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Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals Official Launched and Accepting Membership Applications at

Wed, June 07, 2023 12:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Image Caption: From left to right, 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), Ines Sommer (CAFF Advisory Board), Ana Garcia Doyle (CAFF Advisory Board), Deidre Searcy (FACETS), Kathleen Beckman (FACETS).

The Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals (CAFF) was launched by FACETS, home of the almost 40-year-old Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), yesterday at a special event 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 on: growing audiences, growing resources, and expanding expertise. CAFF is now accepting member applications at their new online home,, with annual membership fees starting at $75 /year for organizations with budgets under $50,000.

At the official CAFF Launch Event on June 6, 2023, at the Chicago Cultural Center, Jonah Zeiger, the Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Film Office, 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.”

At the launch event, 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 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


CAFF Members join a dedicated community of film industry professionals who are passionate about independent cinema, film exhibition, and the filmmakers and storytellers whose work they champion. Any organization, business, or individual whose work or interest touches on the film festival sector is welcome to join.

Membership benefits include listings on the Festival Calendar and Festival Directory; access to members-only meetings, professional development workshops, and networking events; discounts on FACETS’ Theater Rentals, annual membership to the national Film Festival Alliance (FAA), and Eventive equipment; marketing support, including an annual public marketing campaign; and funding and grant opportunities.

Membership is annual and fees are based on the annual budget of your festival, organization, or business, and all membership levels receive the same benefits. Memberships start at $75 /year for organizations with budgets under $50,000 and go up to $500 /year for organizations with budgets over $750,000; individual and student memberships are also available for $25 /year, as well as non-voting business and sponsor memberships for $500 /year.

CAFF is now accepting membership applications, which can be found and submitted on

ABOUT CAFF & CHICAGOSCREENS.ORG is the home of the Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals (CAFF), a program of local nonprofit FACETS, and acts as a hub for both CAFF Members and film fans seeking film festival experiences.

CAFF's mission is to help Chicago-area film festivals add to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities through sector building efforts focused on: growing audiences, growing resources, and expanding expertise.

Steering Committee: Nat Dykeman (Lake County Film Festival), Grishma Shah (ReelAbilities Film Festival), Jigar Shah (Chicago South Asian Film Festival), Jonah Zeiger (Chicago Film Office), Karen Cardarelli (FACETS), Deidre Searcy (FACETS), Kathleen Beckman (FACETS), Paul Gonter (FACETS).

Advisory Board: Jude Blackburn (Chicago Irish Film Festival), Ana Garcia Doyle (One Earth Collective), Rebecca Fons (Gene Siskel Film Center), Peter Hawley (Illinois Film Office), Rich Moskal (Chicago Film Office, ret.), Eugene Park (Full Spectrum Features), Ines Sommer (DOC Chicago), Rima Sweiss (Chicago Palestine Film Festival), Vivian Teng (Chicago International Film Festival), Brenda Webb (Chicago Filmmakers, Reeling Film Festival, Onion City Film Festival).


Established in 1975, FACETS expands perspectives and affirms a shared humanity through inclusive engagement with film. FACETS' mission is to create cinematic experiences for youth and adults that foster vital conversations and community action through film exhibitions, media education, and film resources. Learn more at

FACETS presents the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), the largest children’s film festival in the world and an Oscar®-qualifying children’s film festival. CICFF celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, running November 3-19, 2023. Learn more at

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