Chicago International Film Festival begins

Chicago is celebrating its role as a global city as local and international filmmakers are showcased at the 48th annual Chicago International Film Festival.

The festival began Thursday and will continue through Oct. 25. Out of the 1,300 feature submissions and 2,100 short submissions, only 120 feature films and 50 shorts that were selected to be shown at the festival. More than 50 countries are represented at the festival.

“Whether by daring debuting filmmakers or celebrated auteurs, as a collection the program presents a brilliant, kaleidoscopic snapshot of the state of world cinema today,” said Mimi Plauché, programming director of the festival.

This year, the festival is featuring a number of films which showcase local talent. The festival opener shown Thursday night was the world premiere of “Stand-Up Guys” both produced and directed by Chicagoans. The festival centerpiece, “Cloud Atlas” is also directed by native Chicagoans. The festival will close with Chicagoan Robert Zameckis’ new film “Flight.”

“This is a remarkable year for Chicagoans in the film industry,” said Michael Kutza, founder and artistic director. “As a native Chicagoan, I am proud to celebrate our local filmmakers’ contributions to the art of the moving image.”

Festival films are shown either as competitors for the “Gold Hugo,” the festival’s top prize, or as part of non-competitive themed series.

These non-competitive series include regional categories like “Spotlight Middle East” and “Cinema of the Americas” and categories that spotlight minority interests in the film world, such as “Black Perspectives,” “Reelwomen” and “OUTrageous,” which focuses on films which highlight LGBT issues.

Film screenings will take place at the AMC River East at 322 N. Illinois. Tickets for most showings are $11 with a student ID and $14 for adults and can be purchased at the theater, online or by calling 312-332- FILM. For more information visit http://





 Monday (10/15) – “Beyond the Hills” (Romania)

8:30 p.m., $11/$14

Romanian with subtitles

This is director Christian Mungiu’s first feature film since his 2007 drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” which won the top award at Cannes in 2007. Based on a true story of a tragically misguided “exorcism” and monastery in rural Romania, the film focuses on religious practice in the Orthodox Church and the lack of opportunity for young Romanian women.

Tuesday (10/16) – “Meeting Leila” (Iran)

8:30 p.m., $11/$14

Farsi with subtitles

Leila Hatami, star of “A Separation” (winner of the 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language film) stars as a woman who wants her fiancé to quit smoking before they get married, but finds him difficult to convince. Part of a wave of Iranian films that are making rounds at big film festivals, this film by Adel Yaraghi is part of the New Directors competition and the Spotlight Middle East series.

Wednesday (10/17) – “Cloud Atlas” (Singapore)

7 p.m., $25


Starring well-known Hollywood actors like Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant, based on the popular 2004 novel of the same name and directed by Chicago natives, “Cloud Atlas” is the festival centerpiece. According to the New York Times the sci-fi adaptation received a 10-minute standing ovation at its premiere Toronto in September.

Thursday (10/18) – “Shorts 2: Animation – Blurring the Lines”

3 p.m., $5


“Bite of the Tail” (USA),”The Conquerors” (Canada/France), “Old Man” (USA), “Edmond Was a Donkey” (Canada/France), “Oh Willy…” (Belgium/France), “Body Memory” (Estonia), “The Pub” (UK) and “Next Door Letters” (Sweden)

Catch a cartoon matinee mix of different styles and storytelling techniques.

Friday (10/19) – “Full Circle” (China)

5p.m., $5

Mandarin with English subtitles

In the only entry in the competition from China, director Zhang Yang offers a feel-good story of a group of nursing home residents who get together to compete on a televised variety show competition à la “America’s Got Talent.” The film has been praised for the performance of its ensemble cast.

Saturday (10/20) – “The Land of Eb” (USA/Marshall Islands)

4:45 p.m., $11/$14

Marshallese with English subtitles

The Marshall Islands are a presidential republic in Micronesia in free association with the United States. This film, part of the festival’s New Directors competition, filmmaker Aaron Williamson sheds light on the life on the islands and reveals the history of the Marshallese peoples through the lens of one family’s struggles.

Sunday (10/21) – “Sister” (Switzerland)

3:30 p.m., $11/$14

French with English subtitles

This film by director Ursula Meier is part of the Reel Women series in the festival. Showing a less recognizable side of Switzerland, a country known for its cheese, chocolate and ski resorts, this film tells the story of a young boy turned petty thief who lives with his older sister in an industrial town near a high class ski resort.