Two local films in May 5-9 Architectural & Design Festival

Scene from a portrait of famous graphic designer Milton Glaser

The Architecture and Design Film Festival comes to Chicago May 5-9 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. “With Chicago’s rich architectural history, we couldn’t think of a more fitting host city,” said festival co-founder and director Kyle Bergman, who heads his own Vermont-based design/building firm.

Chicago is only the second stop on ADFF’s itinerary that began in October in New York and the first one of its kind in the U.S.

ADFF will screen 39 films from 11 countries.  Because running times vary from two to 93 minutes, shorter films are grouped together into 15 “programs.”  One ticket gains a festival-goer admittance to a program that contains up to four films.

Two of the entries represent Chicago’s place in the architectural firmament.  Studio Gang Architects: Aqua Tower, about Chicago’82 story tower overlooking Millennium Park, and Starlight focus on the work of Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang Architects, considered at the forefront of “Chicago School” of architecture for the 21st century.  Their designs include Columbia College’s Media Production Center and the Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond.

A review of some of the offerings suggests the festival won’t be nearly as academic as its moniker might lead some to believe.

Antwerp Central is an exploration of the Antwerp Central Railway Station in Belgium. Malls R Us leaves no stone unturned while dissecting the collective psychology of the enclosed shopping mall. Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight is a portrait of the famous graphic designer and co-founder of New York Magazine.

Among other subjects, Eye Over Prague examines the affect that political wrangling can have on an architect’s dream. Dumpster Pools describes a project to convert large trash bins into functional swimming pools.

ADFF events include a tour in the all-new Audi A7

 In addition, several ADFF-related events start with a May 3 cocktail reception at Wright, the auction house specializing in modern and contemporary design, 1440 W. Hubbard, 6-8 p.m.

A staged reading of June Finfer’s play, The Glass House, produced by Kyle German and his brother, Evan Bergman, who directed, takes place May 7 at 1 p.m. at the Siskel Center.

The backdrop for this drama is about Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, between 1945-55 when both were building their glass houses.

Audi America (a festival sponsor) will host several 20-minute architectural tours of Chicago, May 7-8, in Audi’s 2012 A7, a new five door design.

Woven throughout the four days will be panel discussions with architects and filmmakers present.

Some screenings are being held at the Wit Hotel.

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