56th Chicago International Film Festival announces juries

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Mimi Plauché, artistic director of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival, today announced the jury members for its competitions, featuring a host of acclaimed filmmakers and film professionals from across the globe.

Juries will review films competing for prizes in the following competitions: International Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look; City & State; and Short Film Competitions.

International Competition Jury

The International Competition Jury will award the Gold Hugo for Best Film as well as a range of Silver Hugos and Plaques for awards, including Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay. The jury includes: Violeta Bava, Latin American Consultant for the Venice International Film Festival, Co-Head of Industry at Visions du Réel, Head of Studies at the Torino FilmLab FeatureLab, International Guest Curator at the New Zealand International Film Festival, programmer at the Macao International Film Festival, and Program Advisor of New York Film Festival; screenwriter and director Chinonye Chukwu, whose debut feature, alaskaLand, premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival and whose 2019 feature Clemency won the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize; production designer Adam Stockhausen, who earned an Academy Award for his work on Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and nominations for Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies; award-winning Rwandan actress Eliane Umuhire, whose international breakthrough role in Birds Are Singing in Kigali won her Best Actress Awards at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Polish Film Festival, and others; and Dutch-born/Luxembourg-based Boyd Van Hoeij, film writer for The Hollywood Reporter, contributor to De Filmkrant (The Netherlands), and artistic advisor of the Luxembourg City Film Festival.


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New Directors Competition Jury

The New Directors Competition Jury includes Professor and legal specialist Fernando E. Juan Lima, host of weekly film radio program La Autopista del Sur and film critic who has written for El Amante CineOtros CinesDiario BAECaimán, and Escribiendo Cine; filmmaker Yannis Sakaridis, director of 2013’s Wild Duck and screenwriter/producer/director of Amerika Square, the official selection for Greece for the 2018 Academy Awards; Lebanon-based Myriam Sassine, COO of Schortcut Films, co-producer of international features Félicité by Alain Gomis (Silver Bear winner at the 2017 Berlinale) and It Must be Heaven by Elia Suleiman, and co-founder and director of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival, the first fantastic film festival in the Middle East; festival and market manager and programmer Mira Staleva, Managing Director of Sofia IFF/Art Fest Ltd. and programmer and head of Sofia Meetings; and filmmaker, documentarian, professor, and leader in higher education Thelma Vickroy, Chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago whose documentary, Ahmed, Say Something Funny won Best Documentary and Best Comedy feature at the Action on Film Festival.

International Documentary Competition Jury

The International Documentary Competition Jury includes: filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain, co-founder of The Film Posse, whose documentary Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart earned a Peabody Award and an NAACP Image Award for Motion Picture Directing; Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at the Block Museum at Northwestern University; and filmmaker Eva Mulvad, director of Enemies of Happiness (2006), winner of top prizes at the Sundance and Amsterdam International Documentary Festival, The Good Life (2010), awarded Best Documentary Film at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and Love Child (2019), winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Documentary at the Chicago international Film Festival and special mention at DOC NYC.

Out-Look Jury

The Out-Look Jury includes; Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio, whose first feature film, Retablo won Best First Film and Jury Special Mention for Best Film at the Berlinale before becoming Peru’s official entry for the 2020 Academy Awards;moving-image artist and writer Chase Joynt, whose short film, Framing Agnes, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and won the Audience Award at Outfest and the Juror Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and who co-directed the feature-length documentary No Ordinary Man, which premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival; filmmaker, speaker and science-fiction writer Wanuri Kahiu, included in TIME magazine’s first-ever 100 Next list of the most influential people in the world in 2019, who directed, Rafiki, the first Kenyan film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival and has since won multiple international awards; and Vietnam-born filmmaker Ash Mayfair, whose first feature The Third Wife, won the NETPAC Jury Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018 and has since won more than 20 awards worldwide, including the Gold Hugo in the New Directors Competition at the Chicago International Film Festival. 

City & State Jury

The City & State Jury, which chooses the best project made in Chicago, Illinois or by a local filmmaker, includes Algerian-American journalist and Chicago-based filmmaker Assia Boundaoui, whose feature-length debut film, The Feeling of Being Watched, about FBI surveillance in Boundaoui’s Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival; actor, improviser, and filmmaker Edmund Flynn, who directed and acted in the 2019 short film Tour Manager, which won the Chicago Award at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival; and writer-director Minhal Baig, whose feature-length film, Hala, about a Muslim teenager coping with the unraveling of her family, premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

The Shorts Competition is divided into Narrative, Documentary and Animation competitions. The Narrative Shorts Jury includes Faren Humes and Nicolás Suarez. Serving on the Animated Shorts Jury are Eszter JankaChris Sullivan, and Tiago Minamisawa. The Documentary Shorts Jury comprises Paloma MartinezMilad Hosseini-Mozari, and Sandra ignagni.

The complete list of jury members can be found HERE.


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