The 51st Chicago International Film Festival on October 15 through 29, offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and experiences of other cultures on the big screen and the chance to hear and maybe even meet some of the artists behind them. One of the Festival’s most notable features is the vast diversity of offerings, with numerous competitive categories and several highlight programs.
In conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial will be the Festival’s Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design program. Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design is supported by its Program Partners: Chicago Architecture Biennial, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Tribune Media, Italian Film Commission, and Italian Trade Agency. This year’s Spotlight features two North American Premieres and four USA Premieres.
From Tokyo to Milan to Sao Paolo, the international selection showcases eleven new feature films, including notable portraits of architects, designers and buildings (Concrete Love – The Bohm Family, Why A Film About Michele De Lucchi?, The Infinite Happiness) and beautifully photographed depictions of contemporary and futuristic cities (Obra, Invention, Under Electric Clouds). From subways to skyscrapers, from down-and-out squatters to glass-house-dwellers, these films portray a range of people and characters interacting with extraordinary places and spaces.
In addition to the program of shorts, Chicago Film Archives Program and feature-length films, the Spotlight features a discussion with architect Helmut Jahn on Saturday, October 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the AMC River East 21. World-renowned for his progressive architecture and constant innovation, Jahn has designed sixteen buildings in Illinois, including Chicago’s own United Airlines Terminal. He also designed skyscrapers in major cities around the world. Jahn will discuss his remarkable 49-year career in architecture and his unique vision, using clips from modern and classic films that showcase his designs and reflect his philosophy.
Rounding out the Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design program, on Wednesdays throughout the Chicago Architecture Biennial (October through December 2015), local and visiting architects and designers will present Architects on Film. This program features films that have touched their lives and careers in conjunction with the Chicago International Film Festival’s year-round programming. This highly curated selection ranges from films that have influenced architecture to those that can spark conversations about the intersection between film, architecture, philosophy, and society. Screenings will be followed by conversations with presenters. This is a free event and no tickets are required.
Industry Days are the Festival’s new hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas and inspire each other. The Industry Days program, on October 22 through 25, will examine current and future trends in the art and industry of the entertainment business. Topics covered include artistic, social, and political issues related to filmmaking as well as new modes of production and content creation and shifting financing and distribution paradigms. The four-day gathering will be comprised of networking events, master classes, panel discussions, workshops, parties, and a competitive pitch session, juried by a distinguished panel of industry professionals.
Presented by leading financial services provider TIAA-CREF, the conference kicks off on Thursday, October 22, with a special Industry Tribute to Chicago native Gigi Pritzker, producer of such noted films as Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater, the Academy Award-nominated Rabbit Hole, Sundance favorite The Way Way Back, Drive starring Ryan Gosling, and Ender’s Game, based on Orson Scott Card’s novel.
The opening night film is “Mia Madre.” In this film, John Turturro provides madcap comic relief as a self-important American actor in master filmmaker Nanni Moretti’s latest personal tour de force. An overworked director tries to complete her new movie—a political statement about factory workers—while caring for her much-beloved mother, who lies dying in the hospital. Real life and art clash violently in this moving personal drama about the heavy cost of artistic integrity. English, Italian with subtitles. General admission tickets are still available.
For a full schedule of films and events, as well as tickets and pricing, visit the official Festival website.