Mosiac World Film Festival brings regional and international work to Nordlof Center

By Anne O’KeefeMosaic2
Rockford Area Arts Council

What started out as a high school student film festival has turned into the incredible Mosaic World Film Festival for our region. It’s what happens when people and organizations have a passion for doing something that will impact a community of artists, students and patrons.

This year the Rockford Area Arts Council was the beneficiary of one of the past student winner’s incredible work. Toni Stratton, an intern from Rock Valley College was our media intern and produced a piece about the process of our arts apprenticeship program, ArtsPlace. Stratton was on the ArtsPlace Video team a few years ago and credits the program for sparking her love of telling the story through film. The MWFF opportunity fanned the filmmaking flame within her.

Jerry LaBuy is the director of the fest and heads up the five member programming committee. The first two years of the fest were all student films.

“They were going to stop, as they were all heading off to colleges out-of-state, so they contacted me and I stepped in to run it in 2010. That year we also started a year-round organization called the Mosaic Film Project to run the fest through the year-round submission and selection process, host other screenings, and have filmmaker events like Q&As,” said LaBuy.

In its eighth year, Mosaic World Film Festival will screen 83 films over three days at the Nordlof Center, 118 North Main Street, Rockford, Illinois. The MWFF has screened more than 250 films from more than 40 countries since its first edition in 2008.

On Friday five feature films will be presented starting at 10 a.m., followed by an opening night reception at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday there will be six short film sessions. Saturday will highlight all regional films at 7 p.m. with a regional filmmaker reception at 5:30 p.m. Both of the receptions will be in the Nordlof lobby.

The Mosaic Spotlight Award winning film this year is Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter which premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2014 and internationally at the 64th Berlinale fest. It was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards (Best Actress and Best Director). It will screen immediately following the opening night reception at 7 p.m. on Friday.

MWFF has an impressive judges panel; former MWFF winner Bing Liu (a documentary director working with Kartemquin films), production designer Kevin Conran (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), and cinematographer Cynthia Pusheck, ASC (who is from the Rockford area and has worked on film and TV shows such as Saving Private Ryan, Patriot Games, CSI: Miami and Revenge.)

LaBuy is appreciative of the commitment of sponsors like the Rockford Public Library, “We really couldn’t have the tremendous fest we have without the help of our founding sponsor Rockford Public Library. They have been with us since 2008,” La Buy said.

Tickets are available on line at for $10 and are also available Friday at the Nordlof Center during the event.

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