Can The Chicago Outdoor Film Festival Be Revived?

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 14, 2010 4:40PM

2010_4_14outdoor.jpg One of the casualties of this year's budget cuts was The Chicago Outdoor Film Festival. For the previous ten years the weekly nighttime screenings in Grant Park had been a staple of the free summer festival lineup. Last year's showing of Duck Soup even helped Chicago set a world record for the most people wearing Groucho Marx glasses (4,436 to be exact).

Now there's a movement of sorts to try and revive the festival, if not this year then perhaps in the future. BRING BACK THE CHICAGO OUTDOOR FILM FESTIVAL! is a Facebook group organized by Lorenzo Tassone. Right now it's got nearly 2,000 members. That's a lot of people using their index fingers to click a few buttons, but could it translate into real world results?

Tassone himself concedes that bringing back the festival is a tall order. Speaking with Kathy Byrne at the Chicago Film Office, he was given some sobering facts. The annual cost of the event is about $400,000. And without firm corporate sponsorship, and money in the coffers in advance, the city won't make a commitment to bringing it back.

We have a suggestion. Find a way to bring Turner Classic Movies on board. Their recent screening of North by Northwest at the Music Box was a tremendous success; so many people showed up that many had to be turned away, and as a result TCM got some mighty fine PR. With their TCM Classic Film Festival they've demonstrated their interested in live events, and they've certainly got enough movies in their library to choose from. Who's with us?