This year, the third annual Chicago South Side Film Festival (CSSFF) will take place from September 27-October 6 in various venues around the South Side. The CSSFF has a meaningful mission behind its organization- to broaden and improve the quality of entertainment options on the South Side; and to provide filmmakers with opportunities to see their work on the big screen. The festival highlights talented filmmakers from all around the city who have a unique story to tell, and whose work ties in with the rich history, culture, and experience of the South Side. 

Native South Sider Michelle Kennedy founded the nonprofit arts organization upon realizing that the abundance of talent that exists on the South Side was not getting the level of respect and awareness that it deserved. So far, Kennedy and her team have been able to create a positive presence in Chicago’s rich art community, and help gain exposure for these talents to audiences beyond the city. When asked how the organization chooses films to be showcased, Kennedy says most of the films were submitted via Film Freeway, a sort of marketplace for creators to post their work online, as well as submissions directly to the organization.  However, her team also looks out for what’s hot on social media.

House Music The Real Story Featuring Jesse Saunders

With the festival lasting a bit over a week, the CSSFF made sure to include a number of unique events on the schedule to enhance the overall experience. The organization not only promotes high quality films, but hosts panel discussions and networking events to further expose these talented filmmakers to the industry. The festival will open Friday night, September 27th with House Music The Real Story, a film by Jessie Saunders, one of the Chosen Few DJs. The film follows Saunders and his life as a world-renowned producer, and tells the “Real Story” on the evolution and history of house music. The following day, September 28th, the CSSFF is hosting a film pitch competition, which will allow filmmakers to pitch their projects to industry professionals who will provide notable feedback. On Saturday October 5th, Women Behind the Lens will be a collection of short films by all women directors hailing from the South Side. For film enthusiasts, filmmakers, supporters of the arts, and members of the community, you can expect only greatness from the South Side Film Festival.

The Chicago South Side Film Festival kicks off this Friday, September 27 and runs through Sunday, October 6. For more information about the organization and to purchase tickets visit


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