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Chicago Is Ready For Its Close-Up

CHICAGO (September 20, 2012) - The city of Chicago will play a leading role at this year’s 48th Chicago International Film Festival as various films, from Opening Night to Closing Night and everything in between, celebrate the contributions of Chicagoans to the film industry.

 “This is a remarkable year for Chicagoans in the film industry,” said Michael Kutza, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival. “Not only are Chicagoans behind three of the most anticipated films of the Fall movie season, but they are also behind some of the most intriguing documentaries and independent feature films of the Festival. As a native Chicagoan, I am proud to celebrate our local filmmakers’ contributions to the art of the moving image.”

The celebration of all things Chicago begins in a high note October 11 with the Opening Night World Premiere of Stand Up Guys, produced by Chicagoan Tom Rosenberg (Academy Award® winner, Million Dollar Baby) and directed by Chicagoan Fisher Stevens (Academy Award ® winner, The Cove), and featuring an all-star cast including Academy Award®-winners Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winner Julianna Margulies. All will be present Opening Night at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph Dr.).

Next, Chicagoans Lana & Andy Wachowski will be in town to present their long-anticipated return to the director’s chair, Cloud Atlas, the Festival’s Centerpiece selection, on October 17. The Festival will conclude October 25 with the Chicago Premiere of Chicagoan Robert Zemeckis’ latest film, Flight, starring Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington. Zemeckis will be in attendance.

Besides these three high-profile events, the 48th Chicago International Film Festival will present The Chicagoans, a series of master classes and screenings with native Chicagoans who have left a mark on the film industry. This year’s guests are Joan Allen, Steve James, Philip Kaufman and Ken Nordine.

Illinois native and Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Joan Allen will walk the red carpet October 14 on her way to receiving a Career Achievement Award during An Evening with Joan Allen,” where she will also participate in an intimate discussion about her extensive career and various accomplishments on both stage and screen.

Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) will take part in a Q&A with Annette Insdorf, Director of Film Studies at Columbia University and author of Philip Kaufman, after a screening of his 1974 film The White Dawn on October 16 at 6 p.m. Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”), one of America’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers, will discuss his films, his ties to Chicago, and the state of documentary film in general on October 23 at 6 pm. Finally, voice-over and radio legend Ken Nordine will present his latest audio-visual project, Agenbite of Inwit, on October 24 at 6:30 p.m. All events will take place at the AMC River East 21.

Chicago is also well-represented in this year’s City & State program, a showcase of the best features, documentaries, and short films produced in Illinois. Kartemquin Film’s As Goes Janesville shows the impact the shutdown of a GM plant had over the citizens of Janesville, Wisconsin. Directed by local filmmakers Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross, The Believers tells the story of Martin Fleischmann’s and Stanley Pons’ discovery of “cold fusion.” As relevant as today’s headlines about the ongoing violence in Chicago’s city streets, Benji explores one of sports’ most tragic “what ifs”: the tragic death of Chicago Simeon High basketball star Ben Wilson in 1984.


Three very different feature films cap Chicago’s participation in the City & State program: Chris Sullivan’s Consuming Spirits, a spell-binding blend of cut-out, pencil-drawn and stop motion animation techniques that took Sullivan nearly 15 years to complete; F*ckload of Scotchtape, Chicago-based filmmaker Julian Grant’s “neo-noir musical crime drama”; and Danny Green’s Mr. Sophistication starring Chicago stage and movie actor Harry J. Lennix (The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions) as a Richard Pryor-like comedian who is given a second shot at the big time. The City & State program will also showcase the best new shorts by talented local filmmakers.


Finally, adopted Chicagoan Vince Vaughn contributes his voice to sister Valeri Vaughn’s documentary Art of Conflict: The Murals of Northern Ireland, which examines how street art tells the story of Northern Ireland’s history.


A complete schedule can be found at



Tickets for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival are on sale starting September 24th and 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.).


Led by Presenting Partner, Columbia College Chicago, the 48th Chicago International Film Festival's sponsors include: Official Airline - American Airlines; 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, Chris Pagano - Realtor, Land Rover, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 AND 105.9FM, ShutterBox Photobooth, Cultivate Studios; Participating Partners: iN Demand, EC Charro, Brugal Rum, Creative America, Gibsons Restaurant Group, Second City Computers, Optimus; and the Festival's Headquarters Hotel, JW Marriott Chicago.


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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.

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