New Film Institute offers hands-on production training

Brent Kado, CFI cofounder

Brent Kado and Emile Cambry, Jr. have set out to bring film education in Chicago a combination of innovation, flexibility and affordability that they say it needs.

They’ve launched the Chicago Film Institute, a non-academic program that offers intensive, hands-on production courses to “fill needs that traditional institutions are missing, such as cost-effective instruction, real-world applications and accessible education to individuals from all backgrounds,” says Kado. 

“We want to boost up the local community through accessible education and also by putting out quality work.”

Kado is VP of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival and owner of boutique production company FlowFeel Films.  Among a plethora of ventures, Cambry is president of the Chicago International Social Change Film Festival and founding CEO of the 21st Century Youth Project, an afterschool program to enhance students’ math and science skills.

CFI cofounder Emile Cambry Jr.Kado and Cambry both have university teaching backgrounds; Kado taught at DePaul and Purdue, and Cambry currently teaches at North Park University.  “We have seen firsthand the skyrocketing cost of education while at the same time services being cut,” Kado says.  

“The value of a college education is without question at an all-time low. Columbia and Flashpoint will cost you $20,000 a year, and we want to allow students a chance to get the same education without the exorbitant costs.”

CFI’s first 10-week conservatory starts in June, culminating in the class’s production, with professional department heads, of a major project that Kado calls “beyond the typical student film.” 


Low cost tuition for comparable education

Their conservatory model, they say, offers a “university comparable education” incorporating creative, technical and business instruction, for a fraction of the cost: the 10-week program’s $995 tuition includes all production expenses.  An expanded 24-week conservatory begins in September.

They’re still finalizing instructors, and soliciting sponsors to supply equipment during their startup phase, with plans to eventually acquire their own gear.  They’re operating out of Cibola, the Pilsen technology and entrepreneurship incubator that Cambry opened last fall. 

They’re in the process of applying for nonprofit status, and do not plan to seek academic accreditation.

Their first monthly meet-up is March 9 at 6 p.m. at Cibola, 1647 S. Blue Island Ave.


Contact Ed Koziarski at