Three Chicago-made films win four top CIFF awards

Three Chicago-made features – a narrative and two documentaries – won top prizes in the 51st Chicago International Film Festival and two of the winners will screen among the fest’s 10 top films, Wednesday Oct. 28 at the AMC River East 21 theatres.

They screened among 140 selections from more than 50 countries during the festival’s two week run, and were among 30 winning films.

Two awards went to writer/director Stephen Cone’s coming-of-age “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party:” Best of the Fest in the City & State program and a Silver Q Hugo from the fest’s OUT-Look program.

"Best of Fest" double winner Stephen Cone

Cone’s fifth feature, called “painstakingly honest,” is a dramady about the son of a pastor, just turning 17, who thinks he might be gay and how he finds a home between devout faith and burgeoning sexuality.

“For Grace,” which the filmmakers began producing in 2011, is about renowned Chef Curtis Duffy as he begins plans for his dream establishment, Grace, and  what it takes to build one of the world’s greatest restaurants, and the complex story of a man forging a new future out of his traumatic past.

The City & State program’s Audience Favorite went to “For Grace,” by filmmakers Kevin Pang the Tribune’s dining reporter, and Mark Helenowski, and the Chicago Award went to “Radical Grace,” the feature doc from Rebecca Parrish of Interchange Productions.

 “Radical Grace” chronicles the individual stories of an extraordinary group of Catholic nuns and their collective movement to stand up for values of equality and justice in the face of a hierarchy deeply resistant to change.

“Henry Gamble” and “For Grace” screen Wednesday at AMC theatres; at 6 p.m. and 8:45, p.m. respectively, at the AMC theatre.

The 51st Chicago International Film Festival ends Thursday night with Oscar contender “Spotlight,” prior to its November release. It’s about the Boston Globe expose of the coverup of the Catholic Archdiocese scandal and stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. At the AMC River East 21 theatre, 7 p.m.