Chicago Palestine Film Festival

637 South Dearborn Street 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60605


The Chicago Palestine Film Festival (CPFF) is an independent, not-for-profit 501 c3 status organization, nonsectarian project based in Chicago that exhibits and promotes films by Palestinian directors and films about Palestine.  CPFF is dedicated to presenting a film festival that is open, critical, and reflective of the culture, experience and vision of the filmmakers.

Our twelve year old organization started as a simple project among a small group of students, community activists, and professionals who recognized the failure of the mass media and mainstream entertainment to contribute to an honest, positive image of Palestinians and their place in history and the world.  At the beginning of the second intifada and in the largest city of the Palestinian diaspora, we found ourselves in the right place at the right time to develop a successful program of education, entertainment, and cultural advocacy that is connected to filmmakers and our local community.

The CPFF committee was formed in mid-2001 with the original intent of having a small film festival at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) campus.  The simple purpose of the film festival was to introduce to Chicago the history and many varied voices of the Palestinian people and their nation, Palestine.  It was agreed by committee that the festival would be free and open to the public, and a grassroots donation campaign was undertaken by the committee.

Despite months of work and negotiations by a small group of UIC students, the university administration refused to allow Palestinian films to be exhibited without Israeli films offering the opposite perspective.  However, despite this pressure, the committee remained steadfast in its commitment to a film festival that rose above political conflicts and that constructed an essential Palestinian identity that reflected Palestinians' sense of their own humanity and history.  The university withdrew its support and financing of the project.  Furthermore, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 forced the whole country to reassess its priorities, so the committee decided to reorganize and to plan for a much larger Spring 2002 festival.  The festival was no longer a student project but a community organization with international aspirations.

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