Southland Film Fest opens Oct. 13



Nuha Abdessalam, Phoenix Staff Writer

The fifth annual Chicago Southland International Film Festival (CSIFF) will include several event firsts during its run Oct. 13 to 15.

The Phoenix caught up with Josh Young, GSU’s Director, Digital Learning & Media Design, and Festival Committee Chair & Programming and Operations Manager, and he outlined a few highlights.

“It’s our first year offering a filmmaker workshop,” Young said. “We’re excited to partner with Pixquid to bring a workshop for students to learn distribution, fundraising, and more at film festivals.” The filmmaker workshop will be part of CSIFF’s program for Saturday, Oct. 15; anybody who buys a festival pass or a ticket will have access to the workshop.

CSIFF’s film screenings for the Short Film Competition Program present in-person October 13-15 and will be available virtually 17-23. CSIFF also will provide closed captions for all virtual programming for the first time.

The CSIFF’s prescreening committee consists of 18 people this year, Young said. “After the pre-screener(s) rate the films, their ratings go to the program subcommittee, who then decide what films will be included or selected for the festival.” Awards for The Short Film Competition will be revealed at the filmmakers’ reception on Saturday, Oct. 15. Young said: “This year, 14 awards will be given out.”  

Multiple film festival partnerships were formed for CSIFF this year to bring additional programming to the Southland festival to promote.

Along with partnering with The South Side Film Festival in bringing The Shame of Chicago series episode to the festival, Young said, “cross-programming with Shortcut 100 International Film Festivals, in addition, helps bring some of the best films from their festivals to Chicago film festivals to see.”

These current alliances with film festivals are designed to create more diverse opportunities for filmmakers to have their films distributed to larger audiences.

“We’re trying to partner with multiple film festivals in the Chicago land area so we can cross-program, allowing more exposure, offer our community an opportunity to see films we may otherwise not see,” Young said. “Expanding and growing the film festival community and support for independent filmmakers in Chicago; we’re starting to think of film festivals as the theatrical release of those independent films who aren’t getting those distribution plans.”

The cross-promotion intends to generate further publicity on multiple screens in the Chicagoland area, giving filmmakers more platforms for their work. 

Films were submitted from seven countries, including the United States, this year. Young said, “FilmfreeWay’s site lists our film festival with tags and keyword searches, making it so people from all over the world can apply to the festival; we have had a lot of success just for being on that site alone.”

CSIFF’s program features films with relatable and moral themes, discussing topical issues, politics, etc. Young said, “One of our films is an animation with zero dialogue, produced out of Chicago called SymBionic, incredibly nuanced commentary on the advancement of technology and the destruction of our environment, but it’s the creative way of telling that story that is so engaging.”

For more information regarding The CSIFF, visit here Tickets and event schedules are found through the Eventive application.