I’m pleased to say that after two years of planning and waiting for that “right time”, Brent Kado and I are finally launching our Chicago Film Institute, a low-cost, high-value (blended learning) program to build the ecosystem of Chicago filmmakers. As a co-founder of the Chicago International Social Change Film Festival and a hungry filmmaker looking to produce more films, I’m always approached by aspiring filmmakers searching for affordable classes and programs to learn film production. My business partner, Brent Kado, is a co-founder of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, and founder/director of FlowFeel Films. We initially came up with this idea because we realized that for many students, going to film school in some cases in cost-prohibitive, and others need a flexible program to incorporate with their schedules. For our programs, we’re bringing in a diverse talent base to serve as instructors, mentors, and advisors. We’ll be publishing our faculty list soon.
As Chicago residents, we realized that the local film industry, in conjunction with business, technology, and government industries must find ways in which Chicago can operate in the rapidly evolving film landscape. The summer conservatory, which will operate out of my technology and entrepreneurship incubator, BLUE1647, will bring a blended, university-quality, collaborative education to those often unable to access the benefits of traditional arts instruction. Each cohort will create a high-quality, IMDb qualifying film project that will be steps above the typical student film. By combining both exceptional education and professional production in an affordable and supportive environment, the Chicago Film Institute will give Chicagoans an opportunity to learn and create to build a digital portfolio. As far as why this is particularly important for the tech space, we will have film tech hackathons (hardware and software) integrated into the program, as well as 48-hour film competitions, training our cohort on how to use all of the media forms to tell stories. The beautiful aspect of being at BLUE1647 is that we’re embracing all of the forms of entrepreneurship, digital and traditional, but combining the collective powers of both, we believe this is the key to true innovation and collaboration.
We aim for a diverse cohort with diverse interests, tackling first-person narratives to social change documentaries. The first conservatory module begins in early June and will last 10 weeks, culminating with the collaborative shooting of the film project. Another 24 week module will start in early September. We’re having a meetup on March 9th to discuss the program and network with local filmmakers and artists. Go to our website to find out more details. To apply, go here