FACETS has launched the Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals

The Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals (CAFF) was launched on June 6, 2023 by FACETS, home of the almost 40-year-old Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF.) The special event took place at the Chicago Cultural Center with Chicago Film Office Deputy Commissioner, Jonah Zeiger

CAFF is a membership-based organization with the mission to help Chicago-area film festivals add to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities through sector building efforts focused upon: growing audiences, growing resources, and expanding expertise. 

Zeiger talked about the significance of CAFF as part of Chicago’s larger film sector, saying: “The formation of CAFF represents an important step forward for Chicago’s vibrant film industry and community. By bringing together leaders from Chicago’s extraordinarily diverse film festival scene, as well as other allied organizations involved with film exhibition, distribution, marketing, and impact, this sector will be able collaborate more effectively, share best practices, and bring ever greater value to communities, audiences, and industry alike. It will also enhance Chicago’s presence on the national and international festival circuit. The Chicago Film Office and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events are pleased to support this initiative as part a larger effort to foster inclusive and impactful collaboration within Chicago’s film and creative communities.”  

FACETS’ Executive Director, Karen Cardarelli illustrated CAFF’s future impact with a comparison to the Chicago’s theater sector successes, saying: “When the League of Chicago Theaters first formed over 40 years ago, there were just a few dozen theaters and one regional theater. Now that sector enjoys over 200 theaters, 10 regional theaters, and 6 winners of a TONY Regional Award. In the same way we have seen Chicago’s theater sector grow over the last couple decades, I believe the Film Festival sector can grow and expand in its own path, for the sake of the independent art form and for the sake of building economic and cultural enrichment for our communities!”

Also announced at the event was CAFF’s 2023 schedule of member events, including two professional development workshops: Securing Festival Sponsorship at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Wednesday, July 19, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm with Monica Wilczak, Chief Development Officer at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Troy Pryor of the XL Film Festival, (formerly the South Side Film Festival) and Black Harvest Film Festival, and Calvin King of Flowers Communication Group; and Publicizing Your Festival with publicist Lara Bogenrief, Owner Bogenrief PR, hosted on Zoom on Wednesday, August 23, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.

Event and registration details for these workshops as well as CAFF’s other 2023 events can be found at ChicagoScreens.org.

PHOTO: L-R: Rich Moskal (CAFF Advisory Board), Jonah Zeiger (CAFF Advisory Board), Paul Gonter (FACETS), Rebecca Fons (CAFF Advisory Board), Grishma Shah (CAFF Steering Committee), Karen Cardarelli (FACETS), Jude Blackburn (CAFF Advisory Board), Ana Garcia Doyle (CAFF Advisory Board), Dierdre Searcy (FACETS), Kathleen Beckman (FACETS)


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