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George Tillman, Jr. To Be Honored At The Chicago International Film Festival’s Black Perspectives Tribute

CHICAGO, IL (September 11, 2013) - The 49th Chicago International Film Festival (October 10-24, 2013) will honor writer, director and producer George Tillman, Jr. with a Career Achievement Award at the 17th Annual Black Perspectives Tribute Friday, October 11. The red carpet event starts at 6:00 pm at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.) and will be followed by a special presentation of Tillman’s latest film The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete. Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) company, will release the film in select theaters on October 11. Academy Award® and Grammy Award®-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who stars in the film, is scheduled to join Tillman on the red carpet and at the Tribute. An After-party at Altitude at the W Chicago Lake Shore Hotel will immediately follow the tribute and film presentation.

“As a producer, George Tillman, Jr. has played an important role in opening the doors of Hollywood to a new generation of African-American filmmakers and artists,” said Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival Michael Kutza. “As a writer and director, Tillman has told funny, inspiring and heartbreaking stories that capture the energy and complexity of the African-American experience. We are pleased and honored to present him with this award and we are also delighted to welcome back past Black Perspectives honoree Jennifer Hudson to the Festival. Hudson shares Tillman’s deep love for this city. I am quite sure this evening will be special for both of them.”

Directed by Tillman and written by Michael Starrbury, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete stars Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright. Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, and Bob Teitel produced the film with Alicia Keys, Susan Lewis, Clay Floren, Aimee Shieh, Julio Depietro, Keith Kjarval, Mary Vernieu, and Amy Nauiokas executive producing. Wright, Hudson and Mackie are previous Black Perspectives honorees.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is a beautifully observed and tremendously moving film about salvation through friendship and the way transformation sometimes can happen just by holding on long enough. During a sweltering summer in New York City, 13-year-old Mister’s (Skylan Brooks) hard-living mother (Jennifer Hudson) is apprehended by the police, leaving the boy and nine-year-old Pete (Ethan Dizon) alone to forage for food while dodging child protective services and the destructive scenarios of the Brooklyn projects. Faced with more than any child can be expected to bear, the resourceful Mister nevertheless feels he is an unstoppable force against seemingly unmovable obstacles. But what really keeps the pair in the survival game is much more Mister’s vulnerability than his larger-than-life attitude.

Columbia College Chicago graduate George Tillman, Jr. became inspired to make films on his own after seeing Cooley High and Taxi Driver. In 1994, Tillman wrote and directed his first feature film, Scenes for the Soul. Shot entirely in Chicago using local talent and resources, the film caught the attention of Doug McHenry and George Jackson who acquired it for Savoy Pictures for $1M. Following on the momentum of this success, Tillman began to write a script, loosely based on his own life - Soul FoodSoul Food’s cast included Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Irma P. Hall, and Brandon Hammond. Modestly budgeted at $7M, Soul Food opened to critical and financial success, grossing over $43M domestically. George's next directorial effort was Men of Honor, an epic story inspired by the life of Carl Brashear, a man who battled the obstacles of racism, a lack of education, and the loss of his leg to become the United States Navy's first African-American Master deep sea diver. The film grossed $85M worldwide.

With partner Bob Teitel, Tillman co-produced the MGM film, Barbershop. Starring Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve and Cedric the Entertainer, Barbershop opened to record-breaking box office success, spawning the sequel Barbershop 2: Back in Business and Beauty Shop starring Queen Latifah. Tillman returned to the director’s chair with Notorious, about the life and death story of the Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace), which was released by Fox Searchlight and grossed over $43M worldwide. Most recently, Tillman directed Faster, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Tillman resides with his family in Los Angeles.

An Academy Award®-winning actress, Grammy Award®-winning recording artist and best-selling author, Jennifer Hudson most recently finished production on Black Nativity, where she stars alongside Forrest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige. The film, directed by Kasi Lemmons, is based on Langston Hughes’ gospel musical re-telling of the Bible's nativity story and will be released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in November 2013. This fall will also see Hudson starring alongside Terrence Howard in Darrell Roodt’s Winnie Mandela, in which she plays the titular role of activist, politician and ex-wife to South African President and revolutionary Nelson Mandela. The film will be released by Image this September. In 2007, Hudson won an Academy Award® for her role as “Effie” in the smash hit Dreamgirls. Her breakout film performance also garnered a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and an NAACP Image Award.

Hudson has made the same kind of impact in the world of music that she has made in film with the successful release of both of her Arista Records albums. Her sophomore album, I Remember Me, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 and R&B Albums charts and has since been certified RIAA Gold in the U.S. She went on to receive a 2012 Billboard Music Award nomination for Top R&B Album as well as taking home two 2012 NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Music Video and Outstanding Album. Hudson’s 2008 debut self-titled album won a Grammy® Award for “Best R & B Album,” which was presented by one of Hudson’s idols, Whitney Houston. The album then went on to win three awards at the 2009 NAACP Image Awards including “Best Album.”

Visit www.MisterandPeteMovie.com for film information & updates. Follow the social conversation at #MisterAndPete

About Black Perspectives

The Chicago International Film Festival’s Black Perspectives program was founded in 1997 in collaboration with legendary filmmaker Spike Lee. The program was created to showcase the talent of black filmmakers and to present films that break down barriers and shatter stereotypes. Past editions of the program have featured films by American luminaries such as Maya Angelou and Laurence Fishburne as well as the most recent works of African masters Djibril Diop Mambéty and Ousmane Sembene. The screenings are complemented by panel discussions and special screenings through our Education Outreach program. In addition to showcasing films that celebrate the depth and diversity of black cultures around the world, Black Perspectives has paid tribute to emerging and established film artists. The Black Perspectives Program is sponsored by State Farm and AARP.

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 www.chicagofilmfestival.com/

Individual tickets will be available to Cinema/Chicago members September 18-20. General public tickets will be on sale starting September 21.

Festival screenings will be held at the AMC River East 21 Theater (322 E. Illinois St.). The full schedule will be announced on September 17.

Festival Sponsors

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 105.9, 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, Creative Technology.

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About Codeblack Films

Codeblack Films, a division of leading global entertainment company LIONSGATE®, is a vertically integrated film production and distribution company focused on providing independent studios, filmmakers, globally-recognized celebrities, intellectual property rights holders and brands cross platform monetization solutions. Entertainment industry veteran Jeff Clanagan founded Codeblack Films in 2012.  Codeblack Films’ core objective is to super serve the global Black community with quality programming and help its content and brand partners access the enormous spending power of the rapidly growing African-American consumer market. Codeblack Films' understanding of the social context of this fast evolving market -- values, attitudes, behavior and current and emerging trends -- provides the Company with a unique ability to position its content and brand partners in the center of influence.

Through parent company Lionsgate, Codeblack Films’ operational capabilities include motion picture production and distribution, strategic acquisitions, television programming and syndication, home entertainment distribution, digital distribution, new channel platform monetization and international distribution and sales.

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.