I’ve been receiving quite a number of emails from people looking to submit their work to the 2008 Chicago Underground Film Festival. We hope to finalize our dates and venue and post a new Call For Entries very soon. For an explanation as to the delay I’d like to refer you to the article below which just ran on the website Reelchicago.com. I hadn’t expected this information to be made public until all the details were finalized but since the cat has been let out of the bag locally I figured it was ok to share this information here. Obviously much is still being worked out but this looks to be the beginning of an exciting new era for both CUFF and IFP/Chicago. I’ll be posting more details here as they develop. I welcome your questions and comments.

I’ll also be attending the Lake County Film Festival again this year, where I am pleased to again serve on the shorts jury. If you’ll be in attendance at the festival be sure to say hello.


IFP aiming to form strategic partnership with 15-year old Chicago Underground Film Fest

The Independent Feature Project/Midwest has made no little plans. Foremost among them is the possible acquisition of the 15-year old eclectic Chicago Underground Film Festival, plus expanding the number of screenings, workshops and networking events.

To help achieve these goals, IFP’s board added five new members to increase the board size to 25 members.

“We have branched out and brought in ideas from experts beyond the film world,” says IFP executive director Elizabeth Donius, noting the new members’ expertise includes public relations, development and arts management.

Topping the agenda is finding ways to boost IFP’s $200,000 operating budget by an additional $50,000.

Among other uses, the funds would give full-time status to assistant director Lynn Steadman, who’s worked on a part time basis for 18 months.

Should the IFP/CUFF merger become reality – the agreement is presently in the hands of their respective lawyers — IFP’s financial backing and assumption of some management responsibilities would help “make the event smoother, bigger and stronger,” Donius states.

CUFF’s artistic vision would remain untouched and co-founder/festival director Bryan Wendorf would continue as artistic director.

One major change under consideration would fuse the Underground Festival and IFP Midwest Summit into one grand weekend event in early November, rather than August for CUFF and October for the Summit.

New IFP board is a smart blend of art and commerce

New board officers are president Claire Connelly; VPs Nicole Bernardi-Reis and Dan Moore; secretary Susan Rossetti and treasurer Carol Schaffner.

Board members are Kristina Bell, Nicole Bernardi-Reis, producers; Patrick Buckley, filmmaker/producer; Amy Cargill, filmmaker/editor, Normal Pictures; Claire Connelly, Carrie Holt De Lama, producers; Ericka Frederick, Kodak;

Marcie Freidman, Odd Lot Entertainment; John Fromstein, Fulton Market Films; Lisa Gildehaus, filmmaker/producer; Stan Glapa, Fletcher Chicago; Michael Graf, direct, Spot Filmworks Ltd.; Morgan Harris, Allied Advertising;

Margaret Malone, Malone Communications; Dan Moore, DGA; Andrea Mortensen, Towers Productions; Amy Rising, Flashpoint Academy; Marci Rolnick, Lawyers for the Creative Arts; Susan Rossetti, University of Chicago; Jennifer Rudnicke, TP&R Casting; Carol Schaffner, Filmworkers/Astrolab; Gail H. Sonnenfeld, producer.

The Independent Feature Project/Midwest is located at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash; phone, 312/235-0161. A new IFP website is in the works. —Ruth L Ratny __________________ Bryan Wendorf Festival Director Chicago Underground Film Festival

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