Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gene Siskel Film Center Announces March Offerings and Annual European Union Film Festival


“See Europe by Film” With the 16th Annual European Union Film Festival in Conjunction With the Festival of New Spanish Cinema
CHICAGO – Gene Siskel Film Center’s March line-up includes an extensive and diverse roster of new European films through two festivals, three exciting encore engagements and two ongoing series, including more than 60 Chicago premieres and a host of special guest appearances. The Film Center’s 16th Annual European Union Film Festival, the only film festival in North America dedicated to new films from the nations of the EU, runs March 1 – 28. This year's festival presents 61 films, all Chicago premieres, from 26 of the 27 EU nations. In conjunction with the EU Film Festival, the Festival of Spanish Cinema, Pragda’s annual sampling of recent Spanish films, will be presented March 6 – April 3.

March’s short runs will include encore engagements of 2012’s Academy Award-nominated biopic “Hitchcock,” a revival of Hitchcock’s own 1960 masterpiece “Psycho,” and the return of “The Iran Job,” Till Schauder’s documentary account of African American basketball player Kevin Sheppard’s adventures in Iran.

The ongoing Thursday series “Conversations at the Edge” continues with personal appearances by Phil Morton archivist Jon Cates, Toronto Film Festival curator Andréa Picard, “L.A. Rebellion” curator Jacqueline Stewart, and filmmaker Hannes Schüpbach. The Film Center will also continue to offer Professor Mary Patten’s takes on experimental films from 1955 to 1975 through the series “Revolution in the Air: The Long Sixtiesevery Tuesday evening. For more information please visit

The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival

From March 1 – 28, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival, the largest showcase in North America for the cinema of the European Union nations. This year’s festival presents the Chicago premieres of 61 new feature films, providing a broad picture of the creativity of Europe’s most adventurous filmmakers.

The festival screens the latest films by a host of major directors including Alain Resnais (“You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”), Margarethe von Trotta (“Hannah Arendt”), Marco Bellocchio (“Dormant Beauty”), István Szabó (“The Door”), Ken Loach (“The Angels’ Share”), Sally Potter (“Ginger & Rosa”), Ulrich Seidl (“Paradise: Faith and Paradise: Hope”), Sergei Loznitsa (“In the Fog”) and Jan Hrebejk (“4Some”).

This year’s festival selections include an unprecedented number of films directed or co-directed by women, ranging from newcomers including Kristina Nikolova (“Faith, Love and Whiskey,” Bulgaria) and Alexa Karolinski (“Oma & Bella,” Germany) to established world-class artists like von Trotta and Potter.

The festival’s opening night, as is tradition, will be presided over by the nation currently holding the presidency of the European Union. On Friday, March 1, Honorable Aidan Cronin, Consul General of Ireland, Chicago, will host the opening of Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s “Stella Days” starring Martin Sheen in a critically acclaimed performance as an embattled Catholic priest who tries to introduce the movies to his conservative rural flock.

German actress Barbara Sukowa, renowned for her work with von Trotta, Fassbinder, and von Trier, appears in person on Friday, March 8, to discuss her tour-de-force starring role in “Hannah Arendt.” Chicago director, writer, and radio personality Mike Houlihan appears in person on Wednesday, March 13, with his personal documentary “Our Irish Cousins” and Director Robert Mullan appears at screenings of his Lithuanian historical drama “Letters to Sofija.”

The festival closes on Thursday, March 28, with Ken Loach’s greatly anticipated “The Angels’ Share,” the Scottish-themed, whisky-loving comedy that brought down the house at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, to be followed by a reception hosted by Whole Foods Market, including a scotch tasting with Johnnie Walker and The Classic single Malts hosted by Master of Whisky Kyle McHugh. Visit
 for updates on appearances and additional special events.

The Festival of New Spanish Cinema

In a special collaboration with Pragda, the Gene Siskel Film Center is integrating Pragda’s Festival of New Spanish Cinema with this year’s European Union Film Festival. In its fifth consecutive year, the Festival of New Spanish Cinema is the most important itinerant festival of contemporary Spanish Cinema in North America. Once again, the festival will screen six of the riskiest and most innovative Spanish films of the year, four of which are Chicago premieres.

The festival opens on March 6 with Paco León’s “Carmina or Blow Up,” the popular phenomenon that has been winning over audiences since its release. Other films selected include David Trueba’s “Madrid,” 1987, a sensual and intelligent encounter between two very different generations; Gabriel Velázquez’s “Iceberg,” an insightful study of adolescence; “Wilaya,” a window into the lives of a Sahrawi family living in a Saharan refugee camp, directed by Pedro Pérez Rosado; “The Double Steps,” Isaki Lacuesta’s gorgeously shot award-winning film; and “Sleep Tight,” the latest chiller by mastermind of suspense Jaume Balagueró.


Hitchcock” (March 29 – April 4): The imagined secret life of Alfred Hitchcock, a man who notoriously kept his private life private, has been irresistible catnip to filmmakers lately. Loosely based on Stephen Rebello’s book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho,’” “Hitchcock” delves into a juicy behind-the-scenes look at the great director’s (Anthony Hopkins) marriage to his formidably savvy but long-suffering wife Alma (Helen Mirren) as the production of “Psycho” veers from near-disaster to triumph with her help. Hitchcock fans will love the film, whether fact or fiction, especially Scarlett Johansson’s characterization of Janet Leigh.

Encore Presentation! More than fifty years old and still revolutionary, “Psycho” (March 29 –April 4) has become an American icon, impossible to describe without giving away too much. The film's plot and central imagery have become a part of modern folklore, instantly evoked by the mention of the shower sequence or the Bates Motel. Made at the height of Hitchcock's most productive Hollywood period, “Psycho,” with its story of guilt, obsession, and mother love gone awry, is one of the most masterful and suspenseful manipulations of audience point of view ever put on film.

Back by Popular Demand! “The Iran Job” (March 29 – April 4): Striking out in his bid to play for the NBA, lanky, charismatic basketball player Kevin Sheppard ends up on the international circuit, playing for the Iranian Basketball Super League for a brand new underdog team in the ancient city of Shiraz. As the only African American most of his new friends and teammates have ever seen in the flesh, he encounters some double takes. The culture shock cuts both ways, and Sheppard’s friendship with three outspoken but properly veiled young women, who defy the law to befriend him, becomes the definitive experience of his new life.


“Conversations at the Edge” is a dynamic weekly series of screenings, artist talks, and performances by some of the most compelling media artists of yesterday and today:

Artists in Person! “Remix-It-Right: Rediscoveries in the Phil Morton Archive” (March 7): Chicago video pioneer Phil Morton (1945 – 2003) anticipated remix in his genre-defying individual and collaborative projects that share characteristics with what we now call “New Media.” Radically open, committed to process, collaborative, contentious, and charismatic, Morton embodied what he dubbed “copy-it-right:” an alternative to copyright, this ethic encourages making, sharing, remixing and distributing media art, its systems and technologies. To illuminate Morton’s continued influence and inspiration, Jon Cates, founder of the Phil Morton Memorial Archive, asked an international roster of contemporary video and new media artists to remix, rework, and re-imagine Morton’s original tapes.  This program interweaves Morton’s work with his remixes, resulting in a generous mash-up of past, present, proto-digital, and cyber psychedelic. Jon Cates and various artists will be present for audience discussion.

Curator Andréa Picard in Person! “Wavelengths: in the blink of an eye” (March 21):
Named for, but also infinitely inspired by Michael Snow’s 1967 masterpiece Wavelength, the Toronto International Film Festival’s avant-garde program presents films and videos that defy convention, suggest alternate ways of thinking, and sometimes re-emerge from a distant past in order to comment on the present. Curated by Andréa Picard, who has curated “Wavelengths” since 2006, this program is a compendium featuring a number of works from the 2012 line-up (including Nathaniel Dorsky’s “August and After,” Ernie Gehr’s “Auto-Collider XV” and Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan’s “View from the Acropolis,” which were all cited in The New York Times’ best films of the year wrap-up and screen as Chicago premieres) and highlights from previous editions, including a 35mm restored print from La Cinémathèque Française of Henri Storck’s too-rarely seen 1929 Surrealist gem, “Pour Vos Beaux Yeux” (“For Your Beautiful Eyes”). Blinking is not encouraged! Andréa Picard will be present for audience discussion.

Co-Curator Jacqueline Stewart in Person! “L.A. Rebellion” (March 28): In the 1970s and 80s, a group of young African and African American filmmakers emerged from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television with a body of provocative and visionary works that would have a radical impact on black cinematic practice and alternative filmmaking in the U.S. Now referred to as the L.A. Rebellion, these artists took up urgent social and cultural dynamics of their time, including black activism and militancy, everyday life, and spirituality to forge a cinema responsive to the lives and concerns of African American communities and the African diaspora. Introduced by co-curator Jacqueline Stewart, the program kicks off a multi-institutional series of screenings in Chicago, exploring the L.A. Rebellion and featuring short films by Julie Dash, O.Funmilayo Makarah, Elyseo J. Taylor, including stunning new preservation prints of Ben Caldwell’s “I & I: An African Allegory” (1979) and Barbara McCullough’s seminal “Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification” (1979). Jacqueline Stewart will be present for audience discussion.

Hannes Schüpbach in Person! “Spin/Verso/Contour: An Evening with Hannes Schüpbach” (April 4): The films of renowned Swiss artist Hannes Schüpbach are lyrical, often transcendent portraits of people, spaces, and everyday life. A painter, performance artist, and expert on textile art, Schüpbach weaves together light, gesture, and a keen attentiveness to the material world into meticulously structured compositions.  His films, notes curator Haden Guest, open onto “a multi-layered world, where superimpositions and reflections suggest the hidden depths of the places and people evoked within them.”  For this program, he presents “Spin/Verso/Contour” (2001-2011), an affecting trilogy about his parents, and “L’Atelier” (2008), a portrait of an artist’s studio in Paris. Hannes Schüpbach will be present for audience discussion.
for more information.

From January 25 – May 7, GSFC is offering a series of fourteen programs entitled “Revolution in the Air: The Long Sixties,” with weekly Tuesday lectures and discussions by visual artist, video-maker, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago professor Mary Patten:

The Arab Spring, the “movements of the squares” and Occupy have rekindled interest in other revolutions from the near and distant past, as well as their manifestations in film form. This series will bring together key films and experimental videos that emerged from the revolutionary moment of the “long 1960s” (1955-1975). The GSFC’s series will look at explicitly political films such as Gillo Pontecorvo’s “Battle of Algiers” and Chris Marker’s “A grin Without a Cat” (February 22 – March 6), where cameras were on the ground, recording or re-enacting the great upheavals of that era. The series will also include films that directed their gaze toward the ephemeral moments of how people lived--spheres of intimacy that reflected and anticipated bigger cultural shifts. Finally, the GSFC will screen a few “speculative fictions” of the period including Robert Kramer’s “Ice” (March 26) and Lizzie Borden’s “Born in Flames” (May 3-7). For a complete schedule and more information, visit
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All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St.
Tickets to each screening – unless stated otherwise – are $11/general admission, $7/students, and $6/Film Center members. All tickets may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are available through Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787,
, and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Film Center and its box office are open 5:00 to 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday; 2:00 to 8:30 pm Saturday; and 2:00 to 5:30 pm Sunday.

Please note the following:

Hitchcock Double-Bill Discount:
Buy a ticket at our regular prices to either “Hitchcock” or “Psycho” and get a ticket to any performance of the other film at this discount rate (tickets must be purchased at the same time): General Admission $7; Students $6; Members $4.  (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount rate available only at the Film Center box office.)
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A Film Center membership is a year-round ticket to great movies for only $6 per screening! Memberships are $50 (Individual) and $80 (Dual). For more information, call 312-846-2600 or visit

Discounted parking is available for $14 for nine hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office.

For more information about the Film Center, call 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9:00 am-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), or visit

About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of The Art Institute

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates 40 years of presenting cutting edge programs, independent and international cinema, premieres, retrospectives, and classic films. Internationally recognized for its original film programming, the Film Center is a vibrant cultural destination in Chicago that attracts a diverse and creative annual audience of over 89,000.

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit
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