ChangeFest virtual film festival spotlights critical social issues, put on by Chicago's Social Change organization

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 100 films spotlight critical social issues of the day will be screened as part of the International social film festival dubbed ChangeFest.

"We've got films documenting everything from injustices in the environmental space, to gun violence, to police brutality, to everything we talk about in terms of women being mistreated and moving on down the line with LGBTQ brothers," said Todd Belcore, executive director of Social Change. "Everything you can think of, we've got stories about."

The Chicago-based organization put together the virtual event. Social Change works to address immediate needs of people in our communities.

"That means making sure people have food, people have clothes. Making sure people have new necessities like PPE, masks, and hand sanitizers," Belcore explained. "Once people have those immediate needs met, we make sure we address the root causes for those immediate needs being present in their lives the first place."

And the films themselves feed into the mission.

"To showcase to the world what's going on. People can't fix things unless they know about them. But once you know about them, what are you going to do about them?" he said.

The films will be followed by online discussions.

"While we may hear about shootings in our community, while we may hear about someone saying 'I can't breathe,' it's different when you're walking through that person's life and seeing that they're just like me, and all of a sudden this calamitous thing happens to them," Belcore said.

The festival may highlight worldwide concerns, but the daily mission of Social Change remains on the streets of Chicago.

"We have to make sure we're feeding people, giving them a little joy through our films and making sure their stories are being told and that they have a champion out there in Social Change fighting for them every day," he said.

The ChangeFest international film festival begins Saturday and runs through October 24.

Visit the Social Change website to view this list of films, speakers and times.
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