Chicagocentric films at CIMMfest

"It Never Ends," featuring Chicago free jazz drummer Avreeayl Ra

“It Never Ends,” featuring Chicago free jazz drummer Avreeayl Ra

Although CIMMfest will bring nationally renowned filmmakers and musicians to Chicago, the four-day celebration is keeping it local with an emphasis on its new Lincoln Square location.

Screenings at the Davis Theater, shows at the Old Town School of folk music, and events at the Carbon Arc Bar are just a few of the ways that the organizers have added a taste of the Windy City into the weekend lineup.

CIMMfest Program Director Andy Markowitz, co-founder and chief content wrangler of, describes a few of the films that pack a regional punch.

Horn from the Heart: Paul Butterfield story
A biopic about Paul Butterfield, a white harmonica player from Hyde Park who learned from the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, and Little Walter. Career highlights include founding the Butterfield Blues Band, performing at Woodstock and recording the stellar, multi-genre album, East-West.

“The most surprising thing is his life after rock stardom,” says Markowitz. “He moved to Woodstock and had a farm and was part of the community. It was this whole period where he was intensely creative but also living life as solid family man.”

Sunday at 7:30 p.m. | Davis Theater

It Never Ends
An intimate short about Avreeayl Ra, a hometown, free form jazz drummer who the Tribune once described as “an indispensable Chicago innovator.”

“It’s part of the whole Sun Ra scene,” says Markowitz. “It includes footage of Abrial driving around the south side and discussing places where he’s lived and played.”

Friday at 6:10 p.m. | Davis Theater

Red Line Lounge
Chicago blues drummer Dave Russell played with such greats as Son Seals and Jimmy Johnson before entering a period of inactivity. This is the story of his encore.

Dave Russell
Dave Russell

“Like what happened to a lot of blues musicians, he had a few bad breaks and found himself homeless,” says Markowitz. “Now he and his band entertain CTA passengers at the Jackson Red Line Station.”

Saturday at 1:30 p.m. | Davis Theater