Cinema Chicago Logo

« News & Events


CHICAGO, IL-- Cinema/Chicago announced that the 47Th Chicago International Film Festival will spotlight a diverse group of actors and filmmakers with Illinois and Chicago connections through two unique Festival programs: City & State and Chicago Connections. 

From the Opening Night Presentation of The Last Rites of Joe May starring longtime Chicago thespian Dennis Farina to Xan Aranda’s look into the inner world of Chicago-bred musician Andrew Bird (Andrew Bird: Fever Year), and a short film program featuring promising new Illinois filmmakers (Shorts 1: City & State), this year’s City & State picks showcase the best features, documentaries and short films with roots in Chicago or Illinois. A Festival jury will select the best film in this category, which will be presented with the Chicago Award. 

Chicago Connections, a ticketed series of screenings, discussions and Q&A’s, will honor notable native Chicagoans John C. Reilly, Haskell Wexler, Joe Swanberg, Ken Nordine, Braden King and Eric Monte, who have each left their special mark on the film industry. The fifteen-year anniversary of the Black Perspectives Program will be celebrated with a special presentation of the groundbreaking Chicago-set classic Cooley High.



Andrew Bird: Fever Year USA (Director: Xan Aranda)-- Classically trained yet utterly unconventional, musician Andrew Bird has been defying classification for 20 albums and countless live shows. And though Fever Year covers the final months of the artist’s last tour, it’s as much about the creative process as it is about performance. From the handcrafted gramophone-like amplifiers to Bird’s uniquely creative looping techniques, the film’s sensuous visual style is a match for the musician whose combination of voice, violin, and whistle could charm Hades himself. Chicago Premiere.

·Dir. Xan Aranda is Illinois born and raised and currently lives in Chicago. Andrew Bird was born in Chicago and graduated from Lake Forest High School in 1991 and Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in violin performance in 1996. 

Joint Body USA (Director: Brian Jun)-- Noir-infused characters, with plenty to be paranoid about, are thrown together in a desperate situation when recent parolee Nick Burke (Lost’sMark Pellegrino) comes to the aid of Michelle (Friday Night Lights’ Alicia Witt), an exotic dancer living in a mysterious self-imposed exile in downstate Illinois. When they’re forced to team up and go on the lam, the two wonder whether they can even trust each other.Chicago Premiere.

·Dir. Brian Jun is from Alton, IL, where the film was shot and set.

The Last Rites of Joe May USA (Director: Joe Maggio)-- The Chicago International Film Festival is honored to celebrate the latest creation from two giant Chicago institutions: Dennis Farina and the Steppenwolf Theater Company. Farina (Get Shorty, Out of Sight,Law and Order) gives the finest performance of his career as an aging hustler whose way of life is at a crossroads in this film shot in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. Written and directed by Festival veteran Joe Maggio and featuring members of the Steppenwolf ensemble, The Last Rites of Joe May is a prime example of the vitality of Chicago filmmaking. Chicago Premiere.

·Born in Chicago, Actor Dennis Farina was formerly a Chicago police officer and began his acting career at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. Co-star Gary Cole is from Park Ridge, Illinois and also began his acting career at the Steppenwolf Theatre. The film is set and shot on Chicago’s West side. 

Patang India (Director: Prashant Bhargava)-- Can you ever really go home again? In Chicago-born Prashant Bhargava’s visually stunning feature debut, a successful Delhi businessman returns to his familial home, urban-bred daughter in tow, for a surprise visit during India’s largest kite festival. The excitement of their homecoming soon fades as long-held resentments and distrust surface. Chicago Premiere.

· Dir. Prashant Bhargava is a Chicago native. Patang was written and post-produced in Chicago. 

The Return of Joe Rich USA (Director: Sam Auster)-- He lost his job, his wife and his home, but not his sense of honor. When Joe returns to Chicago he looks up his aging but still dangerous Uncle Dom in the hopes of getting “connected” and living the life of a made man. When Uncle Dom resists, Joe makes him an offer he can’t refuse. World Premiere.

·Dir. Sam Auster was born in Chicago and attended Columbia College Chicago film school. Actor Sam Witwer grew up in Glenview, IL. The film is set and shot in Chicago. 

Sadermania: From Fanship to Friendship  USA (Director: Adam Gacka)-- Calling all Hulkamaniacs! When you’re done training, taking your vitamins, and saying your prayers, then you can meet the purest fan of all, Chris Sader, in a story that goes from childhood obsession to an unexpected and touching friendship. In this inspirational tale, Chris and Hulk Hogan relate how they met and developed a bond through mutual struggles and personal loss that each would have faced alone if not for the unlikely bond that develops between them. World Premiere. 

    ·The documentary was shot in Chicago and its subject, Chris Sader, lives in Chicago.


A mixture of narrative, documentary and animated short films shining the light on talented local filmmakers.

12 year old Kyle Krichbaum has an unusual and fascinating hobby in THE VACUUM KID. A teenager’s commute through Chicago in a blizzard reinforces her corrosive spirit in L TRAIN.

THE GHOSTS is a 50’s style tale of a wild gang of juvenile delinquents who take the life of a sleepy little town, and an innocent young girl, by storm. Tim Burton fans will love THE DOCTOR’S WIFE, an animated musical love letter to Frankenstein. A chain gang prisoner desperately dreams of a break in the atmospheric WINTER. A young woman is keeping something from her concerned husband in THE TRUTH.



A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN C. REILLY: From Chicago’s Southwest side to Hollywood’s A-list, the undeniably lovable John C. Reilly joins us for a talk about his life and work. The Oscar® and Tony® nominated actor best known for a range of character types in films like Chicago, Magnolia, Gangs of New York, The Thin Red Line and now, Lynn Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, began his career on stage with Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Organic Theatre. Let’s welcome home one of the rising stars of the big screen. October 12, 11am. 

AN EVENING WITH HASKELL WEXLER: One of the most influential cinematographers the cinema has ever known, Chicago-born Academy Award®-winning Haskell Wexler’s expertise behind the camera has given the world such classics as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, In the Heat of the Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Thomas Crown Affair. In addition he’s directed some extremely important films such as Medium Cool andLatino. Join us for a conversation with a true visionary of the American screen.October 13, 7pm. 

AN EVENING WITH JOE SWANBERG: New film movements always undergo the torture of critical labeling and mislabeling but whatever you want to call it, DIY, Mumblecore, Slackavettes, Chicago’s Joe Swanberg is at its forefront. With such notable independent films of recent years as Kissing On The Mouth, LOL and Hannah Takes The Stairs, Swanberg, a former staff member of The Chicago International Film Festival, has made a career of portraying life and relationships in a way that audiences can relate to. Join us for an open discussion about the ins and outs of indie film production in Chicago. October 19, 6pm. 

AN EVENING WITH KEN NORDINE: Voice-over and radio legend Ken Nordine has recorded hundreds of radio and TV spots and movie trailers over the past seven decades and has been the voice of our Festival for 46 years. His 1957 album Word Jazz virtually created a new art form that combined the free flow of improvisational jazz with poetry. Ken is currently developing a series of multimedia projects called Image Jazz that will combine words with computer-generated. This event offers a rare and unique opportunity to hear Ken talk about his long and innovative career and to experience some of his best work. October 11, 6pm  

AN EVENING WITH BRADEN KING: Braden King is a New York-based filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist with Chicago roots. His most recent feature film is the love story within a road movie, Here, which premiered in competition at Sundance and BerlIn International film festivals. A live installation derived from the film project was shown at the Museum of Modern Art. King’s previous work includes the stunning documentary, Dutch Harbor: Where The Sea Breaks Its Back (co-directed) with photographer Laura Moya), the short film Home Movie and music videos for Sparklehorse, Sonic Youth, Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham) and Dirty Three. A presentation and discussion with the artist will be followed by Q&A. October 16, 7pm 

BLACK PERSPECTIVES SPECIAL PRESENTATION, COOLEY HIGH: USA (Director: Michael Schultz) Set in 1960’s Chicago, the groundbreaking classic revisits a crucial period in the history of local black cinema. Heartfelt and moving, this teen pic follows best friends Leroy “Preach” Jackson and Richard “Cochise” Morris, high school seniors at Cooley Vocational School on Chicago’s Near North side, captures the mood, tone and music of the era preceding hip-hop. As they begin to consider their future, the two contend with girl trouble, difficult teachers, an ordeal with a couple of thugs, and the police. Directed by Michael Schultz (Car Wash, Krush Groove) and written by Eric Monte, the creator of the smash hit TV-series Good Times. October 9, 5:15pm

# # #


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 (322 E. Illinois St.), or through Ticketmaster.



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. 

For images and press materials go to ;

Follow us on facebook or Twitter!