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Michael Kutza Poster

Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameMichael Joseph Kutza

Mini Bio (1)

Michael J. Kutza, an award-winning graphic designer and filmmaker, is the founder and artistic director of Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival. The festival, which celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2009, is the oldest competitive film festival in North America and has been directed by Kutza since its inception in 1964.

Born into a family of doctors (mother, father, aunt, uncle) in Chicago, Illinois on November 28, 1940, Kutza attended Weber High School in Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and psychology from Roosevelt University and did his post-graduate studies at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In the 1960s, Kutza worked as an assistant film editor at Fred Niles Studio and an assistant film documentary cameraman at WGN-TV, both in Chicago. From 1970 to 1980 he was the USA film critic for the Italian newspaper Il Tempo in Rome, Italy and served as a creative consultant on the 1996 feature film White Lies (USA) from Arthur Cohn productions.

He was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by French Minister of Culture Jacques Lang at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. The order is awarded to French or foreign personalities whose achievements in the artistic and literary domains have helped promote fine arts and literature in France and abroad. Kutza also received the Silver Lion Award from the 32nd Venice International Film Festival, awarded for organizing a special section devoted to independent USA filmmakers. Richard M. Daley, Mayor of the City of Chicago, presented Kutza with the city's 30th Anniversary Award in recognition of his efforts in fostering communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and video.

Among Kutza's other awards are the Chicago Sun-Times award for "Exceptional Contribution to Chicago," the Roosevelt University Alumni Award, the Chicago Drama League Award, Venture Magazine's Cultural Makers of Chicago Award, and the 2009 Legendary Landmark Award presented by Landmarks Illinois. In 2010, Chicago Magazine included Kutza on their list of "Top 40 Chicago Visionaries," alongside Orpah, Barack Obama, Studs Terkel, Roger Ebert, and Gene Siskel.

In addition to founding the Chicago International Film Festival, Kutza started the film section of the Spoleto Festival in Spoleto, Italy and helped develop the Tehran International Film Festival in the '70s and the Manila Film Festival alongside Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the '80s. Kutza has also served on many feature film competition juries around the world.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Cinema/Chicago

Trivia (2)

Founder and long time director of the Chicago International Film Festival, which takes place since 1965. [1964]
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival 1995

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