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Reel vision: Chicago Southland International Film Festival set to begin

Reel vision: Chicago Southland International Film Festival set to begin

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Diverse subject matter will be the focus of the upcoming Chicago Southland International Film Festival.

The Chicago Southland International Film Festival (CSIFF), which is presented by Governors State University, begins Oct. 11 and runs through Oct. 17.

Joanne Carroll, coordinator for Benches on the Avenue., talks about this year's public art program that features bench on Aok Park Avenue decorated as album covers.

Both virtual and live offerings will be in the spotlight this year.

"We're excited to be back in person at least on a smaller scale," said Joshua E. Young, co-founder, with Suzanne E. Patterson, of the Chicago Southland International Film Festival. Young is also the programs and operations manager for the festival.

The film festival opens Monday with virtual offerings and then next weekend will have live events on campus. To get festival passes visit Eventive at

Young said it's rewarding for audiences to be able to not only watch the films in person but to be able to take part in networking and Q&A options with filmmakers.

"We have 59 films this year, including shorts and the feature film 'Try Harder' " he said. "Try Harder" is by filmmaker Debbie Lum and is about the college application process and problems and challenges that come about during the process. The film debuted earlier this year at Sundance Film Festival.

Young said the fest is celebrating its fourth year.

"We're excited to be bringing high quality independent films to the Chicago Southland and to be adding to the rich cultural landscape," he said.

The genres featured in the fest run the gamut from comedy and horror to drama, sci-fi and more.

"We continue to have great submissions from across the globe," Young said. Viewers can see short films from various countries, Young said. They include everywhere from Luxembourg and India to Australia and Poland.

According to Patterson, “It’s exhilarating to come out of the 2020 virtual world with a hybrid concept this year: entertaining folks in the comfort of their own homes as well as hosting a live, in-person weekend of screenings, and Q&As, including a VIP Filmmaker’s Reception."

Young said one of the highlighted shorts this year will be "Roots" by Alex Pavloski of the Homewood-Flossmoor area. "Roots" highlights the life cycle of plants in a unique and creative way.

Young's hope is that audiences "walk away from the film festival with a new appreciation for filmmaking and the art of film."

The festival is sponsored by The School of Extended Learning, Digital Learning and Media Design and The Knowledge Exchange.

FYI: Visit the Chicago Southland International Film Festival website at or on the CSIFF Facebook page.


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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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