Cinema/Chicago News

Juries Announced for the 54th Chicago International Film Festival

The 54th Chicago International Film Festival today announced the jury members for its competitions, featuring a host of acclaimed filmmakers from across the globe. Juries will review films competing for prizes in the following categories: International Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look; Shorts; and The Chicago Award.

The International Feature Film Competition jury will award the Gold Hugo for Best Film as well as a range of Silver Hugos and Plaques for awards, including Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay.

International Feature Jury

This year’s International Competition Jury includes acclaimed Spanish director Pablo Berger, whose award-winning films have earned him accolades across the globe; Diego Lerman, the Buenos Aires-born filmmaker who won the Gold Hugo for Best Film at the 2017 Chicago International Film Festival for his feature A Sort of Family; Asli Özge, an award-winning filmmaker whose films have been featured at the Berlin Film Festival and whose upcoming project will participate in the Cannes Film Festival; Andrea Pallaoro, whose first two features premiered at the Venice Film Festival and whose 2017 drama Hannah earned best cinematography honors at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival; and Chicago actress, director and playwright Regina Taylor, who has received a Golden Globe, three NAACP Image Awards, and two Emmy Award nominations.  Complete bios of the jurors are below.

About the International Competition jurors:

Pablo Berger

Acclaimed Spanish director Pablo Berger made his feature debut with 2003’s Torremolinos 73, which premiered at the Malaga Film Festival, where it won four awards, including Best Film. The comedy went on to play at the Chicago International Film Festival and was nominated for four Goya Awards. After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, his 2013 follow-up Blancanieves went on to even greater success, winning more than 100 awards—including 10 Goyas and a Special Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival—and was selected as Spain’s Oscar® entry for Best Foreign Language Film. His latest, Abracadabra (2017), premiered at the London Film Festival and was nominated for eight Goya Awards. An MFA graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Berger is also a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France.

Diego Lerman

Buenos Aires-born Diego Lerman is one of the most prominent filmmakers of his generation with a resume that includes such widely acclaimed titles as Suddenly (2002), Mientras tanto (2006), The Invisible Eye (2010), Refugiado (2014), and A Sort of Family, which won the Gold Hugo for Best Film in the 2017 Chicago International Film Festival. A screenwriter and producer, Lerman is also one of the founding partners of production company Campo Cine. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Image and Sound Design from the University of Buenos Aires and a Playwriting degree from the Municipal School of Dramatic Arts.

Asli Özge

After making her feature debut in 2009 with the acclaimed drama Men on the Bridge, which premiered at Locarno and Toronto Film Festivals, award-winning filmmaker Asli Özge wrote and directed Lifelong (2013) and the German-language All of a Sudden (2016), both of which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival; the latter feature won both Europa Cinemas Special Label and Fipresci Awards. Her most recent film, Black Box, was selected as part of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation Atelier Program. Born in Istanbul and based in Berlin, Özge is a graduate of Turkey’s Marmara University Film & TV Academy.

Andrea Pallaoro

Born in Trento, Italy, Andrea Pallaoro holds an MFA in Film Directing from the California Institute of the Arts and a B.A. from Hampshire College. His 2009 short film, Wunderkammer, screened at the Sundance Film Festival; four years later, his first feature Medeas (2013) premiered at the 70th Venice Film Festival. His 2017 follow-up Hannah, starring Charlotte Rampling, also premiered at Venice; the drama earned best cinematography honors at the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival. The recipient of the 2017 Jerome Foundation Filmmaking Grant for his next feature, Monica, Pallaoro divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.

Regina Taylor

Regina Taylor is a respected actress, director, and playwright of such award-winning stage productions as “Crowns,” “Oo-Bla-Dee,” “The Trinity River Plays,” and “stop.reset.” She is an Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre and held the Denzel Washington Endowed Chair at Fordham University. An acclaimed performer, Taylor received a Golden Globe, three NAACP Image Awards and two Emmy® Award nominations for her starring role on the TV series I’ll Fly Away. She has appeared in Masterpiece Theatre’s Cora Unashamed and HBO’s Strange Justice. Additional TV credits include The Unit, Elementary, and The Black List; her filmography includes Saturday Church, The Negotiator, Courage Under Fire, Clockers, and Lean on Me. Next year, Taylor will co-star on Netflix’s One Day and a Night.

New Directors Competition Jury

The New Directors Competition features a selection of U.S. premiere films by first-time and second-time narrative feature directors. Celebrating the spirit of discovery and innovation upon which the Festival was founded, this year’s competition includes films from Russia, Cuba, Mexico, Vietnam, and Tunisia, among others. The New Directors Competition Jury includes Amy Beste, a film scholar and programmer based in Chicago; Pemon Rami, an award-winning producer and director who was also the first African-American film casting director in Chicago; and Allison Shoemaker, a film, television, and theater critic with a background in performance and verse. This jury will not only award the Gold and Silver Hugo in this competition, but will also select the winner of the Roger Ebert Award, presented by the Roger & Chaz Ebert Foundation, to an emerging filmmaker with a fresh and uncompromising vision.

The Documentary Competition Jury includes Lindsay Utz, an award-winning documentary film editor whose most recent work Quest earned the Cinema Eye Honors award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing; Mimi Brody, a film programmer and curator for film festivals and cinematheques; and Thorsten Trimpop, an award-winning German filmmaker and visual artist.

The Out-Look Competition Jury includes Bea Cordelia, an award-winning, Chicago-bred writer, filmmaker, performer and activist whose work uplifts and reimagines the narratives of transgendered people; Kyle Henry, whose feature fiction debut Room premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards; and Sébastien Lévy, a French casting director, dramaturg, script consultant, and film studies teacher.

The Short Film Competition is divided into three categories: live action, documentary, and animated. Top winners in the Live Action Short Film Competition and Documentary Short Film Competition qualify for the Academy Awards. The Live Action Short Jury includes Vincent Singleton, filmmaker and adjunct professor; Rebecca Lyon, programmer and projectionist for the Chicago Film Society; and Jennifer Reeder, filmmaker and interim director at the School of Art and Art History at UIC. The Documentary Short Jury includes Robert Stockwell, director and owner of Cinema Libertad; director and producer Margaret Byrne; and B Rich, a filmmaker and assistant professor of multimedia at DePaul University. The Animated Jury includes Chaz Evans, lecturer at Northwestern’s School of Communication; Naghmeh Farzaneh, an animation director and professional lecturer at DePaul University; and Jim Rohn, Associate Professor in the Interactive Arts and Media Department at Columbia College Chicago.

The Chicago Award Jury includes Michael X. Flores, an acclaimed editor whose credits include The Most Hated Woman in American and Love Means Zero; Stephen Cone, a Chicago-based filmmaker whose film Princess Cyd appeared on multiple Best of 2017 lists including Vanity Fair and NPR; and JJ Ingram, a Chicago native and producer whose credits include The Long Dumb Road, Chasing the Blues, and more.

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