The Define American Film Festival Is Coming To Chicago - Define American

Featured Blog post

The Define American Film Festival Is Coming To Chicago

Define American will bring its third annual Define American Film Festival (DAFF) to Chicago, IL.

Define American Announces Chicago As Site Of Film Festival

Define American will bring its third annual Define American Film Festival (DAFF) to Chicago, IL.  The organization announced today that the three day festival will take place April 20-22 at Venue SIX10, located at 610 South Michigan Avenue.



  • Rooted in the belief that stories have the power to reshape our cultural narrative, DAFF first launched in 2016 amid growing anti-immigrant sentiment and debate over American values.
  • In 2017, we went to Charlotte, NC — with one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the country — to showcase films that portray the intersectionality of immigration, race, identity, women’s rights, and amidst conflict over the state’s HB2 (bathroom) law and national attention around the police shooting of an unarmed black man.
  • By bringing together films that portray diverse perspectives to communities across the country, we aim to encourage heartfelt dialogue around immigrants, citizenship, and identity in a changing America.
  • Following each screening, audience members are invited to participate in panel discussions featuring award-winning filmmakers, community activists, media, and industry experts. In order to ensure everyone can access these conversations, regardless of their financial ability or ability to travel, we stream them online–last year to over 500k people.


  • In 2016 & 2017, 100% of DAFF screenings were sold out (over 1,200 attendees each) –and many oversold.
  • In 2017, over 500,000 viewers across the country tuned into our livestream
  • Discussion on the documentary White People trended #1 nationally on Twitter
  • DAFF was included in over 273 media hits, with over 85 million impressions
  • #DAFF reached over 1.7 million users on social media and nearly 9 million impressions


  • 81% of DAFF attendees found the festival extremely entertaining
  • 86% of DAFF attendees found it extremely relevant
  • 84% of DAFF attendees found the topics and discussions very inspiring
  • 72% of DAFF attendees said that the experience will change their actions in the future


  • DAFF 2016 was in Des Moines just days before the Iowa Caucuses–as journalists from around the nation shaped the narrative of what was happening there. DAFF 2017 was in Charlotte inspired by national headlines concerning HB2 (the bathroom bill) and the controversial police shooting of an unarmed black man. For DAFF 2018 we wanted to go to one of the most politicized American city of the 21st century.
  • Chicago has long been a city divided by race and class, with starkly different crime rates, economic realities, and educational opportunities depending on where you live. As one of our festival producers Jon Yu says “The L train red line visibly runs the gamut of American life.”
  • Chicago continues to suffer from segregation and the policies that reinforce it. This segregation is damaging because it allows Chicago residents to brush off social issues that don’t affect them. The false narrative of black-on-black crime is prevalent in this city where 19.6% of the population lives below the poverty line. Prisons are operating at 150% of maximum capacity. If you can’t talk about immigration without talking about race, Chicago is the place to have these conversations.

Let's Talk

Create change, one story at a time.