After nearly 25 years in film production, Nancy Watrous became irresistibly drawn to the idea of a film archive when the Chicago Public Library had a collection of 5,000 films they could no longer keep. After a number of months researching a new home for the collection, Watrous took the films in herself and launched Chicago Film Archives…a nonprofit regional media archive.
In 2004 Chicago Film Archives opened its doors at 329 W. 18th street, providing a home for the 5,000 films, with no time to spare. Scores of film collections began making their way to CFA almost immediately.
Watrous works full time to raise awareness and promote the sustainability of CFA. She writes grants, hires and manages staff and outside contractors, creates mutually beneficial and productive partnerships with other organizations and businesses, designs and develops organizational infrastructure, and sets goals that ensure the growth and sustainability of CFA for decades to come.