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Define American Film Festival

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About Define American Film Festival

Define American is coming to Chicago, IL for our third annual Define American Film Festival (DAFF). Join us Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22 for film screenings, panel discussions, stand-up comedy, virtual reality experiences, and more. DAFF explores how movements for equity and freedom ultimately rely on one another. We invite you to discover ways in which we all intersect.

After clicking “TICKETS,” your first option is a festival pass, which will give you access to all three days and all activities of DAFF. You may also purchase individual event tickets, which are as follows:

April 20th 7:00 PM – Immigrants in Entertainment
Bambadjan Bamba (Marvel’s Black Panther), Nico Santos (NBC’s Superstore), Rafael Agustín (The CW’s Jane the Virgin), and more TBA discuss representation of immigrants and immigration in entertainment, and being an immigrant in Hollywood. Preceded by the short film The Drop In.

An opening night reception with a DJ and complimentary beer and wine will follow immediately afterward.

April 21st 1:00 PM – Bisbee ’17
Follow characters in Bisbee, Arizona, an old copper-mining town just miles from the Mexican border, as they struggle to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the infamous Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 striking miners were violently taken from their homes, banished to the middle of the desert, and left to die. Townspeople confront this misunderstood past by staging dramatic re-creations of the escalating strike. These dramatized scenes are based on subjective versions of the story and “directed,” in a sense, by residents with conflicting views of the event. Deeply personal segments torn from family history build toward a massive re-staging of the deportation itself on the exact day of its 100th anniversary.

“A near-masterpiece.” – Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Preceded by the short film The Violence of a Civilization without Secrets.

April 21st 5:00 PM – The Women’s Movement: Where do we go from here?
Paola Mendoza, Artistic Director of the Women’s March, leads a panel conversation with Ai-jen Poo, Michaela Angela Davis, and more TBA on female empowerment in light of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements. How are women’s voices changing our country, and what’s next?

Preceded by the short films #BlackLivesMatter, Pussy Power, and The Bamboo Ceiling.

April 22nd 1:00 PM – This is Home
An intimate portrait of four Syrian families arriving in Baltimore, Maryland and struggling to find their footing. With eight months to become self-sufficient, they must forge ahead to rebuild their lives. When the travel ban adds further complications, their strength and resilience are put to the test.

Winner: World Cinema Documentary Audience Award, 2018 Sundance Film Festival

Preceded by the short film Disintegration 93-96.

April 22nd 5:30 PM – Comedy Night at DAFF
Presented in partnership with The Second City and the Harold Ramis Film School, Comedy Night at DAFF will feature performances by Tamer Kattan, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Felonious Munk, and more TBA. Hosted by Baratunde Thurston (About Race podcast, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show).

If for any reason the cost of attending DAFF is prohibitive, or if a disability will affect your festival experience, please contact us at We will do our best to accommodate you.

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