Chicago festival combines music, film

Amanda Svachula, Assistant A&E Editor


Reggae, blues and hip-­hop melodies will drift through different venues across Chicago from April 16 to April 19 as part of the seventh Chicago International Music and Movies Festival. Several Northwestern alumni are involved in the festival, which aims to combine the power of music and movies.

“It’s much different than the traditional music or film festival, in the sense that we are all about film and music and how one can’t exist without the other,” said Ashley Charleson, CIMMfest assistant marketing director. “We’re all about the marriage between film and music.”

The music and film presented at CIMMfest comes from many different parts of the world, ranging from Cambodia to Thailand. In addition to concerts and film showings, the festival shows the relationship between music and film with interactive panel discussions and live musical accompaniment of films.

“It’s kind of an eclectic mix of music,” said CIMMfest marketing intern Alexander Findlay (Weinberg ’15). “There’s everything including reggae, blues, indie­ rock, world music, soul, electronic and more. There are a lot of the artists most people may have not heard of. There are some more mainstream people, but a lot of the films are independent films and for the most part the acts are an eclectic mix of music.”

Findlay said Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, a band that will perform at CIMMfest, embodies the type of music featured at the festival. The group was originally formed by refugees displaced by the Sierra Leone civil war. Along with their performance, a documentary about the group will be played at the festival.

“It has a kind of reggae sound and (uses) African instruments and percussion, so there are traditional African sounds,” Findlay said.

Alongside international acts such as these, several DJs from WNUR’s Streetbeat will be performing, including Searchl1te and DJ Madrid. In anticipation, Streetbeat is giving away two free tickets for NU students to attend CIMMfest.

“We have passes, and we’re going to try to do some write ups (on performances),” said Brian Campbell, general manager of WNUR. “There will be a ton of cool shows (at CIMMfest). They’re good at keeping it local and doing a lot of Chicago­-centric things.”

CIMMfest is set at venues across Chicago, making it different from traditional musical festivals like Lollapalooza. This year, the festival also has partnered with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, to be a part of the Lake FX Summit, which also runs from April 16 to April 19 and features free speakers, music and film showcases at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Charleson said CIMMfest is a great way for NU students to go out and discover new parts of Chicago, while also experiencing new types of music and film.

“I would say pick something random (to see at CIMMfest), something you would normally never go to and just check it out,” Charleson said. “All of our programming is so rich in culture and has such a story about it.”

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