CIFF’S “Home Grown Shorts” program spotlights work of seven talented, local filmmakers

Plucked from more than 200 entries, the work of seven local filmmakers will be screened at the Chicago International Film Festival’s specially-cultivated, “Home Grown Shorts” program starting Oct. 7.

“These guys demonstrate that you don’t have to flee to one of the two coasts to make good films,” says CIFF Competitions Coordinator Philip Bajorat.

This is Bajorat’s sixth year with CIFF, considered to be a record of sorts by some. A Crystal Lake native, he graduated Northwestern in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in speech communications, which he considers “funny,” as his brother is a chemist who has a Bachelor of Arts degree.

He volunteered to handle print traffic for CIFF before taking a job in the purchasing department at Facets Multimedia, where he also took care of scheduling and film print distribution.

“I kept in touch with the people here and when Competitions Coordinated opened I was hired,” he says. His position, which more accurately should have “programming director” in the title, covers documentary and short film programming for CIFF’s Hugo and Intercom competitions.

When it comes to making choices, Bajorat takes an overall view “to make the program as varied as possible, with docs, experimental, narrative, and in many different styles.”

But at the end of the day, he says, “Like with any film, quality rules overall.”