This year marks the 9th annual Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, otherwise known as CIMM Fest.
“It takes a village,” says Marketing Director, Gary Kuzminski. “I hold such a high admiration for everyone involved – all the way from the loyal veterans of the organization to the anxious newcomers who build on our infectious energy.”
Watching it all come together can only be described as “pure, audacious excitement,” according to Music Program Director, Jonathan Meeks.
“I’m a total nerd about CIMM Fest. My dream band to book is St. Vincent live-scoring Dark Side of the Moon to The Wizard of Oz. How nuts would that be? Seriously. Think about that.”
Maja Memisevic, Director of Operations for CIMM Fest, describes the occasion as nothing she has ever worked for before. “At CIMM Fest we truly believe in what we are doing, and the movement we are building. This is a very exciting time for CIMM Fest as we work hard on expanding the festival’s reach, while strengthening our local ties. It has been great to witness how this year’s events have shaped and solidified our work.”
This year’s program is one the entire team is very proud of, according to Memisevic, and is a “personification of what CIMM Fest strives to achieve – to really illustrate true power of music and movies.”
Best Documentary winner “SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO” is a great example of this mission – “a film that managed to show the power of music and also set aside a very human story,” Memisevic proudly commented.
“CIMM Fest is the artistic voice of the people,” says loyal CIMM Fest fan, Edgar Tostadas.
Bry Liggins, Festival Manager of CIMM Fest, explains it has “been an incredibly rewarding experience watching CIMM Fest grow. Since it was my first year with this festival, I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I’d be working alongside with many hardworking and passionate folks. CIMM Fest is an entirely volunteer-based organization and knowing that everyone was donating their time for such a good cause really made the whole process worthwhile. Well, that and the sweet lineup!”
One of the most memorable events amongst them all, and a true highlight, was the honoring of Penelope Spheeris for the annual “Badasssss Award.” Spheeris is known for her work in directing such classics as “Wayne’s World,” “The Decline of Western Civilization,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and more, which have all achieved unanimous praise. The reel of work that streamed before Spheeris took the stage left me in awe and only proved more fitting of her exit in which Spheeris said, “I believe the correct terminology is badass motherfucker,” dropped the mic, and left the stage.
(Maya Memisevic, Director of Operations for CIMM Fest, with Badasssss Award winner Penelope Spheeris)
“It is my hope that, in our small way, we can contribute to the cultural shift taking place toward more broadly recognizing and supporting the work of badass women across the board in film and music,” said George Lepauw, Executive Director of CIMM Fest. “Spheeris is a role model to all of us at CIMM Fest as an artist, a leader, a cultural change-maker, and a master director of unforgettable documentaries and narrative features that exemplify the power of music in society and in the human heart.”
Another huge highlight included the two-night feature of JBTV’s own alum The Bleachers. Jack Antonoff and the rest of The Bleachers crew put their whole hearts into their first night at The Riv, only to be shown up come their second night at The Vic. Every song more powerful than the next, The Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff described this set of shows at CIMMFest as “the closest thing to a hometown show this tour has had.
(Jack Antonoff of Bleachers at JBTV)
One can only imagine what is in store for next year’s 10-year CIMMFest; however, Meeks has a bit of insight. “I can’t share specifics, but we’ve discussed partnerships, artists, venues, and collaborations. We’d like to develop further events expanding into each night of the festival. I mean, doesn’t a JBTV after party sound amazing?”
You can check out the rest of the winners of CIMM Fest on the link below – continue to be moved and inspired to produce great work! We hope to see you next year at CIMM Fest Year 10!