Festival Programs

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Festival Programs

View the 54th 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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Newly Added

Fresh additions to the festival lineup.

The Front Runner

Closing Night

Join director Jason Reitman for screenings and an after party for our closing night selection, The Front Runner



Tribute to actress Carey Mulligan with our centerpiece selection, Wildlife

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Opening Night

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

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

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

Boys Cry

World Cinema

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

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After Dark

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

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Spotlight: Comedy

From slapstick to subtle wit, this program presents a wide range of funny 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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Spotlight: Women in Cinema

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

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Spotlight: 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


Cinemas of the Americas

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

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