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Chicago, IL -- The 47th Chicago International Film Festival will celebrate the vibrant and innovative work coming from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America in its Cinema of the Americas program. The 13 films featured in this year's program are as diverse in approach and style as the countries they represent. Seven of these 13 feature-length films will also be screened as part of the Festival’s New Directors, International, DOCUFEST and After Dark competitions.

Cinema of the Americas highlights include the Chicago Premiere of Gerardo Naranjo’s critically acclaimed Miss Bala (Mexico’s Foreign-Language Oscar® submission); the Cuban zombie comedy Juan of the Dead; past Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo recipient Karim Aïnouz’s latest film, The Silver Cliff; and The Student, Argentinean scriptwriter Santiago Mitre’s feature directorial debut. Most screenings will feature special appearances by the filmmakers. 

The Festival will also present three films from Spain as part of its World Cinema program. Of those, Chico & Rita, is deeply rooted in the Latino experience. 


Bonsai Chile (Director: Christian Jiménez)-- To read Flaubert and Proust with your girlfriend after a passionate bout of lovemaking…what more could a young intellectual want? How about, years later, being asked by a veteran novelist to type out the handwritten notes for his next novel? Julio is in literary heaven. But life, like literature, can be surprising, and very soon Julio is forced to live up to the lies he has been spinning. Told non-linearly, Bonsai presents a charming Chilean spin to Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Chicago Premiere. 

The Clown Brazil (Director: Selton Mello)-- What do those who make people laugh for a living think is funny? Benjamin, a clown traveling with the Circus Esperanza, tackles this question and more when he decides to leave the circus and pursue his dreams. With only a copy of his birth certificate in hand, Benjamin looks for answers and for his identity away from the bright lights of the big top. North American Premiere. Actress Kity Feo is scheduled to attend. 

Cold Sweat Argentina (Director: Adrián García Bolagno)-- Online dating? What’s the worst that could happen? Well, apparently, you could find yourself trapped in an old house at the mercy of a pair of aging right-wing revolutionaries turned sadists with a penchant for torturing young women with decaying dynamite and buckets of nitroglycerin. Prolific low-budget horror maestro Bogliano serves up a stylish slice of extreme genre cinema, which also alludes to the troubled state of generational politics in his homeland. Chicago Premiere. Director Adrián García Bolagno is scheduled to attend.

Fat, Bald, Short Man Colombia (Director: Carlos Osuna)-- With nothing going in the looks department, notary Antonio is something of a Colombian George Costanza: teased by his colleagues, unlucky with the ladies, and the doormat of all who wish to tread, most notably his gambling-addicted brother. But Antonio’s luck seems set to take a turn for the better when he gets involved with a cultish self-help group and an equally unattractive boss takes over the office. A distinctive animation style and an undeniably heart-warming story make Fat, Bald, Short Man a surefire crowd-pleaser. U.S. Premiere. Director Carlos Osuna is scheduled to attend.

Juan Of The Dead Cuba (Director: Alejandro Brugues)-- Juan is a lovable loser content to loaf around the streets of Havana wisecracking, womanizing, and wiling away the days with a motley crew of fellow drifters. But when what seems at first to be dissident rumblings in the city turns into a full-on flesh-eating zombie onslaught, Juan and his gang go into business as “Juan of the Dead”-- a crack team of slayers specializing in the undead. This wild romp through the streets of the Cuban capital is a perfectly pitched blend of horror and laughs. Chicago Premiere.

The Kid Who Lies Venezuela (Director: Marité Ugás)-- In this touching mix of road movie and coming-of-age story, a 13-year-old boy wanders the roads of Venezuela alone in search of the mother he never knew. As he makes his way amid the wreckage left behind by mudslides that hit a coastal town 10 years ago, the boy shares stories of the tragedy with the people he meets, as he tries to come to terms with what happened to his family. U.S. Premiere. Director Marité Ugás is scheduled to attend.

Machete Language Mexico (Director: Kyzza Terrazas)-- It’s one thing to talk, or even sing, about revolution. It’s another to take one up. Raised in middle class families, Ray and Ramona are not blind to the corruption and injustice that engulf the less fortunate in their country. Ramona finds an outlet in her music, but Ray struggles to find a cause-- until he settles on a course of action that might prove to be downright revolutionary … and lethal. Shot hand-held, Machete possesses a nervous, unsettling energy that perfectly mirrors its characters own near-frenzied search for purpose. North American Premiere. Director Kyzza Terrazas is scheduled to attend.

Miss Bala Mexico (Director: Gerardo Naranjo)-- Equal doses of unrelenting action, beauty queen fantasy and social disquiet rule this detached tale of drug trafficking in Baja California, inspired by a true story. On her way to compete in her first beauty pageant, Laura is swept up in a gangland slaying and suddenly finds herself forced to work as a mule in order to save her own life. Chicago Premiere. Director Gerardo Naranjo is scheduled to attend.

The Silver Cliff Brazil (Director: Karim Aïnouz)-- Violeta, a dentist in Rio de Janeiro, is happily married and still engages in passionate morning lovemaking with her husband. Then he leaves on business and calls to tell her he never plans to return. Confused, she begins to wander the streets, trying to figure out what happened and why. Rio is as much a protagonist as Violeta, its energetic and melancholic landscapes a reflection of her changing moods in this sensual, moving ode to resilience in the face of heartbreaking loss by Gold Hugo winner Karim Aïnouz (Madame Sãta).

Southwest Brazil (Director: Eduardo Nunes)-- In a small fishing village in Brazil, Clarice experiences her entire life, beginning at birth, in the space of a day. The villagers remain oblivious to Clarice’s unique situation, living life just like us, one day at a time. In an attempt to understand her reality, Clarice tries to change her destiny as well as the destiny of those around her in this haunting and thought-provoking film. North American Premiere. Director Eduardo Nunes is scheduled to attend.

The Student Argentina (Director: Santiago Mitre)-- Roque goes from young Lothario to activist and general rabble-rouser in this cleverly plotted parable revealing the underbelly of Argentinean politics. Set at the University of Buenos Aires, the heady mix of sex, intellectualism and shady ploys that would make Richard Nixon smile, soon become all too real and Roque finds that he’s in way over his head. With nuanced performances and dynamic pacing, Santiago Mitre’s debut feature has earned comparisons to Truffaut, Godard and Alexander Payne. Chicago Premiere. Actor Esteban Lamothe is scheduled to attend.

Ticket To Paradise Cuba (Director: Gerardo Chijona)-- What would you do to get to paradise? Eunice, no longer able to tolerate her father’s abuse, flees the small town she calls home. She falls in with the “freakies”, a gang of hard-living street kids, who embrace her, but then the group finds out that the local AIDS facility offers food, clothing, and shelter. Eunice once again finds herself alone as the rest of the group decides they want in--whatever the cost. A dark, controversial, and highly compelling chronicle of disaffected youth culture in Cuba. Chicago Premiere. Director Gerardo Chijona is scheduled to attend.

Valley Of The Forgotten Brazil (Director: Maria Raduan)-- In a secluded area of Brazil’s Mato Grosso region, an impossible land dispute rages between Indians evicted from their homeland, squatters, land-grabbers, the Landless Workers Movement, and the ranchers who own property. With no resolution in sight and violence threatening to erupt at any moment, the film looks closely at each group’s perspective, offering a meditation on the concept of private property across social and cultural boundaries. U.S. Premiere. 


Amador (Director: Fernando León de Aranoa)-- Marcela’s pregnancy couldn’t have come at a worse time. A Latin American immigrant living in the outskirts of Madrid, Marcela is stuck in a stagnant relationship with a man who works a dead-end job selling flowers. Things begin to improve when she’s hired to care for a friend’s ailing father, Amador. When Amador suddenly dies, leaving her jobless, Marcela is faced with an unusual moral dilemma in this heartfelt drama about life and death. Chicago Premiere.

Chico & Rita (Directors: Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba)-- Amidst the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Havana in the 1940s, Chico and Rita fall immediately in love. But infidelity and their respective pursuit of fame both unite and pull them apart for the next six decades. Spanish filmmaker and music producer Fernando Trueba (La Belle Epoque, Calle 54), graphic artist Javier Mariscal and animator Tono Errando pay tribute to the great Afro-Cuban and Be-bop musicians of the 40s and 50s in this delightfully sensuous animated film. Chicago Premiere.

The Double Steps (Director: Isaki Lacuesta)-- Prepare to be taken over by this delightfully enigmatic storyline that traverses centuries, continents and cultures. The “double steps” in question refers to advice left by French artist François Augiéras, who claimed the best way to escape one’s enemies is to walk backwards over your own footprints. Using one of Augiéras’ lost works as the catalyst for the story, filmmaker Isaki Lacuesta and painter Miquel Barceló weave together the structure and iconography of the road movie with African griot storytelling. North American Premiere. 



All events, except Opening Night, are at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street. Tickets for the 47th Chicago International Film Festival are on sale now. Opening Night tickets and festival passes may be purchased on the Festival website. All individual tickets must be purchased by phone 312-332-FILM (3456), in person by visiting the Festival box office at AMC River East 21, or through Ticketmaster. 

Led by Presenting Partner, Columbia College Chicago, the 47th Chicago International Film Festival’s sponsors include: Premiere Partners-- American Airlines, Lincoln; Producing Partners-- AMC Theaters, DePaul University's School of Cinema and Interactive Media, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Major Partners-- Allstate, Intersites; Supporting Partners--Applitite, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Brugal Rum, Kodak, Second City Computers, WBBM, and the Festival's Headquarters Hotel, JW Marriott Chicago. 


Cinema/Chicago is a not-for-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to encouraging better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival is part of the year-round programs presented by Cinema/Chicago, which also include the International Screenings Program (May-September), the Hugo Television Awards (April), CineYouth Festival (May), Intercom Competition (October) and year-round Education Outreach and Member Screenings Program. 

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