Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca: these are the names that spring to mind when the subject of film festivals enters conversation. And now there’s one of equal caliber about to take place in our own backyard. Starting tonight and running through Oct. 20, the 41st Chicago International Film Festival will be showcase 101 feature films and 42 short films from 34 countries.

“We’re so thrilled and fortunate to have such a quality group of films this year, some of the best feature and short films, I might add, that we’ve had in our 41 years,” festival founder and artistic director Michael Kutza says in a press release. “We truly bring the world of film to Chicago.”

Started in 1964, 14 years before Sundance, by Kutza, the world-renowned event has drawn the craft’s finest directors and actors to speak about their featured work, as well as participate in discussion panels and film juries.

This year the festival will feature several new events. Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon is scheduled to receive a Gold Hugo Award, the festival’s top honor, for her accomplished career. She will accept the award before the screening of Elizabethtown tonight at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

For those who prefer world premieres to celebrity sightings, however, the festival will screen the never-before-seen (at least by the masses) The Trouble with Dee Dee, directed by Second City alumnus Mike Meiners. The film revolves around a disowned socialite daughter and her ensuing charitable deeds, and it will play at 8:45 p.m. Oct. 16 and 19 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.

Another noteworthy event taking place during the festival is the free screening of two selections chosen from aspiring filmmakers all over Illinois. The “Future Filmmaker Festival,” a contest limited to directors under the age of 20, will take place at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at AMC River East 21.

The festival’s grand finale film is The Weatherman. Nicholas Cage stars in this moody tale of a famous Chicago weatherman who is offered a dream job on a national morning show. Cage will be on hand to introduce the film at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Dr.

Now entering its ninth season, the Black Perspectives series has also been a distinguishing element in the annual festivities. This year, a special discussion on the state of black independent filmmaking will be held at Columbia College in Chicago from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15. Actors, directors and producers will sit on the panel to discuss topics pertinent to the black film community.

Also on the agenda for the series is a tribute to actor Terrence Howard (Ray, Crash, Hustle & Flow), which will be held in the Bank One Auditorium at 7 p.m. Oct. 14.

Communication sophomore Nicholas Lalla, who grew up in a “strong black community” in New Orleans, is particularly excited for this aspect of the festival.

“I’d love to see the mainstream film industry embrace black writers and directors, because their experience and stories are unique and of great value,” he says. “Hopefully, the film festival’s Black Perspective series will be a showcase for new talents and insights.”

But what’s a festival without a little drama? Two films headline the more serious fare: The Squid and the Whale, Sundance winner for best director and screenwriter, and Bee Season, an adaptation of the popular novel by Myla Goldberg. Squid tells the “darkly humorous tragedy of an eroding family” and stars Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney and Anna Paquin. The film will screen 7 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday at Landmark Century Theatres, 2828 N. Clark St.

Bee Season, which some may remember from high school English class, revolves around “the unexpected downward spiral of a seemingly idyllic Jewish family” and stars Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche and Kate Bosworth. The film will screen at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the AMC River East 21.

For those who crave something a bit more eccentric, however, the festival presents three films that promise to provoke.

Brick, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (also known as “that kid from Third Rock From the Sun”), is a film noir set in a modern California high school. It screens at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 and at 4 p.m. Oct. 16 in AMC River East 21.

I’m a Sex Addict is an autobiography that begins on the day of the director’s third marriage. The union doesn’t stop him from retracing his exploits, however. You can check out Addict Oct. 14, 15 and 16 at 9:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 9 p.m, respectively at AMC River East 21.

The final “eccentric” flick might intrigue fans of Bravo’s Project Greenlight. Last season’s creation, Feast, a gratuitous horror flick screen at 11:30 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15, also at AMC River East.

Festival screenings cost $11 for the general public and $7 for all students. They can be purchased at the theater box offices (one hour before the day’s 1st screening), select Chicago Borders stores (830 N. Michigan Ave., 2817 N. Clark St.), the festival’s office at (312) 332-FILM or 30 E. Adams St., Suite 800 and through Ticketmaster at (312) 902-1500). For a complete list of films and directions to these theaters, log on to www.chicagofilmfestival.org. 4

Medill freshman Alex Brown is a PLAY writer. He can be reached at [email protected].

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