After 50+ years, founder Michael Kutza to retire from Chicago film festival

SHARE After 50+ years, founder Michael Kutza to retire from Chicago film festival

Michael Kutza walks the red carpet at the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival. | SUN-TIMES FILE

Chicago International Film Fest founder Michael Kutza will retire at year’s end from his role as the festival CEO, he announced Monday.

His run of over 50 years at the helm of the festival will be celebrated at a July 14 gala at the Loews Hotel Chicago. He’ll receive a lifetime achievement award at the event, chaired by Chaz Ebert, Candace Jordan and Maria Pappas.

In most of those years he was the festival’s artistic director, a title he surrendered to Mimi Plauché in 2017. She will continue in that role.

“Having spent most of my life dedicated to celebrating film and running a non-profit organization, I am excited to help curate the programming for the 2018 festival before taking some time to recharge my batteries and complete my book on a 50+ year look at the behind the scenes of the festival,” Kutza said in a statement issued by the festival’s presenting organization, Cinema/Chicago. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in this role for more than five decades.”

After his retirement, he’ll be known as Emeritus CEO.  The 54th Chicago International Film Festival will be presented October 10-21.

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