CineYouth unveils 2019 film and program schedule

young filmmaker
will light up the
Music Box Theatre
with 64 films screening
April 26-28

Celebrating its 15th edition in 2019, CineYouth, presented by Cinema/Chicago, yesterday announced the selection of 64 thrilling and diverse short films for a weekend of free screenings, discussions, and events.

The three-day film festival will be held April 26-28, 2019 at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) and will screen work from filmmakers ages 8-22, shining a light on new work from the growing community of youth filmmakers from around the world, including many who call Chicago home.

This year’s CineYouth selection represents 18 countries, and 59% of the directors are women. All events are free and open to the public, with tickets available at



CineYouth’s Opening Night film selection will be announced in the coming days, but the event’s full list of film selections is available for viewing and download here (PDF). The schedule of programs is below.


2019 CineYouth Programming Schedule

Friday, April 26
5:30pm – CineYouth opening reception in the Music Box Theatre Lounge
7:00pm – Welcome and Opening Night film presentation (film to be announced)

Saturday, April 27
2:00pm – Playtime: Animation
3:00pm – Time Regained: Documentary
4:15pm – A New Outlook: LGBTQ+
5:30pm – Up Past Bedtime: Horror

Sunday, April 28
10:00am – The Pitch (Music Box Theatre Lounge)
11:00am – Neighboring Worlds: International
12:15pm – She Persisted: Women in Cinema
1:30pm – Weight of the World: Drama
2:45pm – Young Visionaries: Experimental
4:30pm – Cinema of Chicago
6:00pm – Awards Ceremony


“Handpicked from over 400 submissions, these 64 short films show the astounding breadth of youth filmmaking,” said CineYouth Program Manager Ryan Saunders. “They boldly engage with such topics as growing up, gender identity, and the influence of older generations, demonstrating the power of their voices with remarkable visual language.”

“As a celebration of young and emerging artists, CineYouth is an essential part of our year-round programming,” added Cinema/Chicago Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “We’re proud to showcase the next generation of moving image-makers as we celebrate CineYouth’s 15th anniversary with this diverse, inspiring collection of films.”

Chicago talent
While presenting work from across six continents, CineYouth also spotlights filmmakers working right here in Chicago, with their work both in the Cinema of Chicago program (April 28, 4:30pm) as well as in many other thematic programs in the festival.

CPS student Kiernan Francis screens I am afraid of the lights in the Young Visionaries: Experimental program (April 28, 2:45pm). His film utilizes the over-stimulation of classroom and social environments to explore feelings of disengagement in high school students.

Galinha, by Chicago-based João Pereira-Webber, is the only film to screen on a 16mm film print at CineYouth and follows a lonely young girl who befriends a chicken.

Natalie Braye, a Black Lives Matter activist, screens Pilsen Not For Sale, which probes the current state of Chicago’s historic neighborhood Pilsen through the perspectives of local artists.

Encore filmmakers
This year’s selection also includes several filmmakers returning to CineYouth with new work.

Connor O’Keefe, winner of the 2018 CineYouth Chicago Award, will present Our Transition, a mixed-media narrative of the filmmaker’s own transition from the perspective of his parents, screening in the Cinema of Chicago program.

In the Time Regained: Documentary program (April 27, 3:00pm), Andres Aurelio returns with My Dad’s Cassettes, in which the filmmaker explores his father’s passion for house music.

German filmmaker Alexander Bergmann also returns to the selection for the second time with Julie in the A New Outlook: LGBTQ+ program (April 27, 4:15pm).

The CineYouth Awards
The weekend will culminate with the CineYouth Awards Ceremony (April 28, 6:00pm) where twelve awards will be given out in categories including the Rising Star Award, the Chicago Award, and Best Overall.

These award-winning films will be screened at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival in October. Scholarships will be awarded by the Harold Ramis Film School and Prodigy Film Camp. WTTW will present one CineYouth documentary filmmaker with a summer 2019 production internship.

The CineYouth Film Pitch
In addition to screening films throughout the weekend, the festival will host the CineYouth Film Pitch in which selected participants will present their works-in-progress to a panel of industry professionals.

Filmmakers will get valuable feedback from film industry experts, and the winning project will receive a cash prize to support the production of film. The Film Pitch takes place April 28 at 10:00am in the Music Box Theatre Lounge and is open to the public to observe and support the participating filmmakers.

CineYouth is sponsored by Columbia College Chicago and Flashpoint Chicago, a Campus of Columbia College Hollywood, with additional support from WTTW, DCASE, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. For more information on the CineYouth Festival, visit Free tickets to screenings and events are available now.

CineYouth Sponsors and Partners
The 15th annual CineYouth Festival sponsors include Lead Sponsors: Columbia College Chicago and Flashpoint Chicago, A Campus of Columbia College Hollywood; Media Partner: WTTW; Award Partners: Harold Ramis Film School, Prodigy Camp, Second City Training Center Kid and Teen Program; Host Partner: Music Box Theatre. CineYouth is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

About CineYouth Festival
CineYouth Festival, founded in 2005 and presented by Cinema/Chicago, is a free three-day international film festival for filmmakers 22-years-old and younger. Held annually in the spring, the festival showcases films created by youth, providing a public platform to highlight the next generation of filmmakers. Select filmmakers are awarded hands-on scholarship and internship opportunities in the industry in order to provide them with meaningful training and experience. CineYouth also presents free filmmaking workshops, discussions, panels and other hands-on development opportunities to inspire creativity in youth. CineYouth will celebrate its 15th edition April 26-28, 2019 at Chicago’s iconic Music Box Theatre. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

About Cinema/Chicago
Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year-round nonprofit arts and education organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. Cinema/Chicago’s programs include the Chicago International Film Festival, Summer Screenings Program, CineYouth Festival, and year-round Education Program. Celebrating its 55th edition October 16-27, 2019, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America’s longest-running competitive film festival. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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