CIMMfest: The Chicago Movies and Music Festival, March 5–8, 2009


By Marilyn Ferdinand

This week, Chicago will be hosting a very unique event—a celebration of music and music movies called CIMMfest. In its inaugural year, CIMMfest will bring together movies and music, showcasing films with music at their center and other syntheses of moving image and musical performance.


CIMMfest is the brainchild of Ilko Davidov, producer and director at Chicago-based BulletProof Film, and Josh Chicoine, lead singer of the Chicago band the M’s. According to Chicoine, “We looked around and knew that we both had this love for movies and music and that there weren’t any fests spotlighting them as they exist together.This is an opportunity to see films from around the world with music as central to the telling, meet the filmmakers, and get immersed.”

The Chicago Cultural Center, the new St. Paul’s Cultural Center in Wicker Park, the Th!nkArt Salon, and music venues Schubas and the Double Door will host screenings, music/film-related exhibits and concerts created by artists from France, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Brazil, India, Canada, and Israel. More than 200 entries were received for the competition portion of the fest in the following categories: long- and short-form documentary, long- and short-form fiction, and music video.


At 7 p.m. opening night, distinguished filmmaker Lech Kowalski will present the U.S. premiere of his latest film, Camera War, accompanied by a live performance by composer Mimetic. While at CIMMfest, Kowalski will present the U.S. premiere of his documentary Unfinished, and the Chicago premiere of East of Paradise, the best documentary winner at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.

Other confirmed special guests, filmmakers, and panelists include Chicago producer Steve Jones, film legend John Anderson, Chicago Sun-Times pop music critic and cohost of National Public Radio’s “Sound Opinions” Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Reader film critic J.R. Jones, industrial music legend Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd., Pigface), WXRT radio personality Marty Lennartz, rock photographer Richard Bellia (Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Paul McCartney), music video pioneers Encyclopedia Pictura, and many more.

One guaranteed-fun event is “The Greatest Rock Movie Ever Panel,” from 3:30–5 pm on Sunday, March 8. It should be as good as debating all those “best” lists everyone seems to love to attack and correct. The awards for this juried festival will be presented 6–8 pm that same day. On Monday, March 9, CIMMfest will proudly present the Chicago premiere of the new Wilco tour documentary film Ashes of American Flags at the Music Box Theatre. A Q&A with codirector Christoph Green and codirector and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty will follow each screening.

It just so happens that film blogging’s own Michael W. Phillips, Jr. (aka, Goatdog) is one of the programmers of the film portion of the festival. He asked me to take part in reviewing the events and spreading the word, and I’m more than happy to comply. The rest of this week, look for preview reviews, reports from the fest, and possibly an interview or two. Check out the CIMMfest website and be sure to put some of the events on your calendar. l

  • Jonathan Lapper spoke:
    5th/03/2009 to 7:55 am

    The Greatest Rock Movie Ever Panel
    The Kids are Alright, at the very least for the scenes of Ringo Starr and Keith Moon stinking drunk babbling for the camera.
    Runner-Up: Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, especially for the Springsteen story that opens it.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    5th/03/2009 to 8:19 am

    Goatdog picked A Hard Day’s Night, which I find difficult to argue with. I like The Last Waltz and Stop Making Sense.

  • Jonathan Lapper spoke:
    5th/03/2009 to 8:54 am

    Yeah, I love A Hard Days Night. I thought it meant documentary or concert movie, not narrative work like that. Well, in that case, that would be at or near the top for me too. As well as your two. I never listened to much by the Band until that movie, then I started buying all their stuff.

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