Chicago International Film Festival Sets Competition Lineup

Mia Madre Still 1 - H 2015
Courtesy of Guidi Locurcio

Mia Madre Still 1 - H 2015

The 51st edition of the festival launches Oct. 15 with opening night gala screening of 'Mia Madre'

The 51st Chicago International Film Festival has selected 16 films in its International Feature Competition to vie for the festival’s top honor, the Gold Hugo. The festival, which runs Oct. 15-29, is the longest running, competitive film festival in the United States.

This year’s festival showcases a mix of films and includes works from veteran directors -- Jia Zhang-ke, Corneliu Porumboiu, Arnaud Desplechin – as well as new talents. Highlights include the world premiere of Majid Barzegar’s A Very Ordinary Citizen (co-written by Jafar Panahi); the critically acclaimed relationship drama 45 Years, starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte RamplingChronic, the latest film by Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco, who previously won the Festival's 2012 Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize for After Lucia; and Naomi Kawase's film about life and sweet pastries, Sweet Bean.

"It has been a great year for movies, so far. The sixteen films competing for the Gold Hugo are strong and diverse," said Founder & Artistic Director Michael Kutza. "This year's competition includes some of the most anticipated films of the season as well as new discoveries from around the world and we can't wait to share them with Chicago."

The sixteen films, their directors and their country of origin include:45, Andrew Haigh (United Kingdom); Body (Cialo), Malgorzata Szumowska, (Poland); A Childhood (Une Enfance), Phillipe Claudel (France);Chronic, Michel Franco (Mexico, France), The Club (El Club)Pablo Larrain, (Chile) ; Full Contact, David Verbeek (Netherlands, Croatia); Looking For Grace, Sue Brooks (Australia); Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhang-ke (China); My Golden Days (Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse), Amaud Desplechin (France); Neon Bull (Boi Neon), Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands);Paulina (La Patota), Santiago Mitre (Argentina, Brazil, France); Schneider vs. Bax, Alex Van Warmerdam (Netherlands); Sweet Bean (An), Naomi Kawase (Japan); TikkunAvishai Sivan (Israel);The Treasure (Comoara), Comeliu Porumboiu (Romania), and A Very Ordinary  Citizen (Yek Shahrvand-e Kamelan Maamouli), Majid Barzegar (Iran).

The festival’s Documentary Competition features two world premieres and six North American premieres. The two world premieres feature characters with Chicago-area origins: Rob Hatch-Miller’sSyl Johnson: Any Way The Wind Blows, a Windy City-based portrait of the most sampled artist in hip-hop, and Motley's Law, which follows tough-as-nails lawyer Kimberley Motley, the only American allowed to practice law in Afghanistan.

The Documentary Competition also includes: Call Me Marianna (Mow mi Marianna), Karolina Bielawska (Poland); Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice, Daan Veldhuizen (Netherlands); The Closer We Get, Karen Guthrie (Scotland, UK); In the Underground (Di Ceng Shen Chu), Song Zhangtao (China); The Living Fire (Zhyva Vatra), Ostap Kostyuk (Ukraine); Time Suspended (Tempo Suspendido), Natalia Bruschtein (Mexico, Argentina); Tough Love (Harte), Rosa von Praunheim (Germany); and Volta a Terra, Joao Pedro Placido (Portugal).

"Year after year the submissions we receive demonstrate the great diversity and excellence of cinema today, making the process of selection for our international competition both challenging and exciting,” said Programming Director Mimi Plauché.