Last week, the sixth edition of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, aka CIMMfest, took over parts of the Second City for four days straight. Founded by musician Josh Chicoine (Cloudbirds, The M’s) and filmmaker Ilko Davidov (BulletProof Film), the festival has expanded over the years to highlight films, concerts, DJ sets, live score performances, and panels that “show just what movies and music mean to each other.” That drive is what makes the festival so unique, and so appetizing for music obsessives looking to discover more.
This year, major alternative players like Yo La Tengo, EMA, Booker T, Murder by Death, Trust, and Escort headed an exhaustive bill of films that ranged from (new and old) documentaries on the Mississippi Delta blues, Grant Hart, the Mekons, and Townes Van Zandt to feature films set in the world of music a la Pleased to Meet Me, Metalhead, and Palestine Stereo. There were also an assortment of panels that touched upon noteworthy industry subjects like live streaming, women in music and publicity, and home studios. Remarkably, a few shed light on topics that most wouldn’t even care to know, specifically the music going on in prisons.
They have a long way to go before they start rivaling the likes of, say, South by Southwest, CMJ: Music Marathon, or Sundance, but that’s not exactly their goal, either. This isn’t about flashy premieres, exclusivity, or buzzworthy talent — it’s more or less an epicenter of information between two mediums that continue to depend on eachother as the clock keeps ticking. Admittedly, there’s room for improvement, and especially expansion, but it’s certainly a start. So, in honor of the festival’s sixth edition, we pieced together our six favorite films/events we caught over the bustling weekend.