The greater Chicagoland area is home to over 50 independent film festivals, ranging from one-day student showcases to multi-week extravaganzas. The 2019 Film Festival Symposium will bring together leaders, board members, and staff from these various festivals to hold an industry-wide discussion addressing shared challenges and opportunities.

How must film festivals evolve in order to meet the demands of 21st-century audiences? Can film festivals effectively share resources and knowledge? What lessons can be learned from other arts disciplines — theater, live music, performance art, and dance?

The Symposium will provide a structured process for organizational reflection and self-assessment. These conversations, exercises, and workshops will yield new insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by film festivals — both individually and collectively as an industry.

The outcome of this work will be 1-2 key proposals/initiatives that will help film festivals operate more efficiently and sustainably. The proposals that result from the Symposium will be beta-tested and evaluated in 2020.


WHEN: July 19, 2019 9:30am - 5:00pm

WHERE: Chicago Cultural Center

WHO: Festival directors, founders, board members, programmers, volunteers, and festival stakeholders

COST: $20 (lunch included)

Attending Festivals & ORGANIZATIONS

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema
Chicago Latino Film Festival
Chicago Onscreen: Local Film Showcase
Chicago South Side Film Festival
Chicago Irish Film Festival
Chicago Feminist Film Festival
Chicago Filmmakers
Chicago South Asian Film Festival
Comfort Station
Cow Lamp Films
Elevated Films Chicago
Full Spectrum Features NFP

IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival
In/Motion: Chicago’s International Dance Film Festival
JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival
The Lake County Film Festival
The Logan Theatre
Onion City Film Festival
One Earth Film Festival
OTV | Open Television
ReelAbilities Film Festival
Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival
Shortcut 100 Independent Film Festival
True/False Film Festival