Gene Siskel Film Center & the Midwest Film Festival partner to present Maria Finitzo’s THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE on October 2 to kick off the MFF’s 2021 season

September 22, 2021

GSFC Contact:
Lori Hile

MFF Contact: Toni Nordone (312) 642-4222 

The Gene Siskel Film Center and Midwest Film Festival partner to present the

Midwest Film Festival’s 2021 season  

The Midwest Film Festival kicks off new season with
Peabody-award winning filmmaker Maria Finitzo’s new documentary
Saturday, October 2 at the Gene Siskel Film Center

Chicago IL: The Gene Siskel Film Center will partner with the Midwest Film Festival (MFF; formerly the Midwest Independent Film Festival) as the host venue for their 2021 film lineup. The partnership, which was set to roll out in early 2020 but delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, will kick off Saturday, October 2, at 6pm, with a celebratory event and screening of the feature-length documentary, THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE, by filmmaker Maria Finitzo. 

Produced in partnership with Kartemquin Films, the doc is a timely and radical exploration of gender politics, sexuality, and the long-ignored and vastly misunderstood topic of female desire. With humor and candor in equal measure, THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE follows a quartet of remarkable women whose work in science, academia, industrial design, and art has paved the way for a better understanding of women’s sexual desire, anatomy, and health in an era when women’s rights are once again under fire.

THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE is about a courageous band of queer and straight women, including scientists, sex workers, artists, and designers, dedicated to helping women reclaim their sexuality and promoting the importance of ‘cliteracy.’” (Brian T. Carney, Washington Blade). 

Director-producer Maria Finitzo is a three-time Peabody Award-winning filmmaker whose previous films include 5 GIRLS; MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: TERRA INCOGNITA; WITH NO DIRECTION HOME; IN THE GAME, exploring the challenges of a soccer coach committed to teaching his players – Hispanic girls – about winning in life; and HARD-EARNED, about a young couple, both working minimum wage jobs struggling to make ends meet. 

All activities will convene at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois. 

Pre-reception, 6:00pm:
The evening will consist of a  pre-reception starting at 6:00pm, where attendees are invited  to network with their fellow  filmmakers and peers and visit vendor/sponsor tables with merchandise from the Midwest Film Festival, THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE filmmakers, and other organizations.

Screening + Q&A, 7:00pm:
The doors to the theater will open at 6:30pm, with the screening starting at 7:00pm. After the screening, guests will be able to enjoy an interactive filmmaker Q&A, moderated by  Chicago filmmaker and actress, Oriana Oppice. Attendees will have the chance to speak to the film’s director/producer Maria Finitzo, producer Cynthia Kane, producer Diane Quon, and film subjects Jasmine Sims, Yixin  (Sunny) Sun, Rebecca Baruc, and Umnia Khan

After-party, 9:30pm-11:00pm:

Good vibes and conversations will continue at a celebratory after-party from 9:30pm to 11:00pm, where ticket holders can continue to mingle and network with fellow filmmakers and colleagues. 

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $7 for Gene Siskel Film Center members. Tickets are available at and at the Gene Siskel Film Center website.

“The Midwest Film Festival is proud to present this film as its very first event hosted at its new venue partner, the Gene Siskel Film Center,” said MFF Executive Director Erica Duffy

“This is a great opportunity to support and work with the filmmaking community of Chicago,” said Gene Siskel Film Center Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin. “The Film Center is proud to welcome the Midwest Film Festival to its new home.” 

The Midwest Film Festival will present additional programs at the Film Center throughout the season, including a screening in November titled “Celebrating Womxn Voices,” for which it’s currently accepting submissions of films directed by individuals who identify as women, trans, and gender non-confirming.  

About Midwest Film Festival: Midwest Film Festival, established in 2005, is an organization dedicated to the independent film scene of the Midwest. The festival has events year-round and online programming. MFF is dedicated to strengthening the Midwest filmmaking community by consistently showcasing its talent, providing educational resources, and creating space in which community members can cultivate organic relationships. 

Proud sponsors of the Midwest Film Festival include: AICP, Camera Ambassador, Compass Casting, Illinois Arts Council Agency, I.A.T.S.E. Local 476, Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Minimal Productions, NFP, NoiseFloor, O’Connor Casting Company, Optimus, Periscope, Perfect Cut Productions, Potenza Productions, Porch, SAG Indie, The Illinois Film Office, US Bank. To support the MFF, click here.

About the Gene Siskel Center: Founded in 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago presents to an annual audience of around 100,000 people. They engage audiences in enriching cinema that highlights diverse voices, international cultures, indie filmmakers, and the history of cinema. The film center continues to host over 1,600 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances each year. The film center’s name was changed in the year 2000 to celebrate the nationally acclaimed film critic, Gene Siskel. 

Important Covid-19 Policy Information:  

Attendees must show proof of vaccination, or a negative covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours old, to enter the event. More details can be found on the Gene Siskel Film Center website.  


Lori Hile (she/her)Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Gene Siskel Film Center164 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601312-846-2072 (direct) (email)