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Films from Thirteen Countries to Compete for the Festival's First Q-Hugo Film Award

CHICAGO, IL (September 17, 2013) - The 49th Chicago International Film Festival announced today that eleven films will compete for the inaugural Q-Hugo Film Award. These films from Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan and the United States will be shown as part of OUT-Look, the Festival’s recently rebranded LGBTQ program.

“Since 1969, the Festival has showcased bold, edgy and tender LGBTQ films from around the globe, way before the acronym even existed” said Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival Michael Kutza. “We have introduced audiences to the works of directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, André Téchiné and Gus Van Sant, who are today recognized as masters. This year’s program features a wonderful and bold mix of documentary, genre films, and dramas that fearlessly exhibit new artistic perspectives on sexuality and identity.”

Effen Vodka, the program partner for OUT-Look, is also the Lead Partner for the Q-Hugo Film Award which will be presented at a special event to be held at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted) on Monday, October 21 at 6 pm. The event will feature live performances by World Music singer/songwriter Sandra Antongiorgi, the legendary Joel Hall Dancers and the reigning Miss Continental 2014 Naysha Lopez. Center on Halsted, Lavazza Expression, Side Track, Stella Artois, Tres Generaciones® and the Windy City Media Group are the Evening Partners. Admission for this event is $20.

The 49th Chicago International Film Festival runs October 10- 24. All film screenings will be at the AMC River East 21 Theater (322 E. Illinois St.).  For a complete schedule of screenings, visit

OUT-Look Competition

American Vagabond Finland/Denmark/USA (Director: Susanna Helke) - Growing up gay in a family and a community that refuse to accept him for who he is, James leaves his hometown for San Francisco. Moving with his boyfriend Tyler, James imagines easily finding a home in the world’s gay Mecca, but without jobs they end up living among the city’s sizable community of homeless queer youth. Both stylized and deeply personal, this moving documentary presents an intimate portrait of its subjects’ joys and struggles. North American Premiere.

Contracted USA (Director: Eric England) - When gorgeous lesbian Samantha has a drunken one night stand with a strange man, she contracts what she thinks is a sexually-transmitted disease. But the truth is far more disturbing. As her horrific condition worsens, her friends begin to fear for her... and themselves. A gory body-horror film in the vein of David Cronenberg, Contracted provides truly gut-wrenching, visceral terror. North American Premiere.

Floating Skyscrapers Poland (Director: Tomasz Wasilewski) - When the self-assured Kuba, a promising swimmer who lives with his gorgeous girlfriend, meets shy young student Michal, he finds himself falling in love. But his family’s overwhelmingly negative response to his new relationship compounds his own deep-seated internal conflicts and insecurities. Kuba attempts to find peace and fulfillment while keeping one foot in the closet in this moving depiction of the psychic turmoil wrought by homophobia. Chicago Premiere.

Illiterate Chile (Director: Moisés Sepúlveda) - For fifty years, Ximena has managed to get by without being able to read. When Jackeline, a young unemployed teacher, comes into her life, Ximena’s isolation is disturbed. Jackeline’s efforts to teach Ximena how to read prove almost Herculean as they clash, but it soon becomes evident that the two women need each other in ways they could never predict. Mesmerizing performances drive this intimate, engrossing chamber drama about learning and acceptance. North American Premiere.

In The Name Of … Poland (Director: Malgoska Szumowska) - Catholic priest Adam works at a home for troubled boys in the isolated Polish countryside. Deeply committed to the Church, Adam’s convictions are thrown into turmoil when his close bond with a young teen named Łukasz forces his repressed homosexuality to the surface. Desperate to keep his secret but increasingly confronted by his desires, Adam must face who he is and who he has chosen to be in this humane, nonjudgmental portrait of an earnest priest in conflict. Chicago Premiere.

It’s All So Quiet Netherlands/Germany (Director: Nanouk Leopold) - Stifled by his ailing father’s oppressive presence, Helmer moves him to the second floor of their isolated rural farmhouse. Free from his father’s judgmental gaze, Helmer finds himself developing increasingly warm relationships with the milk truck driver and an attractive young farmhand who moves into the house. Helmer quietly acquires a newfound self-confidence and openness towards his own sexuality in this gorgeously acted, intricately plotted film. Chicago Premiere.

The Nun France/Germany/Belgium (Director: Guillaume Nicloux) - Forced to join a convent against her will at 16, Suzanne describes, in a series of letters written in secret, her yearnings for freedom and her persecution and mistreatment at the hands of her fellow nuns - including Isabelle Huppert in an electrifying performance as her Mother Superior. Her tragic life of suffering and her confrontations with hypocritical church authorities are chronicled with raw, powerful emotion in this moving adaptation of Denis Diderot’s treasured novel. Chicago Premiere.

Snails In The Rain Israel (Director: Yariv Mozer) - In the summer of 1989, beautiful yet melancholy linguistics student Boaz finds his quiet life with his devoted girlfriend Noa derailed when he begins receiving amorous letters from a closeted secret male admirer. Both flattered and troubled, Boaz is thrown into a profound internal conflict, questioning his own sexuality and alienating Noa in this tender, affecting drama. US Premiere

Stockholm Stories Sweden (Director: Karin Fahlén) - The lives of five seemingly unrelated lost souls intertwine in Sweden’s chilly capital in this delicate and wryly funny ensemble film. A precocious yet untalented young writer, a friendless advertising genius, a tight-lipped workaholic, a shy upper-class boy with a secret crush, and a recently dumped young woman all come to realize hard truths about love and life over the course of several days. World Premiere.

Voyage Hong Kong (Director: Scud) -  Young psychiatrist Ryo attempts to find catharsis by ruminating on the stories of his patients who have taken their own lives. While on a lone voyage off the coast of Southeast Asia, he writes about each patient, the film staging each of these vignettes in a beautiful surrealist landscape. As Ryo tries to find solace, he realizes that life and death are both part of the same great journey in this surprisingly playful meditation on depression. World Premiere.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Taiwan (Director: Arvin Chen) - Introvert Weichung’s measured life as a family man is shaken up when a chance encounter revives feelings from his long suppressed gay past, forcing him to choose between love and security. Meanwhile, his sister, engaged to the nicest of men, begins to question her own desire for conventional family life. Fantastical flourishes and a sunny musical score color this bittersweet romantic comedy that is at once wise and funny in its exploration of formal notions of family, sexuality, and friendship. Chicago Premiere.

Tickets, Festival Passes and Theater Information

Festival Passes are on sale now. Pass options include:

Moviegoer (10 regular admissions): $95 for Cinema/Chicago members, $125 for non-members.

Passport (20 regular admissions): $180 for Cinema/Chicago members, $240 for non-members

Passes can be purchased online at

Tickets can be purchased online 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.) or at the Cinema/Chicago office (30 E. Adams, Suite 800).

Festival screenings will be held at the AMC River East 21 Theater (322 E. Illinois St.).

Festival Sponsors

Led by Presenting Partner Columbia College Chicago, the 49th Chicago International Film Festival's sponsors include: Official Airline - American Airlines; Headquarters Hotel - JW Marriott Chicago; 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, Effen Vodka, WBBM Newsradio 105.9, Cultivate Studios; Participating Partners: State Farm, AARP, Tres Generaciones®, Comcast, Allstate, Spotlight Cinema Networks, Casale del Giglio, Second City Computers, Shutterbox Entertainment, Gibson’s Restaurant Group, Creative Technology.

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