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Film Guide

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SO MANY FILMS, SO LITTLE TIME!

Here's a guide to help you with your choices:

Main Competition

Judged by a distinguished jury of film artists and critics, these works compete for the top honor, the Gold Hugo - as well as awards for best actor, actress, director, and writer - in North America's longest-running competitive film festival.

Main Competition

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New Directors Competition

This selection of first and second feature films receiving their US premiere in Chicago celebrates discovery and innovation, introducing the next generation of the world’s great filmmakers.

New Directors Competition

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After Dark Competition

Flesh-eating zombies, bloodthirsty vigilantes, mysterious maladies, and more - this line up of the best new horror and extreme films is guaranteed to titillate and terrify!

After Dark Competition

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Black Perspectives

Celebrating its 17th anniversary, Black Perspectives showcases the richness and diversity of black cultures around the world and the filmmakers behind them.

Black Perspectives

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Cinema of the Americas

With films from Cuba and Colombia to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, this program spotlights the fresh and vibrant work of emerging and established filmmakers from South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Cinema of the Americas

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City & State

Join the Festival in celebrating Illinois’ rich filmmaking tradition with this showcase of the best features, documentaries, and short films with their roots right here in the Festival’s home state.

City & State

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Comedy Focus

This year, the Festival celebrates the cinema’s longstanding comedic tradition, highlighting the humorous side of our program in a brand new section.

Comedy Focus

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Docufest

From history to personal stories, vérité to semi-fiction, this collection of documentaries from around the world presents the diverse and vibrant state of contemporary non-fiction filmmaking.

Docufest

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Out-Look

From the edgy to the tender, these bold LGBTQ-themed films exhibit new artistic perspectives on sexuality and identity, competing for the inaugural Q Hugo Award.

Out-Look

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ReelWomen

Spotlighting the integral contribution that women continue to make to world cinema, this program features films as diverse as the directors who made them.

ReelWomen

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Special Presentation

From thrilling action films to searing emotional dramas featuring bravura performances, some of the year’s most anticipated films from Hollywood and abroad are featured in this section.

Special Presentation

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Spotlight Africa

This year, the Festival highlights the rich, exciting filmmaking cultures of Africa with new features and short films from across the continent.

Spotlight Africa

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World Cinema

A mix of classical narratives and new innovations, this program offers a snapshot of the contemporary cinematic landscape.

World Cinema

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Short Films

The short film program, encompassing more than 50 films from 25 countries, offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the creative visions of some of the most talented, original new filmmakers working today.

Short Films

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Panels & Free Events

Filmmakers, industry members, film scholars and more join us for a program of exciting free panels designed to complement the Festival program.

Panels & Free Events

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