Chicago International Film Fest Sets Slate for 40th Event
by Eugene Hernandez
The 40th edition of the Chicago International Film Festival, North America's oldest festival, will kick-off on October 7th with a screening of Bill Condon's "Kinsey," starring Liam Neeson as the infamous sex doctor, Alfred Kinsey. The following night, Annette Bening will be presented a career achievement award at the screening of her new film, "Being Julia." Christoper Walken will appear in Chicago with a screening of "Around the Bend" and the fest will close on October 21st with a showing of Robert Zemeckis' "The Polar Express."
This year's Chicago fest will offer some 111 feature films and 54 shorts, boasting 2 world premieres 13 North American premieres and 22 U.S. premieres. Organizers received more than 1,500 submissions for this year's event. Most fest screenings will take place at the AMC River East 21, Landmark's Century Centre Cinema and Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium.
"Anniversaries are often a time to pause and look back. But we've always focused on discovery. So at 40 years young, we're still fixed on the future -- with a twist," said festival founder and Artistic director Michael Kutza in a statement. "This year we're pulling out all the stops with an expanded program that celebrates our history and looks ahead."
Nineteen movies will screen in the festival's International Competition, they are: Simon Staho's "Day and Night," Marina Razbezhkina's "The Harvest Time," Dan Harris' "Imaginary Heroes," Nimrod Antal's "Kontroll," Daniel Burman's "Lost Embrace," Lee Kang-sheng's "The Missing," Ousmane Sembene's "Molaade," Hirokazu Kore-ada's "Nobody Knows," Pablo Trapero's "Rolling Family," Marziyeh Meshkini's "Stray Dogs," Eran Riklis's "The Syrian Bride," Chantal Akerman's "Tomorrow We Move," Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Tropical Malady," Bahman Ghobadi's "Turtles Can Fly," David Gordon Green's "Undertow," Zeki Demirkubuz' "The Waiting Room," Juan Pablo Rebella & Pablo Stoll's "Whisky," Laetitia Masson's "Why (Not) Brazil," and Nicole Kassell's "The Woodsman."
Fourteen films will screen in the event's New Director competition and the festival will also present Docufest, showcasing non-fiction work. The festival's World Cinema section will offer thirty films, while the event's Focus: U.S.A. program will present ten new movies.
Special Presentations on tap for 2004 include Jordan Roberts' "Around the Bend," the aforementioned "Being Julia" by Istvan Szabo, Kinji Fukasaku's "Battles Without Honor and Humanity," Mark Forster's "Finding Neverland," Fatih Akin's "Head On," the opening night film "Kinsey," Jean-Luc Godard's "Notre Musique," closing night movie "The Polar Express," Alexander Payne's "Sideways," and Theo Angelopoulos' "Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow."
Other sections on tap for this year's fest include a short film competition, Critics Choice, Late Night Insanity, and Flashback, looking at film's that have premiered at the Chicago fest over the years.
[ For more information, please visit: http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com. ]