The Crusader Newspaper Group

CIMMFest No. 9 on tap for fantastic films and movies and music

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMfest) announces its movie and music lineup for the ninth edition, running November 9-12, 2017, centered at the Davis Theater and running across multiple venues throughout Chicago, including Martyrs’, Old Town School of Folk, GMan Tavern, Subterranean and others. Individual tickets for most events start at $10; 4-day festival passes start at $79. Festival passes and a la carte tickets are available at

This year’s multimedia festival features more than 40 events including two world premieres, four U.S. premieres, five Chicago premieres and eight Midwest premieres; musical acts representing a wide variety of genres; events featuring Tom Rush, Lee Ranaldo, The Nth Power, Dark Star Originals, and more TBA; and CIMMcon, CIMMfest’s dynamic professional and creative industry conference.

Opening night kicks off with the Midwest Premiere of “Living in Soul,” a heartfelt hybrid doc/concert film which wraps the story of soul-music powerhouse Daptone Records around electric Apollo Theater performances by label stalwarts like Antibalas, Budos Band, and the late Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones. The screening at Martyrs’ will be followed by an evening of live musical performance by Chicago soul diva Lili K, performing a tribute to Sharon Jones, and DJing by Daptone co-founder Neal Sugarman.

Opening night also features The Public Image Is Rotten, the story of John Lydon’s arguably more influential second band, told largely by the erstwhile Mr. Rotten himself. Director Tabbert Fiiller joins PiL drummer-turned-Chicago music maven Martin Atkins for a post-screening conversation, at the Davis Theater.

Anchoring the 2017 program is a tribute to Penelope Spheeris, the recipient of CIMMfest’s 2017 BAADASSSSS Award, honoring the lifetime achievement of maverick artists and innovators in movies and music. The BAADASSSSS Awards Ceremony takes place at the Davis Theater, Saturday, November 11, 6:15-7:30 p.m.

The Penelope Spheeris retrospective begins by bookending opening night at the Davis Theater with screenings of her classic documentaries on the LA punk and metal scenes, “The Decline of Western Civilization I” & “The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years,” starting at 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., respectively.

SOME OF THE late David Bowie’s last works are chronicled in “David Bowie: The Last Five Years.”

The retrospective continues through the CIMMfest weekend with “The Decline of Western Civilization Part III,” a rare showing of Spheeris’s 1987 punk western “Dudes,” starring Jon Cryer and Flea; and a free screening of “We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n Roll,” her virtually unseen backstage view of life on the Ozzfest tour. Spheeris will introduce several of the films, and will talk about her career capturing outsider culture on film in a masterclass at our CIMMcon industry conference on Saturday, November 11, at 11 a.m., at Gideon Welles.

Films with strong Chicago ties include “Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story,” the first comprehensive screen portrait of one of Chicago Blues’ greatest native sons and CIMMfest No. 9’s closing film (Davis Theater, Sunday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m.). Join director John Anderson (Born in Chicago, Sam Lay in Bluesland), producer Sandra Warren, and special guests for a post-film Q&A.

Also on closing night, CIMMfest will feature the world premiere of “2350 Last Call: The Neo Story,” a recollection of the iconic Lincoln Park club that was a haven for goths, punks, and adventurous misfits for more than three decades before closing in 2015. There will be a Q&A with filmmaker Eric Richter, and longtime Neo DJs Suzanne Shelton, Jeff Moyer, and Scary Lady Sarah will spin after the screening at Gman Tavern.

In partnership with the Cutting Edge Music Conference and New Orleans radio station WWOZ, CIMMfest presents a suite of docs celebrating several generations of the Crescent City groove. Unspooling Sunday at the Davis Theater and the Old Town School of Folk Music, the film program features Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Papa Grows Funk, Tank and the Bangas, and many more.

CIMMcon makes its return in 2017 with co-curator Kevin Coval, the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Kevin’s contributions to Chicago’s youth are vividly depicted in the documentary The Chicago Mixtape by director Paola Piers-Torres. The short film, which makes its Chicago Premiere Friday, November 10, 2017, at the Davis Theater at 6 p.m., will open CIMMcon. Kevin will also be presenting from his book A People’s History of Chicago, at CIMMcon’s Closing Event on Sunday, November 1, at 4 p.m. at Gideon Welles Craft Beer Bar and Kitchen.

CIMMcon’s weekend of panels and presentations offers an array of insights into the business and creative process of film, music, social justice, and entertainment law (including CLE credits). Panels include The People’s History of Chicago  with Kevin Coval, Rewriting Women’s Place in Film with Angie Gaffney of Stage 18, Women in Radio with Casera “DJ Ca$h Era” Heining, Industry Bromances and Romances, Chicago Music Renaissance by AM/FM and more. Panels will be held at Gideon Welles Craft Beer Bar and Kitchen and The Grafton Pub.

Additionally, entertainment lawyers will have the opportunity to earn CLE credits, as Bortz Law Firm presents a course titled: “Music Industry Idiosyncrasies – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Client” [1.5 cr. hr.] on Saturday, November 11, 2017, 1-2:30 p.m. at the Sulzer Regional Library Community Room. CIMMcon is free and open to the public to attend, with the exception of the CLE program, which costs $140 and includes a CIMMfest Festival Pass.

A full list of CIMMfest’s movie and music events, in addition to the CIMMcon roster, can be found at


The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) is a 501(c)(3) non- profit arts organization dedicated to bringing together filmmakers, musicians, artists, industry leaders and audiences from diverse cultures around the world. In addition to producing year-round film screenings, concerts, and professional development programming, the organization produces one of Chicago’s most highly anticipated and largest cultural events of the year: CIMMfest. The four-day, 100-plus multimedia event features film premieres, live concerts, live scored films, and a dynamic professional and entrepreneurial industry conference. CIMMfest serves a growing, diverse community of artists, industry and fans, in order to reveal the transformative power of music to foster creativity and communication, educate, enlighten, and entertain.


Recent News

Scroll to Top