Tag Archives: chicago international film festival

Because Everybody Loves Movies

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We street teamed on Sunday. We’re previewing tonight. The Junior Board is ready.

It’s nearly time for the 49th Chicago International Film Festival!

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Some of the board, though everyone was there in spirit (see banner in the background)

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Summer Reading List

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Two years ago during the Film Festival, we screened The Descendants and had a Q&A with the lead opposite George Clooney, Shailene Woodley. I remember sitting there thinking how well-spoken, down to earth and real she was while holding a mic and speaking to a room full of strangers. She had a command and presence that just pulled you in.

Fast forward to today, and she is blowing up. With the lead in the Divergent series (which by the by, is a FANTASTIC series and highly recommended if you enjoy/ed Hunger Games) and The Fault in Our Stars (just picked up the book, plan on reading it during this weekend’s Colorado trip), she’s in this spectacular trailer, The Spectacular Now. It’s also based off a book.

There’s your Summer reading list courtesy of Shailene Woodley’s movie career.

Oh and naturally, I’m all about the song in this trailer– “Feel Again” by OneRepublic

Return to the Screen

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Keeping with tradition, it’s time to begin the great screening and writing nights and days for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival. Last year proved difficult at times, mainly because after a day of working, I had a night of watching and writing, but overall was greatly rewarding. Aside from seeing films in advanced, your write-ups are what people use to make their movie watching decisions. Plus last year, a few of the directors offered their gratitude for spot-on summaries. It’s a great networking tool to say the least.

I’ve screened three thus far and have yet to be disappointed. A lot of previous festival winners (Cannes, Sundance), which I think patrons of Chicago will greatly enjoy. So very confident the fest this year will be just as fantastic as last year. Schedules will hit stands later in September with the Festival running from October 11-25.

 

Reely Excited

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Every year, the Junior Board for Cinema|Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival puts on a spring fundraiser. The night raises funds for the outreach education program, which gives Chicago Public School students the chance to see an independent/international film and meet with cast from the film. Last year we did the Film Noir event and this year, we’re raising the stakes.

We’re holding “The Reely Teeny Weeny Film Festival Spectacular” and asking anyone in the Chicago area to submit a 60-second film that either recreates a favorite scene or sums up the whole movie in the 60 seconds. Our Junior Board will select 15 films to screen and show at the event, allowing partygoers to vote on the winning entry. The event will take place atop the Dana Hotel at Vertigo Sky Lounge (so fingers crossed for unseasonably warm April weather).

The winning entry will be shown during the Junior Board Night at the 48th Chicago International Film Festival this October. Pique your interest? Know of someone who would be perfect for the event? Head here for more information.

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for April.

Screening Gifts

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Every year, the Chicago International Film Festival holds a secret screening night. They tease the film with all sorts of possibilities and keep under tight wraps what the film will be. You simply walk into the theater, take a seat and await fate. It’s seriously the closest thing to Christmas presents as a kid. I sit there anxious, my brain starts racing as title cards flip and my feet dance around as the waiting game begins. Needless to say, it’s my favorite event of the whole Fest.

This year’s proved to be a stellar pick from director J.C. Chandor, Margin Call. While the financial sector has never been a field of particular interest, this movie sucked me in. I’ll blame the stellar cast from Jeremy Irons to Paul Bettany to Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto. The movie felt all too real as it depicts the downfall of a financial agency and the eventual collapse of the economy. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for financial dudes who slave away staring at screens and doing things with numbers I never could understand.

 

 

Then, by some grace of God, Chicago unearthed ANOTHER secret screening, this time at famed Music Box. While the feature leaked along with talent who would appear, I was completely shocked by the OTHER talent that walked out the curtain. Patton Oswalt took the stage to introduce….Jason Reitman. Reitman came out and then introduced Chicago-gal…Diablo Cody. And the three musketeers talked briefly before screening Young Adult.

Young Adult was a fantastic exposé of Mavis (played by Charlize Theron) on her quest to bring meaning to her life as her book series wraps with her final book. Naturally, she returns to her small hometown to find this solace, but instead, just finds her life is truly a wreck. Diablo Cody put it perfectly during the Q&A: “I wanted to show you that sometimes, assholes don’t change. In too many films you find the asshole becomes good. But as we all know, that isn’t the case.” The film is raw, the shots are amazing and it’s chocked full of awkward moments and delusional dreams.

 

 

I’m a sucker for secret films. I love the feeling you get while sitting there waiting for the film to happen. And the fact you’re walking in without knowing what awaits. It’s a thrill that just does not exist anymore in a world of instant, on demand and leaks on the world wide web. It’s the little things in life. And I’m so glad Chicago delivered two this week. If you find out your city holds a secret screening, immediately go. Even if the film’s bad (like last year’s Three Days at the Fest), that opening sequence of feelings is something everyone needs to experience.

Patton Oswalt, Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman during "Young Adult" Q&A at Music Box theatre

Silence is Golden

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Exciting news! I’ve been selected to contribute write-ups for The 47th Chicago International Film Festival! I’ll be watching films billed for the festival and writing synopses and summaries for the schedule (what the public reads to determine what film they’ll see) and for the program guidebook (a 200-page book with a deeper summary of the films).

While this is quite exciting, it’s extremely daunting to take on while working full-time, seeing as you have to watch the films. And I’m going to have to take a break from the blogging world to devote to the films. Which is proving difficult seeing as I want to shout from the rooftops about the latest film I just wrote up and how much I loved it and the music and the actors and the script. Sigh.

Epic posts towards the end of September with my preview guide. Until then, my silence is golden. I’ll occasionally post about life and what not, but just a heads up for you loyal readers, it’ll be a quiet end to summer and beginning to fall.