Festival Programs

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Festival Programs

View the 55th festival selection in carefully curated thematic Programs chosen by our programmers.

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Best of the Fest

Encore screenings of select award winners and audience favorites

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Opening Night

Kick off this year’s festival with screenings and an after party for our opening night selection, Motherless Brooklyn



Acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson is scheduled to attend for a screening of his latest film, Knives Out.

The Torch

Closing Night

The festival comes to a close with a screening of The Torch, with Buddy Guy and director Jim Farrell scheduled to attend.

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Gala Presentations

Red-carpet premieres with scheduled appearances from filmmakers, stars, and special guests.

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Special Presentations

Get a first look at the most highly anticipated films of the year.

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International Competition

Striking and masterfully crafted, these films compete for the Festival’s top honor, the Gold Hugo.

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New Directors Competition

This selection of U.S. premieres from up-and-coming directors showcases next generation talents.

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This program salutes the latest work from today’s most accomplished filmmakers.

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Personal, political, and profound, these films represent superlative real-life storytelling.

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Spotlight: Architecture X Design

Engaging films and events that highlight innovators and address issues related to architecture and design.

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Global Currents

Travel the globe with this expansive collection of films from across the planet.

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In Focus: French Animation

A snapshot of stunning modern animated films from France.

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Expanded Visions

Boundary-breaking and innovative works of cinematic art.

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From slapstick to subtle wit, this program presents a wide range of funny films.

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After Dark

An unforgettable lineup of boundary-pushing horror and fringe films.

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Black Perspectives

Celebrating the richness of African-American filmmaking and black cultures from around the world.

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Women in Cinema

This program spotlights provocative works by leading women filmmakers and exciting new voices.

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In Focus: Italy

From fashionable Milan to rugged Sardinia, discover the artistry and power of Italian cinema.

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City & State

This stellar collection of films made in Illinois features the year’s best stories and brightest talents.

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Out-Look Competition

These LGBTQ+-themed films addressing sexuality and identity compete for the Q Hugo Award

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In Focus: Dance

This collection of films celebrates the body in motion and the transformative power of dance.

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Cinemas of the Americas

Highlighting the vibrant work of voices from South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean



A robust collection of films that reflect the diverse artistry and craft of the short format.


Immersive Cinema

This program showcases the dynamic new medium of virtual reality storytelling in all its dimensions.