Film Distribution Project

Chicago Filmmakers is home for over 600 short films by independent filmmakers from around the world.

The project began in 1991 when Chicago Filmmakers took over the film inventory of Picture Start, a late Chicago-based distribution company. Many of those titles are still in the collection, and in 1993 other titles were added to represent women, LGBT, local filmmakers, and artists of color. The films are available for rent by universities, museums, cinemas, film societies, and other venues throughout the country and abroad.

The collection is particularly recognized for its award-winning animated films. Character-based animation, avant-garde shorts, Japanese anime, musical and children’s titles can be found, comprising about a third of the entire collection. Among the many animators included are Skip Battaglia, Robert Breer, Sally Cruikshank, Larry Cuba, Paul Glabicki, George Griffin, Emily Hubley, Susan Pitt, Osamu Tezuka, and Zagreb Studios.

Experimental works comprise the second largest group with avant-garde masters and contemporary artists: Gary Beydler, James Broughton, Luis Bunuel, Dan Curry, Maya Deren, James Herbert, Dana Hodgdon, Owen Land, Pat O’Neill, Mark Rappaport, and Chel White.

Narrative, documentary, and musical genres are well represented by filmmakers such as Daniel Attias, Larry Hankin, Frederick Marx, Greg Mottola, Tom Schiller, Gus Van Sant, and David Wechter.

Most titles are available on 16mm and a few titles are on 35mm.

Newly Preserved Films in the Collection

The Grandfather Trilogy by the late Chicago filmmaker Allen Ross was preserved in 2003 through the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation. The trilogy went on to play at the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant Garde, San Francisco Cinemateque, and Anthology Film Archives, among other venues. The preserved 16mm print is now available through The Distribution Project.

Love It/Leave It, Jerry's, At Maxwell Street, America's In Real Trouble, He, O, Bride Stripped Bare, and Tattooed Lady are all films by Chicago filmmaker Tom Palazzolo that were preserved through grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation in 2005. All 8 films are available for rental through The Distribution Project.

Download the current catalogue listed by filmmaker here .

Download the current catalogue listed by title here.


For rental inquiries contact us by email or call 773-293-1447.