The Cincinnati Film Society will be the regional leader in film exhibition, education and training, and filmmaker assistance.
The Cincinnati Film Society’s mission is to expand access and appreciation of motion pictures as a form of powerful artistic expression. We encourage sociocultural diversity by exploring cinema and its history, providing youth education, and services to entrepreneurial filmmakers.
Committed – Being a lasting space for growth in development of regional filmmakers.
Sustainability – Creating innovative ways for the nonprofit to support itself, and adopting good practices to be environmentally, socially, and economically sound.
Engagement – Encouraging community engagement with filmmakers by exhibiting their work through film screenings, Q&A’s, community partnerships, and events.
Education – Bringing awareness to cultural films and filmmakers; as well as providing workshops that are easily accessible.
Resource – Providing opportunities, tools, & financial support to filmmakers of all ages.
Creative – Finding exceptional and innovative storytellers to uplift in Cincinnati.
Diversity – Featuring films from all genres from traditional and nontraditional storytelling through motion picture, and filmmakers of different sociopolitical backgrounds, cultures, and subcultures from our society and around the world.
- Filmmaker Exchange and Cultural Film Series in partnership with CincinnatiUSA Sister City Association
- Filmmakers in Motion Residency
- Youth Education: Media Literacy, Arts & Sciences, and Film Classes
- Dale Stevens Critics Award
- Emerging Filmmaker Award
- Celluloid Project: 8 to 70
- Women Behind the Scenes Lecture
- OutReels Cincinnati
- Fiscal Sponsorship
The Cincinnati Film Society (CFS) began in 1979 when Cincinnati Post entertainment editor and film critic Dale Stevens placed a few lines in the paper suggesting that anyone interested in starting a local film society attend a meeting at the Hyde Park Community Methodist Church on the corner of Grace and Observatory. The first few meetings were held there, the initial board (the founding members) was created, and the CFS incorporated. In 1989, after Stevens retired as a film critic, he accepted the position of director of the Cincinnati Film Society, which he held until his death in 1997.
Throughout our 36 year history, CFS has screened hundreds of films and brought many filmmakers to Cincinnati to present their work. Among these have been Michael Moore, John Sayles, Gregory Nava, Wayne Wang, Tom Hayes, and Cincinnati’s own Steve Gebhardt 1937-2015.
Steve Gebhardt, was also instrumental in beginning our Fiscal Sponsorship program. Films that were made with CFS’s fiscal sponsorship support were Bill Monroe; Father of Bluegrass Music (1990), Escalator Over the Hill (1999), La Cenerentola (1999), shot in Lucca, Italy. Twenty to Life; The Life & Times of John Sinclair (2004), a production that began in 1991.
In 1992, the CFS presented a retrospective of the work of the former British filmmaker Lindsay Anderson, who discussed each work with the audience during the ten-day long event. Other retrospectives included were avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage in attendance. The Society also opposed local censorship; when commercial theaters were pressured to not show certain films in Cincinnati, the CFS stepped up to present them.
CFS’s many social events have stimulated membership (the film-themed Halloween parties at the Netherland Plaza Hotel are legendary).The organization has often co-sponsored films with other arts groups, including the Art Academy of Cincinnati, the former Arts Consortium, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Jewish Federation, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, CityBeat, Conference For Women, Contemporary Arts Center, Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission, Images Center for Photography, Media Bridges, Media Working Group, Hebrew Union College, University of Cincinnati Film Society, Wright State University and Xavier University.
The Cincinnati Film Society in its past has been funded in part by grants from the City of Cincinnati, the Fine Arts Fund(now ArtsWave), and the Ohio Arts Council.
The Cincinnati Film Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.