Commentary: A young filmmaker headed to Chicago’s film festival

While lesser known in the film community, the Chicago International Film Festival still packs a punch in the quality of the films it screens. The festival will take place from Oct. 13-27 on 322 E. Illinois St. in Chicago.

The festival showcases many low budget indie films unlike The Sundance Film Festival or The Toronto International Film Festival. The festival also showcases films in several other categories: world cinema (foreign films), documentaries, after dark specials (horror), and new director spotlights. It is an exciting time for young filmmakers like myself witnessing other young filmmakers break out of the fold.

For a small fortune, I have purchased a ten-ticket movie pass to go view these independent films. This will be my first time attending any kind of film festival, so expectations are high. Some of the headliners of that category are “Pushing Dead” which features James Roday (TV’s Psych) and Danny Glover; “9 Rides” a film that was shot all using an iPhone in 4k; and “Hunter Gatherer” featuring Andre Royo (TV’s The Wire, Empire).

Along with the many small independent films being presented, the festival is providing members and non-members alike the chance to purchase tickets to their special presentation shows. These are the bigger movies that have not come out in theaters yet, and have Oscar potential.

Big names here are Damien Chazelle’s (Whiplash) La La Land. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are leads in a modern love story based in LA. Along with La La Land, Dennis Villeneuve’s (Prisoners, Sicario) Arrival which revolves around an alien spacecraft coming into contact with planet Earth. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner lead that cast in what has been heralded as Villeneuve’s most anticipated film.

A few other Oscar potential films that will be showcased under the special presentation banner is “Moonlight,” ” I, Daniel Blake” and “Lion.”  There will be question-and-answer sessions that follow the films, where audience members can ask the directors or actors questions about the film, the industry, or something personal.

Every year the festival also selects a handful of quality short films. Near the end of the festival, there will be a four-day event called “The Industry Days.” Here local filmmakers, and more prominent ones have a chance to mingle together and bounce ideas off of one another while attending workshops, and seminars.

As this is my first time, I go in not knowing what to expect, but at the same time expecting much in return. This is going to be a great opportunity for me to saturate myself in the industry I love, along with networking with others, and learning as much as I can in order to become a better filmmaker.

–Luke Guertler, Contributing Writer

 

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