Cinema/Chicago is the parent organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, North America’s oldest competitive film festival. Filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza founded Cinema/Chicago in 1964 to provide an alternative to the commercial Hollywood movies that dominated the city’s theaters.
The Festival opened in 1965 at the Carnegie Theater, where King Vidor, Bette Davis, and Stanley Kramer were honored for their contributions to American cinema. Since then, the Festival has grown to become a world-renowned annual event. The Festival’s in-person tributes have honored such international luminaries as François Truffaut, Orson Welles, Sophia Loren, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Satyajit Ray, Howard Hawks, George Cukor, Spike Lee, Lucino Visconti, Faye Dunaway, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Sidney Poitier, Patrice Chéreau, Ron Howard, J.A. Bayona, Viola Davis, Bruce Dern, and Kevin Kline.
Seeking out the best in international cinema, the Festival has discovered new talents and opened windows to a world of film previously or otherwise unavailable in Chicago. Over the years, the Festival has introduced creative new directors like Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Bertrand Tavernier, Margarethe von Trotta, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, among many others, to Chicago. The Festival is also dedicated to showcasing films made by filmmakers from across the state of Illinois.