“…extraordinary…” – David Bordwell
“I know where I’m going Wednesday.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“…the best kind of repertory programming” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“…one of the city’s premier repertory cinema programmers.” – Laura Emerick, Chicago Sun-Times
“[CFS] programmers are peerless repertory cinema magicians…” – Steven Pate, Chicagoist
The Chicago Film Society (formerly the Northwest Chicago Film Society) is a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organization founded in January 2011 by Becca Hall, Julian Antos, and Kyle Westphal, three projectionists and programmers of the late Bank of America Cinema and Chicago projectionists and film enthusiasts.
W H A T W E A R E A B O U T
The Chicago Film Society exists to promote the preservation of film in context. Films capture the past uniquely. They hold the stories told by feature films, but also the stories of the industries that produced them, the places where they were exhibited, and the people who watched them. We believe that all of this history–not just of film, but of 20th century industry, labor, recreation, and culture–is more intelligible when it’s grounded in unsimulated experience: seeing a film in a theater, with an audience, and projected from film stock.
S T A F F
A projectionist, technician, filmmaker, and archivist living and working in Chicago, Julian currently serves Executive Director for the Film Society. He also works at the Music Box Theatre as Technical Director. He is a stickler for focus and his favorite movie is Meet Me in St. Louis.
Contact Julian: julian AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
Rebecca hails from New Haven, Connecticut. She first comprehended the special materiality of the movies in the summer of 2003, at a silent film series presented in Bucksport, Maine by Northeast Historic Film, where a scholar introducing one of the programs recounted the 1978 unearthing of hundreds of reels of nitrate film from a paved-over swimming pool in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
“The idea that it was possible to find – in the ground! – not just shards of pottery or old medicine bottles but actual photographic evidence of the lives led and stories told by people born 100 years before me was stunning. The idea that physical film could have a life that long, and that there were still machines that could read this information… It was like finding out that bodily resurrection was possible.”
Since then, Rebecca’s worked as a projectionist for several venerable Chicago institutions, including the Bank of America Cinema, the Gene Siskel Film Center, the University of Chicago Film Studies Center, and Doc Films. Rebecca also managed Open Produce, Hyde Park’s favorite late night grocery destination. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Since co-founding the Chicago Film Society in 2011, Rebecca has acted as our house manager, designer (print and online), press liaison, and treasurer.
Contact Rebecca: becca AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
Rebecca grew up in the Hudson Valley and received her bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago in 2006. She probably would have done better in her film classes had she not be so concerned with what was going on in the projection booth. Since then she has split her time as a projectionist between The Music Box Theatre, Block Cinema at the Block Museum of Art, and the Gene Siskel Film Center. She came to the Chicago Film Society in 2015 where she helps with the obsessive documenting involved in various CFS projects such as Celluloid Chicago,The Leader Ladies Project, Sprocket School, and the Analog Film Exhibitor’s Database. “I remember going to a packed CFS screening of Zardoz and thinking, I really want to be part of helping to make an audience this happy.”
Contact Rebecca: rlyon AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
Kyle spent his adolescence in Sacramento, California and learned about movies at the Crest and Tower Theatres. (A screening of Apocalypse Now Redux in a latter-day Technicolor dye transfer 35mm print at the Crest taught him about the emotional importance of print quality in ways that a teenager had no hope of articulating.) For four years Kyle served variously as treasurer, projectionist, historian, and ultimately programming chair for Doc Films at the University of Chicago. He has also interned or worked at the Bank of America Cinema, the University of Chicago Film Studies Center, the Little Theatre, Monaco Digital Film Lab, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Pacific Film Archive, and the George Eastman House. His program notes are featured on Kino’s “Avant-Garde 3” DVD box set, which recently won a Film Heritage Award from the National Society of Film Critics. He is a 2009 graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation.
At the Chicago Film Society, Kyle serves as co-programmer and writes our blog. He’s interested in avant-garde cinema, early talkies, the history of non-theatrical distribution and exhibition, and everything else. He is working on a book or two.
Contact Kyle: kyle AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
Cameron is a filmmaker and projectionist originally from the Tampa Bay area. His first understanding of film as a precious and unique material came at the age of 20 when he purchased and subsequently broke four super 8 cameras in the span of a semester. Since then he has received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, figured out how to load a camera, arrive at a correct exposure, find focus, and thread a projector without mangling film. In 2015, Cameron brought his love of fringe movies and cinema mongrels to the Chicago Film Society, helping to piece together each season’s program, writing capsules, selling tickets, distributing print booklets, and filling other miscellaneous support functions. He reserves a great affection for Westerns, Structuralist film, American exploitation cinema, W.C. Fields, Mary Woronov, and Yasujiro Ozu.
Contact Cameron: cameron AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
B O A R D
Brian Block is a filmmaker and musician living in Los Angeles. Over the last ten years he has worked in film programming, distribution, and restoration.
Contact Brian: brian AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
Andy is the film archivist at the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive. He also is a PhD candidate at IU working on a dissertation on private film collecting as a non-institutional form of preservation. Since 2010 he has been on the board of the Center for Home Movies which organizes the yearly Home Movie Day.
Contact Andy: andy AT chicagofilmsociety DOT org
Artemis is a media arts curator, nonprofit arts consultant, documentary filmmaker and scholar of the magic lantern. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, where she works on the international history, practice and aesthetics of the magic lantern. She has organized film tributes, retrospectives and lantern shows at the National Gallery of Art, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Smithsonian Institution, Anthology Film Archives and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Prior to coming to Chicago, she was vice-president of the New York Film/Video Council, New York’s oldest continuously operating nonprofit serving the independent film and media community, and director of distribution and special educational projects for the Checkerboard Film Foundation, a leading producer of films on the American arts. Her films and lantern performances have been presented at various museums, festivals, and conferences in the U.S. and overseas.
L E A R N M O R E
Check out our current calendar
Read our blog
Watch Becca and Kyle on Chicago Live!
Read an interview with Kyle [SF Silent Film Festival Blog]
Read another interview with Kyle [Pushing Pixels]
Becca Hall, profiled in People Issue 2012 [Chicago Reader]
New Celluloid Heroes [Christian Science Monitor]
Film Society Profile [Chicago Weekly News]
Film Society Profile [Chicago Tribune]
Film Society Profile [Chicago Maroon]