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CIMMfest 2017 Runs Nov. 9-12 in Chicago

The ninth edition of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, also known as CIMMfest, will run from Thursday, November 9th, through Sunday, November 12th, in the Windy City. The 2017 festivities kick off with a preview concert featuring Lee Ranaldo and Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society at Subterranean on Sunday, November 5th, at 8 pm. Abrams is also the acclaimed composer of films such as "Life Itself," "The Interrupters" and "The Trials of Muhammad Ali" (click here to read his interview with publisher Chaz Ebert). 

Renowned concert pianist George Lepauw serves as the Executive Director of CIMMfest, which is also a nonprofit arts organization that holds year-round events outside of its annual four-day festival. This year’s installment features over 40 events including two world premieres, four U.S. premieres, five Chicago premieres and eight Midwest premieres; a diverse array of musical acts; and CIMMcon, CIMMfest’s professional and creative industry conference. Many of the events will take place at the Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln. Ave., while others will occur at venues such as Martyrs’, Old Town School of Folk, GMan Tavern and Subterranean. 

“The festival is premised, as the title indicates, on the relationship between music and movies,” said Lepauw during his conversation with Chaz Ebert at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. “We’re always looking for a selection of films that are about music, whether they are documentaries or narrative features, full-length or shorts. We also include music videos and live scores as well.”

Opening night on November 9th will present the Midwest Premiere of "Living on Soul," Cory Bailey and Jeff Broadway's documentary about Daptone Records and Apollo Theater that includes performances by the late Sharon Jones. Chicago soul diva Lili K will pay tribute to Sharon Jones at an after party following the screening at Martyrs'. Also screening opening night is "Axis," the feature directorial debut of "Archer" star Aisha Tyler, starring  Emmett Hughes as a reformed Hollywood bad boy (the film will be at the Davis Theater).

Over the weekend, "Wayne's World" director Penelope Spheeris will be on hand for a retrospective of her work that includes her "Decline of the Western Civilization" trilogy, as well as her Ozzfest documentary, "We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'N Roll." Closing out the festival on November 12th will be John Anderson's "Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story," the first comprehensive screen portrait of the titular Chicago blues legend. Other highlights in the line-up are "David Bowie: The Last Five Years," Francis Whaley's behind-the-scenes look at the icon's final recording sessions; the North American premiere of Benjamin Mattingly's "Electric Heart," the first EDM-powered "silent" narrative film; and the world premiere of "2350 Last Call: The Neo Story," Eric Richter's profile of Chicago's first alternative dance club.

“We’re very interested in films that have great music in their scores even if the film itself is not about a musical subject,” said Lepauw. “Some of the greatest films of all time stay in your mind and your memory because of the great music that goes along with them. Nowadays, directors often know less about music when they select a composer or work with a music supervisor. They don’t always do as much work on the music as they do on the text. We are trying to make sure that directors and film teams know as much as they can about music and where to find great composers. We’re trying to make that network.”

To view Chaz Ebert's full conversation with Lepauw, view the video below...

George Lepauw, CIMMfest Executive Director, in Cannes with Chaz Ebert from The Mint on Vimeo.

Individual tickets for most CIMMfest events start at $10; 4-day festival passes start at $79. Festival passes, a la carte tickets and the full festival line-up are available at

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