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49th Chicago International Film Festival Opens Oct. 10 with "The Immigrant"

CHICAGO, IL (September 19, 2013) - The 49th Chicago International Film Festival (October 10 - 24, 2013) announces the selection of The Immigrant, directed by James Gray, written by Gray and Richard Menello and starring Academy Award®-winning actress Marion Cotillard (in her first English-language lead role), Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, as the Opening Night Film. The Immigrant will be screened on October 10 at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.). The red carpet event starts at 6 pm.  Director James Gray is scheduled to attend.

“The Chicago International Film Festival has long been a director’s festival. For 49 years, we have introduced audiences to the work of innovative new filmmakers while also celebrating the latest by the masters of world cinema,” said Founder and Artistic Director of the Festival Michael Kutza. “James Gray is, without a doubt, one of America’s preeminent talents. The Immigrant is a testament to his brilliance. It is at once intimate and epic, classic yet immediately relevant.”

The Opening Night Gala is dedicated to the late Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, a long-time supporter and friend of the Festival. Ebert credited the Festival with introducing him to the work of Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Gregory Nava, and other giants of the film industry.  “Like the Festival, Roger strongly believed in the importance of supporting the work of rising filmmakers,” added Kutza. “By honoring Roger’s legacy, we are also paying tribute to all of the directors he supported early in their careers, like Festival filmmakers Errol Morris and John McNaughton, as well as to the spirit of the Festival.”

About The Immigrant

1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski (Marion Cotillard) and her sister sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. The arrival of Orlando (Jeremy Renner) - a dashing stage magician who is also Bruno’s cousin - restores her self-belief and hopes for a brighter future, but she has not reckoned with Bruno’s jealousy.

The Immigrant will be released by The Weinstein Company.

James Gray (Writer / Director / Producer) made his directorial debut in 1994 at the age of 25 with Little Odessa, a widely acclaimed film that received the Critics Award at the Deauville Film Festival as well as the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. That same year, he received nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. In 2000 Gray wrote and directed The Yards, his second feature and his first with Joaquin Phoenix, who would become a frequent collaborator, going on to star in Gray’s next three films. The cast also included Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Faye Dunaway, Ellen Burstyn and James Caan. The drama premiered In Competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. 

Gray’s New York crime drama We Own the Night (2007) starred Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall. The film received a César nomination in 2008 for Best Foreign Film and screened In Competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Gray’s most recent feature, Two Lovers (2008) received nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director and Best Female Lead. The Brooklyn-set drama starred Joaquin Phoenix opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw and Isabella Rossellini. The film premiered In Competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and went on to receive a César nomination for best Foreign Film in 2009.

Born in New York City, Gray grew up in Queens and attended the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.

Opening Night Ticket Information

Tickets for Opening Night of the 49th Chicago International Film Festival are on sale now and can be purchased online at the Festival Store: or by in person at The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.) box office (Monday to Friday, 12-6 pm). Film-only tickets are: Balcony, $25 for Cinema/Chicago members and $30 for non-members; Main Floor, $30 for Cinema/Chicago members and $35 for non-members. VIP Ticket packages including a main floor seat and admission to the after party at The Preston Bradley Hall of The Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St., 4th Floor) are priced at $150 per ticket.

Festival Passes and Theater Information

Festival Passes are on sale now. Pass options include:

Moviegoer (10 regular admissions): $95 for Cinema/Chicago members, $125 for non-members.

Passport (20 regular admissions): $180 for Cinema/Chicago members, $240 for non-members

Passes can be purchased online at

Individual tickets will be available to Cinema/Chicago members on September 18-20. General public tickets will be on sale starting September 21. Tickets can be purchased online via Ticketmaster; by phone at 312-332-FILM (3456); or by visiting the Festival box office at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.) or at the Cinema/Chicago office (30 E. Adams, Suite 800).

Festival screenings will be held at the AMC River East 21 Theater (322 E. Illinois St.).

Festival Sponsors

Opening Night of the 49th Chicago International Film Festival is sponsored by Lead Partner Columbia College Chicago; Official Airline - American Airlines; Headquarters Hotel - JW Marriott Chicago and evening partners Casale del Giglio, Effen Vodka, Gibsons Restaurant Group, RL Restaurant, Michigan Avenue Magazine, ShutterBox Photobooth, Stella Artois, Tres Generaciones®, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 AND 105.9FM and Lavazza. Evening Patrons: Jeanne Randall Malkin, John and Jacolyn Bucksbaum, Paul and Ellen Gignilliat, and Penelope and Robert Steiner.

Led by Presenting Partner Columbia College Chicago, the 49th Chicago International Film Festival's sponsors include: Official Airline - American Airlines; Headquarters Hotel - JW Marriott Chicago; Producing Partners: AMC Theaters, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Major Partner: Intersites; Supporting Partners: DePaul University School of Cinema and Interactive Media, Stella Artois, Effen Vodka, WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9FM, Cultivate Studios; Participating Partners: State Farm, AARP, Tres Generaciones®, Comcast, Allstate, Spotlight Cinema Networks, Casale del Giglio, Second City Computers, Shutterbox Entertainment, Gibson’s Restaurant Group, RL Restaurant and Creative Technology.

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 About Cinema/Chicago

Cinema/Chicago is a not-for-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to encouraging better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival is part of the year-round programs presented by Cinema/Chicago, which also include the International Screenings Program (May-September), the Chicago International Television Competition (April), CineYouth Festival (May), Intercom Competition (October) and year-round Education Outreach and Member Screenings Program.