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For every single Festival, there are countless stories…

The night of our sold out premiere screening of Pina in 3D during the 47th Chicago International Film Festival, director Wim Wenders was scheduled to introduce the film and participate in the post-screening Q&A.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Wim at the Park Hyatt Chicago before the screening. Pina was set to begin at 6:15pm, so we had plenty of time to chat about memories of the Festival when he took the top prize with his film Kings of the Road in 1976. Wim was sharing with me how much he had enjoyed touring Chicago all day when I receive a phone call from our Festival Hospitality staff with the directive to “buy some time…!”

The minutes begin to pass very quickly, and I get another phone call from our staffer saying there are technical problems with the film. It’s now well past 6:15pm and I am concerned; I can only imagine what is happening back at the theater!

“Let’s have dinner,” Wim calmly offers, so we head over to La Scarola, a favorite restaurant for Festival guests. When we arrive, I get another message – further delays. I now need a drink, and fast! I’m very concerned about our audience and am amazed that Wim remains cool and collected. I offer him a drink, which he declines. “No, I’m fine,” he says. “Besides, I have to introduce the film!”

During dinner, I get word of more delays. “Maybe I will have that drink!” exclaims Wim, as we are now approaching 9pm.

The details begin to unfold – the film company accidentally did not send the proper “key” to unlock the film for projection. No key = no film. The amazing team of AMC River East projectionists and our Festival staff at the theater worked hard and fast to make the screening happen, and I finally get the text I had been waiting for – the film is ready!

As we head out to the theater, I let Wim know how sorry we are for the confusion, to which he says, “Oh, this happened in New York, too!” I realize he has kept his cool because it’s just the name of the game – new dimensions in film exhibition mean new snags and challenges.

We end up breaking our loyal audience into three separate screenings of the film. Wim welcomed each screening and did the Q&A for the first two screenings, staying well past 11:30pm, determined to make our audience happy. It was clear by their response that Pina and Wim were worth the wait. 

Michael Kutza
Founder & Artistic Director