March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate we’re proud to share a collection of director and actor talkbacks and livestream events from our Women in Cinema program at the 56th Chicago International Film Festival in October 2020. Find where to watch these women-directed films below, and revisit the livestream Q&As hosted during the Festival below or on our YouTube playlist.
Dir. Ekwa Msangi
Black Perspectives, 56th Chicago International Film Festival
After 17 years in New York, working to support his family back in Angola, Walter has grown ever more comfortable living as a single man in the U.S. When wife Esther and daughter Sylvia are finally able to join him in the city, the three must find a way to reconnect as the time apart has rendered them virtual strangers. Arranged in chapters told from the perspective of each character, this insightful, beautifully conceived film captures the immigrant experience with finely detailed nuance, as Sylvia’s embrace of urban youth culture and dance sets the stage for an inevitable clash of values. From their colliding worlds, can they fashion an entirely new sense of home?
Available on VOD services.
Livestream Q&A with director Ekwa Msangi and actor Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine:
Dir. Jiayan “Jenny” Shin
Documentary, 56th Chicago International Film Festival
In April 2017, idealistic Chinese student Yingying Zhang came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agriculture. Six weeks later, she went missing. Filmmaker Jiayan “Jenny” Shi chronicles the circumstances around her disappearance and its devastating consequences on her family, friends, and community. All the more resonant and timely in the wake of rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the U.S., Finding Yingying is at first an intriguing mystery and, ultimately, a haunting and heartbreaking exposition reflecting the state of current U.S.-Chinese relations.
Available in virtual cinemas.
Livestream Q&A director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi, producer Brent E. Huffman, and cinematographer Shilin Sun:
I’m Your Woman
Dir. Julia Hart
Special Presentation, 56th Chicago International Film Festival
Suburban housewife Jean (Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) lives a seemingly easy life, supported by husband Eddie’s (Bill Heck) career as a thief. But when Eddie betrays his partners, Jean and her baby are forced to go on the run, and Eddie’s old friend Cal (Arinzé Kene) is tasked with the job of keeping them safe. After Cal mysteriously disappears, Jean befriends Teri (Marsha Stephanie Blake), and the two women set out on a perilous journey into the heart of Eddie’s criminal underworld. A decidedly female take on crime dramas of the 1970s, I’m Your Woman is a tale of love, betrayal, motherhood, family, and what it takes to claim your life as your own.
Available on Amazon Prime.
An Evening with Rachel Brosnahan:
Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
Dir. Lili Horvát
New Directors Competition, 56th Chicago International Film Festival
To what lengths would you go in pursuit of true love? After building a successful career in the U.S., gifted neurosurgeon Márta impulsively returns home to Hungary, in pursuit of the man of her dreams. The two had a brief, impassioned affair at a medical conference, but when she finds and confronts him in Budapest, he claims that they’ve never met. Undaunted, she begins to establish a new life, working at the local hospital, renting a shabby apartment—and tracking her beloved’s movements online and in the real world. But then she begins to doubt her perception of reality. Is he spinning an elaborate deception or has her obsession trapped her in a world of illusions?
Available from Greenwich Entertainment.
Livestream Q&A with director Lili Horvát:
Til Kingdom Come
Dir. Maya Zinshtein
Documentary Competition, 56th Chicago International Film Festival
Emmy-winning Israeli filmmaker Maya Zinshtein (Forever Pure) returns to the Festival with this riveting exposé that investigates the unlikely connection between Jews and evangelical Christians in the U.S. and Israel, and the startling hypocrisy at its core. From conversations with a devout pastor and his congregation in rural Kentucky to meetings with religious leaders in Washington D.C. and Israel, Zinshtein closely follows Chicago native Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the influential advocacy group the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, in her fundraising and coalition-building efforts. What she uncovers is a shocking alliance rooted in apocalyptic prophecy and driven in unprecedented ways by Donald Trump’s White House.