Cinema/Chicago News

48 Hour Fest Guide: How to Kickoff the 57th #ChiFilmFest Right

Published: October 9, 2021  |  Filed under: Festival News

With just a couple days to go until the 57th Chicago International Film Festival begins, we’re here to help you kick-off the Festival right with a custom itinerary that showcases all #ChiFilmFest and Chicago have to offer.

Wednesday, October 13

10pm: An After Hours Opening Night

Our official Opening Night screening of The French Dispatch may be sold out, but you can still kick off the festival right, in an albeit scarier format, at a sneak peek, late-night screening of HALLOWEEN KILLS at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview. Come dressed up in costume to celebrate the Spooky Season and the start of the best Festival yet!

Thursday, October 14

Today you have two options on the first full day of the Festival, depending on the kind of Festival experience you’re looking for:

Option 1: an emotional international matinee before a big-screen drive-in spectacle

3:30pm: Head to the AMC River East for LINGUI, THE SACRED BONDS by acclaimed Chadian filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, a family drama that Deadline says “tells a story you’ve very likely never seen before.”

6:15pm: After you shed some tears, it’s time to find some friends, a car, and some snacks and head to ChiTown Movies in Pilsen for a 7pm drive-in screening of ENCOUNTER (get there early so you get a good spot!). This sci-fi starring Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer will blow your mind, and there’s no better way to see it than under the stars on the big screen with Chicago’s skyline in the background.



Option 2: soak in the local spirit with a double feature highlighting Chicago

6pm: Sleep in, get some work done, and head to the AMC River East by 6pm for the CITY AND STATE Shorts program. You’ll see an eclectic array of short films highlighting the vibrancy of the Chicago and Illinois filmmaking communities across genres, from the story of an immigrant dog walker to an experimental horror film. Plus, some of the directors will join following the screening for a Q&A!

8pm: Keep up the Chicago spirit and head to Farm Bar at 1300 W. Wellington for some Midwestern fare. Don’t miss the cheese curds and the burgers with local beef while washing that all down with a local brew.

9:30pm: Your timing is perfect and you’re just a quick L train ride (take the Brown line to Southport) or Uber away from the historic Music Box Theatre for an exciting late-night screening of BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION. Channeling ’70s paranoid cinema, this throwback thriller cleverly taps into analog technology and the perils of personal obsession. Plus, you’re lucky to be joined by director Jacob Gentry and star Harry Shum Jr. (of Crazy Rich Asians) for a special Q&A after the film.


Midnight: Need a nightcap? You’re just a couple blocks away from Wrigleyville, one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods for an after hours drink. We suggest the GMan Tavern, or any taproom where you can get Chicago’s famous Goose Island beer!

Friday, October 15

3:15pm: You’re getting an early start today at the AMC River East to see an innovative documentary that rocked Sundance earlier this year: FLEE. This film combines animation and archival footage to tell the story of one man’s harrowing experience under the Taliban and his journey towards freedom, from Afghanistan to Russia and Denmark. Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, FLEE is more relevant than ever and is sure to wow you on this Friday afternoon.

5:45pm: Soak in a few minutes of fresh air in-between screenings before grabbing your favorite movie snack and a seat for A COP MOVIE, a fascinating hybrid docu-fiction story about rampant police corruption in Mexico. From director Alonso Ruizpalacios, known for Güeros and Narcos: Mexico, this film imaginatively interrogates the troubling double bind of those trying to enforce the law within a dysfunctional system.

7:30pm: Time for a quick bite before finishing your jam-packed day of international films. Craving a quick pint and a burger? Head to D4 Irish Pub & Cafe at 345 E. Ohio St, just a block away from the AMC. If you want to keep up the international flair, try Latin and Iberian-inspired plates at Lirica, located down the street at Navy Pier.

8:45pm: With a full stomach, head back to the AMC and settle in for PETITE MAMAN. From Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) comes this tender drama that The Guardian called “a moving jewel of a film about memory, friendship and kin.” At just 72 minutes, this small but powerful story will get you home early enough to keep up your movie streak for the rest of the Festival.

We hope this guide helps you start the Festival off strong, showcasing what the 57th Chicago International Film Festival has to offer, from local shorts and big-screen spectacles to international auteurs and award-winning documentaries.
See you at the #ChiFilmFest!





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