Chicago International Film Festival First Look

First Look at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival returns for its 59th edition from October 11 – 22, 2023. This year, the Festival will present screenings at venues throughout Chicago, including AMC New City 14, the Music Box Theatre, the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Chicago History Museum, and several Chicago Park District locations. Select films will also be offered as virtual screenings via the Festival’s streaming platform.

The full film lineup for the Festival will be announced on Monday, September 18.

Festival passes are now on sale. For early access and the best prices on passes and tickets become a member today.

Learn about Festival Passes

On-sale dates

September 19-21
Exclusive Members-Only Pre-Sale: Individual Tickets and Pass Redemption

September 21
General Public: Pass Redemption

September 22
General Public: Individual Tickets

ChiFilmFest Opening Night Block Party

October 11 from 5:00-10:00pm
Southport from Grace to Waveland (in front of the Music Box Theatre)

Exterior of the Music Box Theatre with the festival logo projected onto it

The Chicago International Film Festival history will kick off Opening Night with an Opening Night Block Party encompassing Southport between Grace and Waveland, home of the Music Box Theatre. Neighbors, community groups, and film fans from across Chicago are invited to enjoy live music, outdoor film screenings, retail kiosksm and food vendors. Entry to the Block Party is free.

Block Party Sponsors

Logo: DCASE Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events 311x100Logo: Lakeview Special Service Area 27 307x75Logo: NEA 293x100logo: Illinois Arts Council 266x200logo: Sanpellegrino 213x100

Opening Night Film

October 11, 2023 @ 7:00pm
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

A young boy smiles, his back to the bright blue sky, with his arms and legs spread as if tossed in the air.

U.S. Premiere

We Grown Now

Dir. Minhal Baig | United States

The heartfelt story follows two 10-year-olds, Malik and Eric, as they revel in the freedoms of boyhood and the joys of friendship. The projects are their playground, and every stairway, roof, and stretch of blacktop is just another place for adventure. But when violence comes to their neighborhood, their safe haven is fractured, and Malik’s mother Dolores (Jurnee Smollett) must decide whether to stay or move away.

Written and directed with care and affection by Minhal Baig (HALA, ChicagoIFF ‘19), We Grown Now is a lyrical coming-of-age fable deeply rooted in and based on the real-life experiences of Chicago’s Black community. With captivating performances by Smollett, Lil Rel Howery, young actors Blake Cameron James and Gian Knight Ramirez, and S. Epatha Merkerson as Malik’s wise and witty grandmother, the film is a love letter to growing up and the places we call home.

Learn More & Get Tickets

Centerpiece Film

October 19, 2023

A man in a tuxedo is seated at a mirrored table. His face is reflected up at him between the table settings.


Dir. Emerald Fennell | United Kingdom

With Festival Centerpiece film Saltburn, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) brings us a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire. Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten. Fennell will be celebrated at the screening with this year’s Visionary Award.

Closing Night Film

October 22, 2023

A black and white image of a man riding a motorcycle over a bridge. He looks at something behind him.

The Bikeriders

Dir. Jeff Nichols | United States

From writer-director Jeff Nichols, The Bikeriders is a furious drama following the rise of a fictional 1960s Midwestern motorcycle club through the lives of its members. Inspired by Danny Lyon’s iconic book of photography, The Bikeriders immerses us in the look, feel, and sounds of the bare-knuckled, grease-covered subculture of ‘60s motorcycle riders. The cast, led by Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, The Last Duel), Austin Butler (Elvis), and Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) also includes Michael Shannon, Mike Faist, Boyd Holbrook, and Norman Reedus. Nichols will also be celebrated with an Artistic Achievement Award at the Festival for his outstanding body of work.

Select Highlights

A man lies in the snow, blood pooling behind his head. Two people stand nearby, embracing eachother, one holds a phone.

Women in Cinema

Anatomy of a Fall
Anatomie d’une Chute

Dir. Justine Triet | France

Justine Triet’s tension-filled opus, is a bracing, Hitchcockian showstopper following a wife suspected of murdering her husband in the French Alps. Winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or.

A woman looks to the side, resting her chin on her hands.

Special Presentation

Eric LaRue

Dir. Michael Shannon | United States

Shell-shocked Janice (Judy Greer) attempts to navigate the aftermath of a shooting spree perpetrated by her son. Also starring Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Sparks, Alison Pill, and Tracy Letts, the film is a penetrating psychological drama about grief, guilt, and atonement that builds to a profound and cathartic conclusion. Eric LaRue is the directoral debut of Academy Award-nominated Chicago actor Michael Shannon.

A civil rights march. People standing arm in arm and walk in unity.

Black Perspectives


Dir. George C. Wolfe | United States

Rustin tells the story of Bayard Rustin, the architect of the 1963 March on Washington and one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known. Directed by five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe (Lackawanna Blues, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and starring Emmy-winner Colman Domingo in a towering and electrifying performance.

A mysterious man wearing a hat and leather gloves, looks through a monocular at an unseen view in Paris, France.

The Killer

Dir. David Fincher | United States

In director David Fincher’s highly anticipated The Killer, partially shot in Chicago, Michael Fassbender plays an assassin who, after a fateful near-miss, battles his employers (and himself) on an international manhunt he insists isn’t personal.

An idilic scene of a forest and a lake. A family lounges on the shore nearby, while some swim.

Spotlight Presentation

The Zone of Interest

Dir. Jonathan Glazer | Poland

The Zone of Interest from writer-director Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin, Birth) tells the story of a commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, who strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp. Winner of the Grand Prix and International Film Critics Awards at Cannes.