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Director of The Impossible Juan Antonio Bayona to Receive Emerging Visionary Award

CHICAGO, IL (October 17, 2012) - The 48th Chicago International Film Festival will honor Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona with the Emerging Visionary Award for bringing fresh insight, dynamism, and humanity to familiar genres. The award will be presented to Bayona  Thursday, October 18 during a Special Presentation of his critically-acclaimed film The Impossible which broke box-office records when it opened last week in Spain for the biggest four-day opening in the country’s history earning $13.3 million.

The Chicago Premiere of The Impossible will start at 7 p.m. at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illlinois St.) with an introduction from Bayona and Producer Belen Atienza. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with both Bayona and Atienza, moderated by Ain't It Cool News and raging cinephile Editor Steve Prokopy and conclude with the presentation of the Emerging Visionary Award by Chicago International Film Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza.

Born in 1975 in Barcelona, Spain, Bayona began his career as a director of television commercials, music videos and shorts. He won critical acclaim with his feature film-making award-winning debut, The Orphanage, produced by Guillermo Del Toro (The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy).


Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise. But on the morning of December 26th, 2004, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth. As Maria freezes in fear, a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her.

Based on a true story, The Impossible is the unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, The Impossible is a journey to the core of the human heart.


Tickets for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival, October 11-25, are on sale and can be purchased online at the Festival Store:; via Ticketmaster; by phone at 312-332-FILM (3456); or by visiting the Festival box office at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.).


Led by Presenting Partner, Columbia College Chicago, the 48th Chicago International Film Festival's sponsors include: Official Airline - American Airlines; Producing Partners: AMC Theaters, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Major Partner: Intersites; Supporting Partners: DePaul University School of Cinema and Interactive Media, Stella Artois, Chris Pagano - Realtor, Land Rover, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 AND 105.9FM, ShutterBox Photobooth, Cultivate Studios; Participating Partners: iN Demand, EC Charro Tequila, Brugal Rum, Creative America, Gibsons Restaurant Group, Second City Computers, Optimus; and the Festival's Headquarters Hotel, JW Marriott Chicago. 

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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 Chicago International Television Competition (April), CineYouth Festival (May), Intercom Competition (October) and year-round Education Outreach and Member Screenings Program.

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