“From the very beginning, I wanted the festival to be competitive in every way, drawing attention to emerging talent and rewarding excellence,” explains Michael Kutza, founder and artistic director of the Chicago International Film Festival which runs October 9-23 at the AMC River East 21 on 322 E. Illinois Street.
“The directors we have honored include Robert Altman, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jan Troell, Hirokazu Koreeda, Mike Leigh, Mrinal Sen, Giorgi Shengelaya, Wim Wenders, Margarethe von Trotta and Zhang Yimou, all of whom were beginning their careers,” Kutza adds. “I am proud the festival has played a role in establishing them in the international film industry.”
Now in its 50th year, the event is North America’s longest-running competitive film festival. “This year’s competition lineup presents some of the strongest, most exciting films from around the world,” notes Programming Director Mimi Plauché. “The films range from incisive political and family dramas to offbeat dark comedies and searing courtroom thrillers, and each is unique in its visual and narrative style. However, all share the ability to transport us to another place in time—be it the political and social upheaval in the desert landscapes of Mali or the underside of post-colonial sex tourism in a tropical Dominican resort town—and grant us a new way of seeing and understanding the world.”
The festival’s feature films include Black Coal, Thin Ice from China/Hong Kong, directed by Diao Yinan; The Fool from Russia, directed by Yury Bykov; The Owners from Kazakhstan, directed by Adilkhan Yerzhanov; Free Fall from Hungary, directed by György Pálfi; Sand Dollars from Dominican Republic/Argentina/Mexico, directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas; and the US selection of William H. Macy’s Rudderless starring Billy Crudup and Selena Gomez.
Scandinavian selections include 1001 Grams from Norway, directed by Bent Hamer; Force Majeure from Sweden/Denmark/France/Norway, directed by Ruben Östlund; Speed Walking from Denmark, directed by Niels Arden Oplev; and The Word from Poland/Denmark, directed by Anna Kazejak.
Also on the lineup are Human Capital from Italy, directed by Paolo Virzì; The President from Georgia/France/UK/Germany, directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf; Refugiado from Argentina/Colombia/France/Poland/Germany, directed by Diego Lerman; Timbuktu from Mauritania/France, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako; Red Rose from Iran/France/Greece, directed by Sepideh Farsi; and Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem from Israel/France/Germany directed by Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz.
Festival passes are on sale until October 19. Festival Tickets will be available to Cinema/Chicago members on September 17-18. General public tickets will be on sale starting September 19. To order,visit www.ticketmaster.com/chicagofilmfestival; call 312-332-FILM; or stop by the AMC River East’s box office. For additional information, visit www.chicagofilmfestival.com.