5 Illinois Film Festival’s Student Filmmakers Should Attend Now showing
Illinois houses the third largest city in the states that is Chicago in which thefilm community continues to grow. Annual film festivals are held across thestate for local and worldwide filmmakers to compete for the audience’sattention. Each festival contains its own objective and theme, which acceptsentries that must meet the festivals criteria. Festivals aren’t just for thefilmmakers but for the aspiring students in the industry and your average moviegoer. Chicago Film festivals bring in the crowds, which is why I’m naming offsome of the best festivals student filmmakers should attend to network, learn,enjoy, and just experience the overall process.
48-Hour Film ProjectThe 48-hour Film project isn’t native toChicago, but they regularly hold afestival every summer for localChicagoans. You probably won’t see When: July 27th – 29thany big names at a festival likethis, but its great for amateur Where: Firehouse Studiosfilmmakers. Groups can register with 1545 W. Rosemont Ave.a small fee and get assigned a genre towrite, shoot, and edit in… you guessed Website: 48hourfilm.com/en/chicagoit, 48-hours. Each group is alsoassigned specific props and one-linersto be thrown into their films. After thehard work is done, sit back and watchall the screenings. It’s very laid backas all the contestants get theopportunity to speak to the audienceabout what they had to go through.Teamwork and determination are thetake away. Who knows… you couldsearch for new contacts or havesomeone discover you.
TV Pilot Competition Movies aren’t always leading the medium for entertainment these days. Every summer this festival puts upWhen: July 20th locals against one another to dish out a half hour television pilot. Comedy is theWhere: 78 E. Washington St. goal, as the competition is about Chicago’s Cultural Center Theater presenting the best half hour pilot. The panel of judges consists of studioWebsite: www.witsendshorts.com executives from CBC, Fox, Comedy Central and possibly a few top talent agencies. They only screen four pilots because lets face it, could you really sit through a days worth of half hour comedies? One person can only laugh so much. Comedy is hard genre, if your looking for talent or advice; this is place for you silly. Throw down ten dollars and show up for a few laughs and some networking.
Midwest International Film Festival When: Monthly Where: 2828 N. Clark St. Landmarks Centre Cinema Website: www.midwestfilm.comChicagoans have the advantage of being in the big city where festivals come a bitmore annually than other locations in the Midwest. This festival representsIndependent low budget films for your up and comers to find an audience. There’salways a chance to get your film screened at Midwest, because you have countlessopportunities to submit to the festival. Again, this is another festival with tons ofnetworking possibilities that show talent from neighboring states. Contacts are keyto a young filmmakers career, this festival is the bridge between moving up fromamateur to talking with the big leagues. It’s always a win if you just love watchingmovies too.
Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival When: July 24th – 29th Where: Cutting Hall 150 E. Wood St., Palatine Il. Website: www.bwiff.comInterested in more Independent features? Check out Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival(the H in Whiskey is silent). Their objective compiles films that encompass story andcharacters above all else leaving big budget films aside for equal opportunity. Unlike the otherfestivals mentioned so far, Blue Whisky takes place once every year over the course of sixdays of screenings. Thirty films are shown that vary from short to feature length filmsdisplaying a variety of genre’s. I don’t think it’ll be a problem finding something that’ll interestyou. Blue Whiskey is one of the top festivals in Illinois from amateur to professional mixes oftalent. Check out their website listed above to see what’s playing this year.
Chicago International Film FestivalWhen: October 11th – 25thWhere: Chicago areaWebsite: www.chicagofilmfestival.comThe Chicago International Film Festival is the biggest festival in Illinois. Chances are you’veheard of it before. Entries come in from all around the world spreading interesting stories andcharacters that get away from the big Hollywood motion pictures. This festival is truly for thefilm dork within that gets to geek out every October in the city of Chicago. Since the festival ishuge, it comes with a cost. You must pay to get into every screening or a package ranging$90 up to $120 for multiple days. For student filmmakers, I believe its worth putting forth themoney to get a chance to view and discuss with the filmmakers in attendance that do Q & A’safter screenings. Who knows, maybe they’ll take you up on that drink offer after thescreening. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Final ThoughtsAs a student filmmaker in Chicago I’m trying to take advantage ofeverything this city has to offer in terms of film and entertainment. I’veseen many great films at festivals like these and met some really insightfulindividuals in the industry. Networking is key to move forward in thisbusiness. Film festivals above all else represent the chance for movielovers in general the opportunity to see different types of films you mightnever see in your local theater. Film is an art and deserves to be seen assuch. Local filmmakers draw from what they know; it plays a big part forthe city and culture they group up in to share with friends, family, andeveryone else that gives them a chance. Student filmmakers should lookto expand their knowledge not only by watching festival films but talking tothe people that made them.
ResourcesImages used from:www.Gawker.com www.Collider.com www.movietheaterlocations.org www.marcustheaters.com