Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Chicago International Film Festival Announces Opening Night, Other Highlights (Chicago, IL.)



World Premieres, Chicago Stories, and the 25th Anniversary of Black Perspectives

 The Chicago International Film Festival today announced the Opening Night film, its Opening Night at the Drive-In presentation, and other highlights of the 57th edition, running October 13 - 24, 2021. This year, the Festival expands to venues across Chicago, including AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; and the Gene Siskel Film Center; and presents exclusive drive-in screenings at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen; with special neighborhood pop-up screening events to be announced in the coming weeks. Virtual screenings, presented via the Festival’s streaming platform, are accessible across Illinois as well as to viewers in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

This year’s Opening Night film will be Wes Anderson’s widely embraced and critically-acclaimed Cannes premiere THE FRENCH DISPATCH, a love letter to journalists with an all-star cast, including Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Elisabeth Moss.

Meanwhile at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen, audiences will rock out to THE VELVET UNDERGROUND at a special Opening Night at the Drive-In presentation, presented by Goldman Sachs and featuring a virtual Q&A with director Todd Haynes. Other exclusive Drive-in presentations throughout the Festival include Michael Pearce’s thriller ENCOUNTER, starring Oscar-nominated actors Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer, and THE HARDER THEY FALL, an action-packed revenge Western from Jeymes Samuel and starring Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, with Regina King and Idris Elba

All politics are local as the Chicago International Film Festival hosts the World Premieres of two documentary features about history-making mayors. In MAYOR PETE, director Jesse Moss gives an inside look at Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, while Joe Winston’s PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON tells the story of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Both Moss and Winston will be in attendance.  

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Black Perspectives program, which showcases the excellence and diversity of films by African Americans and the African diaspora from around the world. Along with THE HARDER THEY FALL and PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON, the program features CITIZEN ASHE, a profile of groundbreaking tennis star and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe from co-directors Sam Pollard and Rex Miller; and a Special Presentation of PASSING, the story of two high school friends whose reunion threatens their carefully constructed realities, for which actor-turned-director Rebecca Hall is receiving the Festival’s Artistic Achievement Award.

The full program and screening schedule for the 57th Chicago International Film Festival will be announced on September 20, 2021. Early Bird pricing on Festival Passes are on sale now, with individual tickets going on sale September 21 for Cinema/Chicago members and September 24 to the general public. Passes can be purchased at

For more information, visit the Festival’s website at


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Festival Information
Celebrating its 57th edition October 13 - 24, 2021, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America's longest-running competitive international film festival. Showcasing the best in international and independent films from around the world, the 57th edition will be held in person and virtually. From dramas and thrillers to documentaries and comedies, the Festival presents a vast diversity of offerings, featuring competitive categories and programs including the 25th anniversary of Black Perspectives; Cinemas of the Americas; International Comedy; Women in Cinema; Out-Look; After Dark; and the City & State program, showcasing films made in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

Health and Safety Protocols
Proof of Full vaccination or negative Covid-19 PCR test result is required to attend the Chicago International Film Festival. Full vaccination means you have received a second dose of an authorized two-dose vaccine, or a single-dose vaccine, approved for full or emergency use from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO), at least 14 days prior to the date of the event. As an alternative to proof of vaccination, you may gain entry by presenting a negative PCR COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the event. Vaccination policies and testing protocols will also extend to Festival staff, volunteers, and filmmakers. Masks will be required for all staff, volunteers, filmmakers, and audience members in Festival theaters, regardless of vaccination status. Masks must remain on and cover the nose and mouth at all times, and may be temporarily removed when actively eating or drinking.

Refer to the Festival’s health protocols
webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Festival Sponsors and Partners
The 57th Chicago International Film Festival's sponsors include Major Festival Sponsors: Goldman Sachs, Xfinity; Festival Sponsors: Baker Tilly, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, ComEd, Dark Matter Coffee, Goose Island, Hamilton Watch, Heineken 0.0, Panavision, Light Iron, SAGindie, The Seeker, William Blair; Official Agency: Ogilvy; Official Publicity Agency: Acacia Consulting Group; Festival Supporters: Chicago Film Office, Camera Ambassador, Consulate General of Canada; Canada Now, and HI Chicago; Media Partners: CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM, WBBM, WTTW, Make It Better Media Group. This program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. With additional support from John and Jacolyn Bucksbaum Family Foundation and Susan B. Noyes. 

About Cinema/Chicago
Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, enriches the community through year-round programming devoted to international and independent cinema. We strengthen communication and inspire empathy among people of diverse cultures through artistic, educational, and creative development programs that promote discovery and discussion and inspire new visions of our shared future. Cinema/Chicago's programs include the Chicago International Film Festival, Summer Screenings Program, CineYouth Festival, and year-round Education Program. For more information, please visit www.chicagofilmfestival.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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