Cinema/Chicago News

The Festival Celebrates 50 Years of Bringing International and Independent Cinema to Chicago

Published: August 27, 2014  |  Filed under: Festival News

Celebrating 50 years of making Chicago an international destination for acclaimed filmmakers, bold new directors and lovers of cinema, the Chicago International Film Festival returns October 9-23, 2014. The anniversary celebration will kick off with an Opening Night Gala presentation at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph St.), followed by a Golden Anniversary celebration at the Chicago Cultural Center. All other Festival screenings will be held at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.). Programming and ticket information will be announced at a future date.

On November 9, 1965, a 22-year-old Michael Kutza launched the Chicago International Film Festival at the Carnegie Theatre on Rush Street. A mere eight films competed in the feature category, but, even in its inaugural year, celebrated figures including King Vidor, Bette Davis and Stanley Kramer attended to support what would become North America’s oldest competitive international film festival. Fifty years later, the Festival has earned an international reputation for discovering groundbreaking directors, including Martin Scorsese, John Carpenter, Wim Wenders, Liv Ullmann, Peter Weir, Mike Leigh, Margarethe von Trotta, and Chicago’s own William Friedkin and Joe Swanberg, who are but a few of the hundreds of world-renowned filmmakers recognized early on in their careers by the Festival.

“Since its founding, the singular goal of the Chicago International Film Festival has been to introduce Chicago and the world to new filmmakers, new stories and new perspectives,” said Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza. “Five decades later, the Festival has grown to become a highly respected annual event, showcasing films from more than 50 countries, with filmmakers from around the world in attendance. Each year we rigorously pursue the best in international cinema as well as the cutting-edge work of new talents in our steadfast commitment to share the most innovative and ambitious cinematic art with our audiences.”

One of the Festival’s most notable features is the vast diversity of offerings, with numerous competitive categories and several highlight programs such as Black Perspectives, Cinema of the Americas, ReelWomen, Out-Look, After Dark, and the City & State program, showcasing films made in Chicago and throughout Illinois.  In 2014, the Festival will shine a spotlight on Scandinavian cinema.

“As we mark this great milestone, we also celebrate the Chicago International Film Festival’s position as one of the city’s most vibrant arts organizations,” said Film Festival Managing Director Vivian Teng. “Drawing people from all walks of life from across Chicago and beyond, the Festival is a place where audiences come together in their common love of film to share in the art of visual storytelling and expand their worldview.”

The complete Festival schedule will be announced September 16, 2014

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