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Kutza takes new role at Chicago film fest; replacement named

Mimi Plauché (left) and Michael Kutza have new titles at Cinema/Chicago, which oversees the Chicago International Film Festival. | Timothy M. Schmidt photos

After 50 years of programming by its founder, there will be someone new choosing the titles for the Chicago International Film Festival.

The fest’s parent company, Cinema/Chicago, announced Tuesday that Michael Kutza, who has been the artistic director since founding the festival in 1964, has ceded that title to another staffer. The job will go to Mimi Plauché, a festival programmer since 2006 who most recent was called programming director. She will report to Kutza.

Kutza becomes president and CEO, switching his focus to fundraising, education, overseeing operations and branding the Cinema/Chicago name.

“Having Michael’s time and attention focused on helming the organization’s year-round branding and fundraising efforts will enable us to expand in a multitude of ways,” the chair of the Cinema/Chicago governing board, Penelope R. Steiner, said in a statement. “Mimi’s extensive knowledge of film, her longstanding relationships with studios and filmmakers and — more than anything — her impeccable taste make it clear that the artistic leadership of the festival is in extraordinarily capable hands.”

Kutza said in the announcement that Plauché’s promotion “allows me to focus my attention on other divisions of our organization so Cinema/Chicago can grow into an even more prominent showcase for the best in cinematic arts.”

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 12-26.