The Windy City is gearing up for a cinematic spectacle as the 59th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) prepares to enchant movie lovers from October 11 to October 22, 2023. This iconic festival, known as North America’s oldest competitive film fest, is set to unite filmmakers, artists, and enthusiasts in celebration of the art of storytelling through film.
A Diverse Array of Films and Programs
With an impressive lineup that includes 99 feature films, 58 shorts, and a plethora of premieres, this year’s festival is nothing short of a cinematic buffet. The program boasts three World Premieres, an International Premiere, 19 North American Premieres, and 19 U.S. Premieres. Films from countries as varied as Ukraine, South Korea, Spain, China, Mexico, and more promise to deliver a truly international cinematic experience.
Opening and Closing Night Highlights
CIFF kicks off with We Grown Now, a touching tribute to Chicago itself, directed by celebrated filmmaker Minhail Baig. This heartfelt story, set in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood of 1992 Chicago, captures the joys and camaraderie of two young boys.
The Closing Night features The Bike Riders a compelling drama directed by Jeff Nichols. This film delves into the turbulent journey of a 1960s Midwestern motorcycle club.
CIFF Centerpiece and Special Presentations
Emerald Fennell, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, takes the stage with Saltburn, a wicked tale of privilege and desire that promises to be a standout presentation. Special offerings also include The Boy and the Heron by Hayao Miyazaki, Wim Wenders’ 3-D documentary Anselm and the highly anticipated The Killer by David Fincher.
International Competition and Emerging Voices
CIFF continues its tradition of honoring both established and emerging talents. Previous award winners return with new films in competition, showcasing their artistic evolution. Emerging voices also receive the spotlight, offering fresh perspectives and exciting new voices in cinema.
Celebrating Local Talent
Chicago’s vibrant local film community takes center stage in the “City & State” program. Films like All Happy Families, Departing Seniors and Food Roots shine a light on the rich talent within Chicago and Illinois.
Short Films: Tiny Gems of Cinema
The festival’s short films program offers a compact yet potent cinematic experience. These short gems cover a wide range of genres and themes, showcasing the artistry and skill of filmmakers in a condensed format.
Exploring Architecture and Black Perspectives
Running parallel to the Chicago Architecture Biennial, CIFF’s architecture program explores the intricate relationship between people and the structures they inhabit. Additionally, the “Black Perspectives” program presents gripping documentary stories, with special guests like Raoul Peck and Roger Ross Williams in attendance.
A Cultural Extravaganza Not to Be Missed
As Chicago prepares to host this cinematic extravaganza, film enthusiasts and artists alike eagerly anticipate the diverse array of films and programs that will grace the city’s venues. The Chicago International Film Festival stands as a testament to the enduring power of cinema to unite, inspire, and provoke thought.
Tickets for Opening Night are already available, with the rest of the festival’s presentations set to go on sale starting September 22, 2023. Cinema/Chicago members enjoy the privilege of accessing pre-sale tickets starting September 19, 2023. Don’t miss this extraordinary celebration that brings the world to Chicago’s doorstep.
Stay with Reel Chicago as we bring you the best and beyond of CIFF.