Chicago International Film Festival Preview - Fifty Years and the Promise of More Great Films

At 50, the Chicago International Film Festival is due celebrations befitting that coveted Golden year. I was delighted to be a part if the first of the celebrations - a cocktail party.  Having brought Chicagoland viewers thousands of groundbreaking, highly acclaimed and thought-provoking films from around the globe since 1964,  its tradition continues. This year, as in the past, Chicago will have the unique opportunity to see world-class cinema, from new discoveries to international prizewinners, and hear directly from the talented people who’ve created them. Michael Kutza, Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago International Film Festival was one of the speakers at the kick-off event for the festival on September 22nd, 2014, which took place at Chicago’s newest boutique hotel, The Godfrey Hotel.

 

The Godfrey is spectacular in its design and the 4th floor roof garden is set so that there is a fantastic view of Chicago’s skyline.  On a gorgeous late summer evening guests mingled enjoying drinks and nibbles, and exploring the brochure with the list of films to be shown during the festival. I found myself seated near two charming women and asked what their role was.  One is an executive at WBEZ and the other is her friend. Both are film enthusiasts, but then, everyone was.

 

The Chicago International Film Festival has been held every fall since 1964 and is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America.

 

From the Chicago International Film Festival’s website, you can learn:

 

"The Chicago International Film Festival was started in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza to provide an alternative to the commercial Hollywood movies that dominated the city’s theaters. The Festival is dedicated to fostering better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. Seeking out the best in international cinema, the Festival has opened windows to a world of film previously or otherwise unavailable in Chicago.  In addition, at more than half of the screenings each year, filmgoers have the rare and exciting chance to meet directors, producers, writers and cast members who introduce their films and hold discussion sessions after the screenings.

 

The Festival has a rich history of discovering hundreds of ground-breaking directors including Martin Scorsese, John Carpenter, Taylor Hackford, Susan Seidelman, Victor Nunez; Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder; Bertrand Tavernier; Peter Weir; Dariush Mehrjui; Mike Leigh, Alan Parker, Michael Apted, Peter Greenaway; Vincent Ward; Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Zanussi; Dusan Makavejev; Victor Erice; Jan Troell; and Maria Louisa Bemberg."

 

After a while, the gathering was asked to focus on remarks from those in charge of the event this evening, and those who put the film festival together.

“50 Years!

Since 1965, brought you thousands of groundbreaking, highly acclaimed and thought-provoking films from around the globe.

In 2014, our mission remains the same: to bring Chicago the unique opportunity to see world-class cinema, from new discoveries to international prizewinners, and hear directly from the talented people who’ve brought them to us. This year is no different, with filmmakers from Scandinavia to Mexico and Hollywood to our backyard, joining us for what is Chicago’s most thrilling movie event of the year. To all of our guests, past, present and future—we thank you for continued support, excitement, and most importantly, your love for movies!

Happy Anniversary to us!”

Michael Kutza, Founder and Artistic Director

 

Following the remarks, a collage of clips from the films to be shown in the festival was shown to the attendees.  This promises to be a great year.  The festival takes place October 9-23, 2014, presented by Cinema/Chicago. Plan your visit now.

 

Information about the 50th anniversary showings and events can be found on the

Chicago International Film Festival website

 

Information about the Godfrey Hotel can be found on the Godfrey Hotel Website 

 

Photos by Timothy M Schmidt unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

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