Covering the Land of Lincoln

High School Student and Filmmaker Launches CU International Film Festival

High school junior Max Libman has watched the world through a camera lens ever since he can remember. He began filming his own movies before aged ten, and at the age of twelve began writing a screenplay inspired by his great-grandmother’s life under the Nazi regime. He submitted the screenplay to a screenwriting competition, and his short Ein Stern (AStar) was chosen as one of the winners and filmed in German with English subtitles. This short movie has been viewed by thousands and inspired conversations with diverse groups of all ages.

Seeing the power of film, Libman combined his love for movies and desire for community action to launch this project: CU International Film Festival (CUIFF). The inaugural festival is taking place this Saturday, October 29, 2022, at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. The festival’s mission is to foster a broad community showcasing films that entertain, educate, and elevate. It offers a collection of diverse films from around the world, bringing together filmmakers and film lovers alike. The festival includes a Hollywood red-carpet gala, a showcasing of short films, and award presentations. Over two hundred attendees are expected. Short films were submitted from coast to coast, and around the globe including Germany, India,

Iran, Italy, Spain, Uzbekistan, and the United Kingdom. Judges rated these films, and top-ranked films were sent to a panel of jurors. The jurors include national film critic and Chicago Sun Times columnist Richard Roeper, writer and director Ty Stickler of Creative Artists Agency in LA, and Neil Berkeley, Emmy-nominated filmmaker.

Libman also formed an Advisory Board of diverse professionals to support the festival’s mission. The Advisory Board includes Ed Begley Jr., a Hollywood actor and environmental activist; Angeliea Stark, a Director from New York Film Academy; Herman David, member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and co-founder of Santa Clarita Studios; and, Anna Librae, British producer of several United Kingdom television series.

Information about the festival and tickets are available on CUIFF’s website at For more information, Libman can be reached at [email protected]

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