CFWC’s gala fundraiser June 26 hopes to raise $30,000 to augment grants

The Community Film Workshop of Chicago hasn’t been around as long as, say, Columbia College, but it sure has done its share of video training since it opened back in 1971. Now the challenge is to keep the doors open by augmenting its under-$100,000 operating budget from grants.

Towards that end, CFWC will hold its first-ever fund-raiser June 26 at the Parkway Hotel. At $100 a ticket for an evening of music, silent auction, raffle and desserts, its goal is to raise $30,000 to help continue training multicultural adults in film, video and digital media.

A huge rent hike forced the Workshop to leave 1130 S. Wabash last May after 15 years at that address. Executive director Margaret Caples said they’ve pegged a new South Side location that should be signed by September so adult classes, which had been suspended, can resume.

CFWC’s several after school programs for elementary and high school students have continued without interruption thanks to separate grant funding.

CFWC’s original mission was “to train minorities and women and we still remain a multicultural organization,” said Caples, a student in the Workshop’s first class in 1980, “and the people who attend our programs reflect that.”

Evening classes of six students per class are taught by four on-going instructors, said Caples. Funding comes from the Illinois Arts Council, the Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs, the Applewood Foundation and the Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation. With diminished funding, Caples had not taken a salary for a long time.

The New York Community Workshop brought the concept to Chicago and other cities in 1971, sponsored by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity (EOE) and the Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs. The late Jim Taylor was the first executive director and taught the 16mm handheld film program. Caples, Taylor’s wife of 27 years, succeeded him 10 years ago.

The anniversary gala kicks off at 7 p.m. and includes music by jazz musician Lenny Marsh & Friends, desserts donated by the Parkway’s chef, Cliff Rome, flowers by Franto. There’s dancing, a silent auction (offering interesting vintage items like a Movieola) and a raffle. The Parkway Ballroom is located at 4455 S. King Dr. Call 773/667-3648 for tickets; the $100 price is deductible.

EXTRA: SOME OF CFWC’s PROMINENT GRADUATES: Stephanie Moore, Tony Aguilera and Valerie Bulinski work as assistant directors; Bill Hardin, assistant camera; Roger Barski, gaffer; Fred Steim, editor; Jennifer Jobst is wardrobe designer for Theatrical Wardrobe Local 769; Jim Stern is business manager for Broadcast Engineers IBEW Local 1220; Suzanne Dumtez-Cole is Ch. 32’s engineer news editor; Oshun Mugwana, Ch. 11 editor; Isaac, Ch. 9 news cameraman; Kevin G. Gist, an Avid editor for Oprah; Doreen Bartoni, Columbia College’s Dean of Media arts; Alice Stephens, Clark College, Atlanta professor at the school of mass media; Jackie Stewart, professor, U of C English department, and Ramona Curry, professor, U of I/Champaign Women’s Studies department.