FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Chicago International Film Festival

by John Wroblewski

Oct 21, 2023

The Chicago International Film Festival is running through October 22, and I am checking out a lot of premieres. This is the best time of year for cinephiles in Chicago.

Started in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza, it is North America’s longest-running competitive film festival. All of the festival’s films are Chicago premieres. Some are even U.S. and world premieres. More than half of the theater screenings featured actors and directors introducing their films and hosting discussions upon the conclusion of the film.

This year the 59th Chicago International Film Festival has screenings of more than 100 feature films and 60 short films. I saw movies at AMC NEWCITY 14 as well as the Gene Siskel Film Center and Music Box Theatre, two iconic Chicago theaters.Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival website made selecting movies easy by having a complete list sortable by genre, location and other options. I was able to hone in on exactly what I wanted to see.

Starting with horror, I chose Dream Scenario and Late Night with the Devil. The first mixed horror with a little humor, while the latter was dramatic horror. Both delivered enough fright and entertainment. For comedy, I went with All Happy Families, which was set in Chicago.

I had to see Food Rights, Chicago restaurateur Billy Dec’s story about reconnecting with his Filipino heritage. Being a longtime acquaintance of Dec’s, I was fascinated by his amazing journey. This might have been my favorite movie, but I had a personal interest in it.

With a couple days remaining, I have seen 10 films with plans for at least one more before the festival ends. I am happy to report all of them ranged from good to excellent. I wasn’t disappointed with any of the 10 I saw.

One interesting related note involves the festival logo. While some speculate the eyes are Charlie Chaplin’s or Liza Minnelli’s, they are a combination of silent screen sirens Theda Bara, Pola Negri and Mae Murray. Director Kutza created the logo.

Chicago International Film Festival

Photo by Chicago International Film Festival.

— John Wroblewski, online writer

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