experiences?

For us, you create our community — you and all your fellow attendees, no matter what countries we come from or which languages we speak.

Here at Cinema/Chicago, our work isn’t finished. We have already launched into planning for 2021. We are looking at how we will continue to adapt, transform, and present our year-round programs to advance our mission and goals of increasing access to great cinema, supporting emerging filmmakers, and educating and inspiring young people even as we remain physically distant to keep us, our loved ones, and our community safe.

But never down. And never apart.

With much appreciation,

Mimi Plauché
Artistic Director

Vivian Teng
Managing Director
P.S. Thank you for your participation in the 56th Chicago International Film Festival!

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Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year round non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. In addition to the Chicago International Film Festival, Cinema/Chicago's programs include: the Summer Screenings ProgramCineYouth Festival, and year-round Education Program.

If you value the community experience of filmgoing in Chicago, join now and help support our organization.

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