Meet the industry professionals who select the winners of our prestigous Festival awards.
International Competition Jury
Juan Manuel Dominguez
Juan Manuel Dominguez wanted to be a superhero. Now, the Batman-Gorey lover drowns his dreams of saving the universe in film programming, curating, editing, writing film criticism, and comics. As a writer and critic, his work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in the U.S., U.K., France, and across Latin America, including Rolling Stone, Inrockutibles, La Nación, Clarín, Perfil, and more. He is an editor who has published books by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and film critics J. Hoberman and Stephanie Zacharek in Latin America. He has worked as a programmer for Bafici (Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival), Seattle International Film Festival, and other international film festivals. He’s the author of “Super Hollywood: The Comic Book Heroes Save the Movies”, an essay on the cultural effect of superheroes in popular culture.
Barbara Klinger is Provost Professor Emerita in Cinema and Media Studies, The Media School, Indiana University and a former President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, her field’s national organization. She is author of Melodrama and Meaning: History, Culture, and the Films of Douglas Sirk; Beyond the Multiplex: Cinema, New Technologies, and the Home; and the forthcoming Casablanca and The Lifecycle of an Immortal Film: From Radio Adaptation to Streaming. She is co-editor of a special issue on feminism and transnational crime drama in Television & New Media. She has published numerous book chapters in anthologies on reception studies, new media and technologies, fan studies, and other areas of film and media theory and history. Her work has also appeared in journals that include Screen, Cinema Journal, Film Quarterly, Convergence, and Public. Klinger’s articles have twice received the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Katherine Singer Kovács Essay Award for “Film History Terminable and Interminable: Recovering the Past in Reception Studies” and for “Contraband Cinema: Piracy, Titanic, and Central Asia.”
Shahram Mokri is an Iranian director, screenwriter, and film critic. His first feature-length film Ashkan, the Charmed Ring and Other Stores (2008) was presented at the Busan Film Festival. His follow-up feature, Fish and Cat (2013), won the Orizzonti Special Prize for Innovative Content at the Venice Film Festival. His 2018 feature Invasion premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. He returned to Venice in 2020 with his fourth feature Careless Crime, which won the Premio Bisato d’Oro for Best Original Screenplay. The film went on to win the Silver Hugo Jury Prize at the 56th Chicago International Film Festival. Mokri participated on the Orizzonti Jury at the 78th Venice Film Festival.
Since making his feature debut with the acclaimed 1993 feature Boatman, about chronicling the experiences of a boatman on the banks of the Ganges River, Gianfranco Rosi has become one of the world’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers. His early credits include such award-winning films as 2008’s Below Sea Level about a homeless community living on a desert plain 40 meters below sea level; 2010’s El Sicario – Room 164, a film interview from a story by Charles Bowden about a hitman on the run from Mexican drug cartels; and 2013’s Sacro GRA, which told the story of the hitherto unseen humanity that lives around the Grande Raccordo Anulare that circles Rome. Sacro GRA became the first film to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
In 2016, Rosi won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Festival with Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) about the fisherman and migrants who inhabit the island of Lampedusa; the film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary. His latest film, Notturno, was shot over the past three years along the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon. A portrait of a region where tyranny, invasions and terrorism have fed off each other in a vicious circle to the detriment of the civilian populations, Notturno was presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 and has been selected as Italy’s official submission for the 2021 Academy Awards.
Rosi is a graduate of New York University Film School.
After earning an Honors B.A. in Philosophy and English from Calvin College in Michigan, Patricia Rozema distinguished herself as a writer/director with her internationally celebrated first comedy feature, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, where it won the Prix de la Jeunesse, the first of many recognitions including being voted one of Canada’s Top 10 Films of all time. Other highlights: writing/directing the contemporary lesbian love story When Night is Falling, adapting/directing the politically progressive Jane Austen feature Mansfield Park with Harold Pinter, and co-writing HBO’s Grey Gardens, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange (PEN Screenwriter’s Award, Emmy nomination, and a Golden Globe). She also won an Emmy and was nominated for a Grammy for the Yo-Yo Ma/Bach film Six Gestures. Rozema adapted and directed the apocalyptic thriller Into the Forest with Elliot Page and Evan Rachel Wood. She has also directed Anne with an E and the Golden Globe-winning comedy Mozart in the Jungle for Netflix/CBC & Amazon, an experimental feature MOUTHPIECE, and recently the pilot for Netflix’s hit series Sex/Life.
Rozema is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
New Directors Jury
Since joining the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013, Associate Curator Robyn Farrell has made distinguished contributions to the Modern and Contemporary Art collection and exhibition program, including her current exhibition with Barbara Kruger, Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. (co-curated with James Rondeau). Her research interests include conceptual art and the moving image, emerging disciplines of media art, artist networks, and the history of exhibition and distribution of film and video. Farrell is an internationally recognized scholar on the work of German filmmaker and video art pioneer Gerry Schum, including his landmark art on television broadcasts such as Land Art (1969). She has contributed to numerous publications and artist monographs and has spoken widely on time-based media art at the College Art Association Annual Conference, the University of Chicago, the Graham Foundation, New York University, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), and the Herbert Foundation, among others. Farrell is a visiting lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, moderator for the Screen to Screen series at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and is currently serving as co-editor of the forthcoming first issue of the museum’s digital journal, Art Institute Review (with Delinda Collier). Farrell earned her master’s degree in Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Budapest native Lili Horvát studied audiovisual arts at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris and film directing at the University of Theatre and Film in Budapest. Her first feature, The Wednesday Child, won the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary 2015 and received numerous awards worldwide. In 2016, Horvát co-founded the production company Poste Restante, which produced her second feature, Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2020 and had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It also has been presented at many other festivals—including the 2020 Chicago International Film Festival, where it won the Gold Hugo in the New Directors Competition— and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best international film.
After graduating in 2008 with a diploma in film directing from Cinecours, Joël Karekezi directed his 2009 short The Pardon with the support of Maisha Film Lab; the film won the Golden Impala Award at the Amakula Film Festival in Uganda and the 2010 award for Best Short Film at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival. He received a development award from the Göteborg International Film Festival Fund for his first feature, Imbabazi: The Pardon, which won the Nile Grand Prize 2014 at Luxor African Film Festival and Best Director at International Images Film Festival For Woman 2014. In 2012, his script The Mercy of the Jungle won the CFI Award for the Most Promising Audiovisual Project at Durban FilmMart and STEP development award at Luxor African Film Festival 2015. It was then selected at Cannes for La Fabrique de Cinema du Monde 2013, Locarno Open Doors 2014, Atelier Grand Nord in Quebec 2015, and Forum de Production de Namur 2015 et Rencontre de Coproduction Francophone in Paris 2015. The Mercy of the Jungle won the Grand Prize Golden Stallion at FESPACO 2019, the Silver Hugo Prize in New Director’s Competition at the 2018 Chicago International Film Festival and was named Best Narrative Feature at PAFF 2020.
Documentary Competition Jury
Sari Braithwaite works across the disciplines of film and history. Her documentary films have played at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, DocPoint, and BFI London. Her 2016 film Paper Trails earned her a Directors Guild Award and an audience award at the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. She was a recipient of the 2015 AFTRS Creative Fellowship to create her first feature-length experimental work [CENSORED], which was awarded Best Documentary at the 2018 Chicago International Film Festival. In 2020, she developed a multi-screen work for the permanent galleries at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, titled You Will See Me.
Julie Goldman is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films and series. Goldman is the first documentary producer to receive the Amazon Studios Sundance Institute Producer’s Award and the Cinereach Producer’s Award. She has produced films directed by Roger Ross Williams, Nanfu Wang, Todd Haynes, Steve James, Maite Alberdi, among many others. Goldman has produced and executive produced films and series including: In the Same Breath, The Velvet Underground, The Mole Agent, A Thousand Cuts, Socks on Fire, Bully. Coward. Victim., The Story of Roy Cohn, Ringside, One Child Nation, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, The Final Year, Murder in the Bayou, Life, Animated, Weiner, Best of Enemies, Solitary, Manhunt, Inventing Tomorrow, The Raft, Southwest of Salem, Gideon’s Army, 1971, Humans of New York, God Loves Uganda, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, 3 1⁄2 Minutes, Ten Bullets, Art and Craft and Buck.
A graduate of Mexico’s prestigious Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, award-winning documentary filmmaker Bruno Santamaría made his feature debut with 2016’s Margarita, a chronicle of a woman living in the streets of Mexico City. His acclaimed follow-up, 2020’s Things We Dare Not Do (Cosas que no hacemos), screened in more than 40 countries. Winner of the James Blue Award at the Ashland Film Festival and the top documentary prize at the Chicago International Film Festival, Santamaría is currently developing the film 6 meses en el edificio rosa con azul with the FONCA Young Creators Mexican grant. His work has been shown at festivals including Sundance, Hot Docs, Berlinale, IDFA, Camerimage, Morelia, Guadalajara, and FICUNAM. He has collaborated with directors such as Ai WeiWei, Paula Markovitch, and Manuel Abramovich. He also directed the first edition of the Cuorum Morelia Residency and worked for the documentary training program at Ambulante Más Allá, Netflix-Ambulante, EICTV, Ciclo Rosa de la Cinemateca de Bogotá and at the CCC. Santamaría is co-founder of Ojo de vaca, a space for the creation, development, and production of documentary film in Mexico.
Maya Zinshtein is an Emmy award-winning Israeli documentary filmmaker and journalist. She holds a BA in Cinema and French studies, and an MA in Security and Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University. Her most recent film ‘Til Kingdom Come (2020) explored the controversial bond between Israeli Jews & American Evangelical Christians. The film premiered to critical acclaim at international festivals including Chicago International Film Festival, DOCNYC and IDFA before it was released theatrically in the US. Her previous film Forever Pure (2016) about Beitar Jerusalem FC won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Politics and Government documentary in 2018. The film premiered at Jerusalem FF where it won Best Director & Best Editor Awards, had its international premiere at Toronto Film Festival, and played over 100 festivals around the world. An alumna of Sundance Institute, for the last 15 years Zinshtein has directed and produced documentaries broadcast on Israeli TV and abroad including Netflix, BBC, ARTE/ZDF, and PBS. For years as an investigative journalist (Haaretz) she covered many of the ills of Israeli society.
The Chicago International Film Festival has a long history of screening LGBTQ-themed films beginning in 1969, showcasing the talents of queer filmmakers around the globe including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Amos Gutman, John Cameron Mitchell, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, Gus Van Sant, and Bill Condon, to name a few. We are presenting these films in a competitive program with a juried award, the Q Hugo, highlighting the importance of gay-themed films in contemporary international cinema.
Emily Harris is a visual storyteller whose artistic career spans film, theater, and exhibition. Her work has won multiple international awards and has been shown at major film festivals and museums worldwide. Harris has a fine art background, holding a BA Honors from Glasgow School of Art, and she studied film in the UK at London Film School and NFTS. Her exhibition work includes film installations for Prague Quadrennial, 2015 and 2019; she co-wrote and directed Carmilla, which was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film 2019 and was distributed internationally in 2020. She is a Berlinale Talent Alumna, full voting member of BAFTA and was recently appointed Film Curator for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Stéphane Rideau is a French actor. Intending to pursue a career in sports, he was discovered at a rugby game in 1992 and landed a role in André Téchiné’s Wild Reeds, alongside Gaël Morel and Elodie Bouchez, which. earned him a nomination for Most Promising Actor at the Cesar Awards. This was the beginning of a long friendship and collaboration with Morel. Rideau was the lead actor in his first short film A Rebours, his first TV movie Premières Neiges and then his first feature film At Full Speed. He went on to play David in François Ozon’s Sitcom followed by Cédric, a gay teenager falling in love, in Come Undone directed by Sébastien Lifshitz. He worked again with Téchiné as the lead in Far, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2001. After a five-year hiatus, Rideau returned to the screen in Rithy Panh’s The Sea Wall (2008). In 2011, he played the beloved French singer in Brassens, La Mauvaise Réputation and also in Morel’s Our Paradise. In 2012, Rideau was selected by Pink TV as the gay community’s favorite male figure alongside Catherine Deneuve as the favorite female. He has continued to work in French cinema and television, and in 2018 appeared in Vanessa Filho’s Angel Face alongside Marion Cotiallard and Alejandro Fadel’s Murder Me, Monster, which both premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Voted Artist of the Year (Film) by The Hong Kong Arts Development Council for 2021, Ray Yeung made his feature film debut with Cut Sleeve Boys, which premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2005. His second feature, Front Cover, premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival 2015 and was the closing film for the 2016 Asian American International Film Festival in New York. Yeun’s third feature, Suk Suk (Twilight’s Kiss), premiered at the Busan International Film Festival 2019 and Berlinale International Film Festival 2020. Suk Suk earned five Golden Horse Award nominations and was also nominated for nine Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. In addition, Suk Suk collected awards and nominations from prestigious organizations including the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Hong Kong Directors Guild, Hong Kong Screenwriters Guild, the Renaissance Awards, and the Asian Film Awards.
A Columbia University MFA graduate, Yeung has served as the Chairman of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival since 2000.
City & State Jury
The Chicago Award is presented to a Chicago or Illinois artist for the best feature, short film, or documentary. The Chicago Award applauds and celebrates the tireless efforts of regional filmmakers who contribute to the art of cinema.
Born in Chicago to Jamaican immigrants, writer-director Andre Muir made his debut with the award-winning short film 4 Corners, a deeply personal examination of gun violence in his hometown. Muir’s sophomore short Patois, about the Afro-Diaspora immigrant experience and the myth of Black girlhood, won the Chicago Award at the Chicago Film Festival and notably screened at the Pan African Film Festival, among other festivals. Most recently, Muir was selected as a recipient of the Sundance Institute’s inaugural Uprise Grant Fund. He has won and been nominated for numerous awards including AICP Awards, 1.4 Awards, and Booooooom TV’s Best Short of the Year. Muir was part of the SHOOT New Directors Showcase and shots Black Directors Showcase.
Jenny Shi is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist. Her debut documentary Finding Yingying (MTV Documentary Films) has won numerous awards including the Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival and a China Academy Award of Documentary Films, and was nominated for an Emmy. She has contributed to projects on Netflix, Paramount +, BBC News, Discovery Channel, PBS, Business Insider, and Tencent, among others. Shi is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a TFI Network alum, a fellow of the inaugural Women at Sundance Adobe Fellowship, and a DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmaker.
Jon Siskel is the co-founder of Siskel/Jacobs Productions (SJP). Siskel and his co-founder Greg Jacobs recently produced and directed the Chicago International Film Festival audience award-winning documentary feature The Road Up. Siskel co-directed (with Greg & Danny Alpert) No Small Matter, the first feature documentary to explore the potential impact of early childhood education. Completed in late 2018, No Small Matter has helped move the needle on the issue at a national scale, through more than 1,400 screenings. In 2010, Siskel and Jacobs produced and directed the documentary feature Louder Than a Bomb, winner of 17 festival prizes, along with the Humanitas Prize for documentaries. In 2008, SJP produced the landmark History Channel special 102 Minutes That Changed America, which won three Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special, and has since aired in more than 150 countries.