Cinema/Chicago Junior Board Fundraiser Review-A Rooftop Bash

On Saturday night, November 1, 2015, the Junior Board for Cinema/Chicago held its first annual fundraiser at the IO Urban Roofscape of The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, 127 W. Huron Street. Many will recognize Cinema/Chicago as the presenting organization for the Chicago International Film Festival; it is first and foremost a ” year-round non-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image”. Through the Film Festival, which just completed it’s fifty-first season, and their education and membership programs, Cinema/Chicago is an invaluable asset in enriching the cultural life of the under-served people of the city and all of it’s inhabitants.

Festival Founder Michael Kutza with guests

 The Junior Board is a group of young professionals founded in 1989, who assist in both volunteer and fundraising activities to help promote the Festival’s mission. Members, who range in age from 26 to 40, demonstrate a sincere passion for film and the Film Festival. They present events throughout the year, including “Junior Board Night", which occurs during the Chicago International Film Festival, and the hosting of a screening series at PUBLIC Hotel Chicago, 1301 N. State.

The Junior Board



 The event at the rooftop site with it’s skyline views raised thousands of dollars for Cinema/Chicago’s Education Program, which annually welcomes some 8,000 Chicago Public School students to free film screenings.

“The Junior Board is such a dynamic group of people who lend …enthusiasm and energy”, commented Rebecca Fons, Cinema/Chicago’s Education Director and organizational liason to the Junior Board, “The (Junior) Board not only fundraises for the Education Program but also regularly volunteers at our Education Program events. Their support is so valuable”.

Ngandu Kasuku and friends


More than one hundred guests at the event mingled, talked, posed for pictures, enjoyed scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, and  sipped drinks and cocktails while super DJ Toddizza spun a lively mix of 80’s rock classics and hip-hop. Guests bid on terrific silent-auction gifts including premium Bulls tickets, a ten-course meal to be provided by Goose and Fox, and even an all-expense paid trip to New Orleans!

Connie Varvitsiotis and Sosti Ropaitis

Junior Board President Hanna Soltys and Vice President Ashley Loquercio publicly thanked the crowd and the evenings donors, which included Cinema/Chicago Governing Board Members Byron Pollock, Ross Miller, and Board President Penelope R. Steiner. They also thanked Matt Corrigan of Corrigan Wiles Wealth Advisors. Soltys stated “We wanted to hold a larger-scale fundraiser…on the heels of the Fifty-First International Film Festival..felt like a perfect time to keep the momentum going.”


Hanna Soltys and Ashley Loquercio

Chicago and the world love and look forward to the Chicago International Film Festival each year. It was the brainchild of Founder and Artistic Director, Michael Kutza, but it is brought to us by Cinema/Chicago, whose Junior Board works around the yesr to promote cultural access and inclusivity. For more information, visit,

All photographs courtesy of Timothy M. Schnmidt



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