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Columbia College Chicago

Our Films at the Fest

The 49th Chicago International Film Festival, October 10-24, 2013, screens films made by Columbia College faculty, students, alums, and staff including Kevin Cooper's The Painter and the premiere of John Rangel's The Girls on Liberty Street.

David Rokos’
(BA ’10) who produced The Girls on Liberty Street said he knew that the film had to premiere in Chicago. “I live here, I grew up in the suburbs, I went to college here, Chicago just seemed like the perfect place to finally show the film to the world,” Rokos shares. That goal became reality when it was announced in mid-August that the film would premiere in the New Directors competition.

The Girls on Liberty Street
is the story of a teenage girl on the verge of leaving for basic training in the Army who during her last week at home is trying to make sure it will be the same place when she returns. The feature takes place and was filmed in Rangel’s hometown of Aurora, Illinois using all local actors including lead actress Brianna Zepeda, featuring also her mother, Norma Zepeda, and her sister, Selena Zepeda, in supporting roles.

The Girls on Liberty Street was filmed during the summer of 2012 in multiple locations throughout Aurora and Westmont, Illinois. In addition to Rokos, current Columbia College Chicago student Joel Svendsen was a production assistant on the film. Rangel and Rokos raised the film's budget through grass-roots means, local fundraisers, and events, as well as through a successful Kickstarter campaign.  “We worked really hard promoting the film beforehand to raise funds and with the help of our friends and family we were able to bring the budget together,” said Rokos. 

Watch the trailer and follow on Facebook.

The Painter, a CCC collaboration by CA+S faculty members and partners in production, Kevin and DeAnna Cooper, Cinematographer Adam Jones, Production Designer Tom Kesling, tackles the tough subject of how violence in Chicago is robbing youth of their innocence. Watch the trailer and learn more about its festival run here.

The Chicago International Film Festival is entering its 49th year and is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America.  Additional films that have ties to Columbia include:

CA+S BA Candidate Phlip Alvy's Scout, which won Best Overall at the Cine Youth Chicago competition. Scout screens at the CineYouth: Best of the Fest free festival event on October 19.

The latest film by cinematographer Jaromir Sofr, professor from FAMU, and visiting artist who taught Lighting III at Columbia for ten years, The Don Juans also screens.

Learn more about the Chicago International Film Festival here.