Mission statement

The Midwest Film Festival is the nation's only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker, presenting audiences with regionally produced independent cinema throughout the year.
This well-established film festival sits proudly at the center of the creative production community in Chicago and the Midwest. We are dedicated to serving filmmakers and content creators by building diverse audiences, offering educational resources, and supporting inclusion to cultivate organic relationships.

The Midwest Film Festival is made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, which receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Board of Directors



Executive Director

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will Meyers

Board President

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Mia Wicklund


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Neil Kocsis


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Board Member

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Michele Santiago

Board Member

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Stacey Evenson

Board Member

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Board Member

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Raul Benitez

Senior Programmer

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mary kay cook

Advisory Council President

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Toni Nordone

Social Media Coordinator

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harold dennis

Volunteer Coordinator

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Connor a. smith

Graphic Designer

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Christopher Biewer

Box Office Coordinator​

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Raul Benitez

Liberty Kocsis
Michael D Starcevich
JC Farris
Paul Kanter
Rus BlemkeR

Jamie Black

Pablo Muñoz Evers

Emily Perez

Kelly Figley
John Klein
Matt Scheffer
shawn panveno
Mike Berg
Zachary Moore
Kirby Callan

Ramona Pozek

Carina Nieto


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Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

The Midwest Independent Film Festival (“MIFF”) is committed to creating a safe, inclusive space for all our participants—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion, age, physical limitations, immigration status or economic status. We strive to create an organization grounded in solidarity, equality and respect. MIFF is also committed to creating and maintaining a harassment-free environment — regardless of the rank or position of the alleged harasser. This includes taking prompt and effective remedial action when incidents of harassment and misconduct are brought to its attention. This Policy is intended to encourage and enable members, staff and guests of the MIFF community to report their concerns so that MIFF, to the extent that it is within MIFF’s abilities, can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by MIFF participants seriously. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the fullest extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation. Conduct Covered by this Policy:
This policy applies to and prohibits all forms of illegal harassment and discrimination, not only sexual harassment. Accordingly, MIFF absolutely prohibits harassment or discrimination based on sex, age, disability, perceived disability, marital status, pregnancy, personal appearance, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status or any other legally protected characteristic.

Harassment Policy

MFF has adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination and all forms of unlawful harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment. This zero-tolerance policy means that no form of unlawful discriminatory or harassing conduct by or towards any employee, member, vendor, or other person in our workplace or jobsites will be tolerated. MIFF is committed to enforcing its policy at all levels within MIFF. Any officer, director, manager, supervisor, employee, volunteer or other participant who engages in prohibited discrimination or harassment will be subject to discipline, up to and including immediate discharge from employment, removal from leadership, or expulsion from MIFF spaces, for a first offense. This includes conduct outside of the normal festival environment such as after parties or other related functions.

Sexual Harrassment

Because confusion often arises concerning the meaning of sexual harassment in particular, it deserves special mention. Sexual harassment may take many forms, including the following: 1. Offensive and unwelcome sexual invitations, whether or not the employee submits to the invitation, and particularly when a spoken or implied quid pro quo for sexual favors is a benefit of employment or continued employment; 2. Offensive and unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including sexually- graphic spoken comments; offensive comments transmitted by e-mail or another messaging system; offensive or suggestive images or graphics whether physically present in the workplace or accessed over the Internet; or the possession of or use of sexually suggestive objects; and 3. Offensive and unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, including the touching of another’s body; the touching or display of one’s own body, or any similar contact.

Procedures in Cases of Harassment

Any MFF employee who believes that she or he has been subjected to unlawful harassment of any kind has the responsibility to report the harassment immediately to her or his supervisor, or through our third party Policy Implementation and Compliance Liaison liftUPlift Worldwide at MIFF@liftuplift.org. MFF is committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent harassment, and will make every reasonable effort promptly and completely to address and correct any harassment that may occur. However, MFF cannot take prompt and effective remedial action unless each employee assumes the responsibility of reporting any incident of harassment immediately. Every report of harassment will be investigated promptly and impartially, with every effort to maintain confidentiality. The complainant and the accused will be informed of the results of the investigation. If MFF finds that its policy has been violated, it will take appropriate corrective and remedial action, up to and including discharge of offending officers or employees, and/or similarly appropriate action towards offending vendors, contractors, or volunteers.

& Whistleblower Policy

Whistleblower Reporting Procedure

It is our collective responsibility to ensure that each member of the MIFF community feels welcomed and respected. Thus, it is the responsibility of all board members, officers, employees and volunteers to report concerns about violations of MIFF’s code of conduct or suspected violations of law or regulations that govern MIFF’s operations. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please report all violations or suspected violations by contacting our Conduct Committee, which has been designated by the organization to receive, investigate and respond to complaints, at miff@liftuplift.org. You may submit a good faith complaint to MIFF without fear of dismissal or retaliation of any kind.

Reporting without Fear of Retaliation

No MFF community member will be retaliated against for reporting harassment. This no-retaliation policy applies whether a good faith complaint of harassment is well founded or ultimately determined to be unfounded. No MFF officer, director, manager or supervisor is authorized, or permitted, to retaliate or to take any adverse employment action whatsoever against anyone for reporting unlawful harassment, or for opposing any other discriminatory practice in the workplace.