Chicago Filmmakers to Host BWiFF 2020

  • Chicago Filmmakers facility at a restored Firehouse in the Edgewater neighborhood (5720 N Ridge Avenue, Chicago).Photo by Eric Allix Rogers (

    Chicago Filmmakers facility at a restored Firehouse in the Edgewater neighborhood (5720 N Ridge Avenue, Chicago).Photo by Eric Allix Rogers (

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival
Updated 6/18/2019 7:26 AM

The 10th Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (BWiFF) will be held at Chicago Filmmakers in the Edgewater neighborhood on Chicago's North Side from July 17-23, 2020. Call for entries will be accepted exclusively through FilmFreeway beginning September 3, 2019.

Since 2010, the festival has been held annually over the summer throughout the Chicagoland area. After six years of screenings at Palatine Park District's historic Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center in Palatine, the festival made its first move to the AMC Randhurst 12 in 2016 following a successful crowdfunding campaign.


"We weren't reaching our audience in Palatine," according to Executive Director and Founder Michael Noens. "It's a beautiful performing arts center and provided us a home for several years. However, our audiences were not filling the 400-seat auditorium so it was time to move on."

In 2017, the festival made its way into the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago at the iconic Music Box Theatre on Southport Avenue. The eight-day event featuring compelling independent films of varying lengths was held in the venue's secondary 70-seat auditorium. The festival's ninth season in 2018 was hosted by The Foxhole Chicago in Ravenswood on Montrose Avenue. The creative space was transformed into an intimate screening room.

Noens says he is fond of each venue the festival has played. "They each offer something different. They all have their own unique atmosphere and it's been fun to experience how the energy of BWiFF mingles with each."

Following the 2018 festival, Noens proposed a one year hiatus to the organization's Board of Directors to complete some internal restructuring and develop additional programming opportunities.

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"We needed a break," he said. "It's been a wonderful and challenging nine years and we needed to take a moment to step back, plan appropriately for our 10 year anniversary, and develop new programs to keep BWiFF growing and evolving for the next 10 years. And I think the ideas our team have been working on will do just that."

Each film selected for exhibition and competition at BWiFF is presented in one auditorium. Judges experience each film for the first time along with the audience. During the festival's week-long run, filmmakers are invited to attend and participate in Q&A's moderated by festival judges.

"I'm thrilled to be bringing BWiFF to Chicago Filmmakers next July," said Noens. "Their facility is beautiful. Our audiences and guest filmmakers are going to be in for a real treat."

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival is a not-for-profit organization that seeks out independently produced cinema by bold and innovative filmmakers that utilize story elements in a new and exciting way, presenting character-driven independent cinema fueled by the filmmaker's passion for the craft without studio support.

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