It's no secret that Chicago is home to some of the greatest filmmakers of all time. The Windy City gave the cinematic world Walt Disney, John Landis, Robert Zemeckis and the Wachowskis.
But who's next? The Midwest Independent Film Festival hopes to find that next great talent. MIFF co-founder and director of programming Mike McNamara says it's all about keeping the focus on Chicago.
"We're solely dedicated to films made in Chicago and the Midwest," McNamara told Good Day Chicago. "We worked hard to become a hub, convergence point where all filmmakers can come together all year round."
The festival presents the best that local filmmakers have to offer on the first Tuesday of every month at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Lincoln Park. It has a history of showcasing work of those who go on to be film industry greats.
Having presented hits like the powerhouse indie "The Kings of Summer" and Oscar nominated documentary "Undefeated," the festival has a history of housing incredible talent. McNamara says the city should strive to keep these up and coming industry talents local.
"The key is to keep those filmmakers in Chicago and that we build a community of writers, directors, actor, editors all staying in Chicago to make their films," McNamara said. "We have a vibrant urban landscape, some of the best actors in the country. The key is to keep them here. That's why we have a year round center where everyone can get together each Tuesday and collaborate on future projects."
That talent includes Chicago director Billy Federighi, whose new film premieres Tuesday night as the Midwest film fest kicks off its 10th season. Federighi says the festival offers a strong community for local filmmakers who need a little help.
"Besides the obvious awareness," Federighi told FOX 32 News. "I think it builds a really good, strong community in Chicago because the film community is growing."
Before you change the face of animation, movies and history, keep in mind that every journey begins with a step. For some of the most successful filmmakers of all time, that first step was in Chicago.