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Three Alumnae Create a new Film Festival for Chicago’s South Side: Michelle Kennedy, Lex Curtis, Neicia McNeely

Jun. 20, 2018
Category: Career

Chicago, IL. – June 16, 2018 – Three graduates of the University of Wisconsin at Madison are hard at work on a new non-profit that celebrates Chicago’s South Side on film – The Chicago South Side Film Festival. Created by UW-Madison grad (BS 1995) and South Side native Michelle (Thomas) Kennedy, the Festival is focused on the South Side’s culture, history, and potential.

The Festival will feature screenings of feature films, documentaries, shorts films, web series, and TV series at various South Side locations. The ten-day festival will kick off on Friday, September 28th with an opening night screening of “Rejoice and Shout”, a documentary about the history of Gospel Music and its influence on African American culture. The opening night screening will take place at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. The Festival will run until Sunday, October 7th, and will conclude with a screening of Afrofuturistic short films at the Studio Movie Grill theater located in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood.

• Founder and Producer – Michelle (Thomas) Kennedy is a 1995 graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in International Agriculture and Natural Resources from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. During her time on campus, Michelle studied abroad in the exchange program with the University of the West Indies, was a weekend announcer on Wisconsin Public Radio, and was initiated into of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Michelle is a native of the South Side of Chicago.
• Assistant Producer – Alexandra Curtis is a 2013 Graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Commonly known as Lex, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts – Radio/TV/Film from the College of Letters & Science. Lex is a native of the South Side of Chicago.
• Director – Neicia McNeely is a 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Attorney Neicia is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago South Side Film Festival. She has 16 years of experience in legal services and technology consulting with non-profits and small businesses in Wisconsin and Illinois on matters involving contracts, compliance, and corporate policy. Neicia is an adjunct professor of Competitive Strategy, Business Law, and Criminal Justice at Concordia University of Wisconsin. Neicia was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority while on campus.

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Jeffrey Vande Leest ’75 retired June 30, 2021.

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