Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-02-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



53rd Chicago International Film fest announces awards
From a press release

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

The Chicago International Film Festival today hosted an awards presentation, sponsored by Sound Investment AV, at the AMC River East 21, celebrating the films that chosen by the Festival juries to receive awards. Prizes were awarded to films in the following categories: International Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look Competition; The Chicago Award; and Short Film Competition.

Taking home the top prize, the Gold Hugo, in the International Feature Film Competition, is Argentinian director Diego Lerman's A Sort of Family, the story of a doctor's desperate journey to adopt a baby girl, which had its U.S. premiere in Chicago. The Silver Hugo for Best Director was awarded to Joanna Kos-Krause and co-director Krzysztof Krauze for Birds Are Singing in Kigali ( Poland ), and the Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize was awarded to Félicité, ( Senegal, France, Belgium ) directed by Alain Gomis. Iranian director Vahid Jalilvand took home top honors in the New Directors Competition with a Gold Hugo for No Date, No Signature, and the Silver Hugo was awarded to Milad Alami for The Charmer ( Denmark ). The Roger Ebert Award, presented to an emerging filmmaker with a fresh and uncompromising vision by Chaz Ebert, was awarded to Colombian directorLaura Mora for Killing Jesus, and the Chicago Award was taken home by Stephen Cone for Princess Cyd. The Founder's Award, given to one film across all categories that captures the spirit of the Chicago International Film Festival for its unique and innovative approach to the art of the moving image, was presented to Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water.

For images of the prize-winning films and select filmmakers, click here.

"All of the films competing for prizes this year were outstanding, and I salute our jury for rising to the daunting task of selecting those that received the top honors," said Festival Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. "We are proud to honor such a diverse group of films, shining a spotlight on the extraordinary work being created by men and women throughout the world. This year's honorees span the globe, featuring talent from almost every continent, as well as one who lives only a few miles from the theater."

Many of the award-winning films will be screened during the Festival's Best of the Fest program on Wednesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 26. The complete list of honorees is a follows:

International Feature Film Competition

Gold Hugo

A Sort of Family ( Una especie de familia ), Dir. Diego Lerman, Argentina.

This film amazed the jury in two ways that are difficult to achieve by themselves and even more difficult together. At a personal level, it delivers a journey of wrenching twists, maintaining tension while also enabling empathy with a complicated, sometimes reckless character in an impossible situation. At a political level, it draws attention to systemic abuses of women, especially poor women, that transpire all over our world. A Sort of Family synthesizes these two tracks seamlessly, with sterling craftsmanship and superb performances throughout.

Best Director

Birds Are Singing in Kigali, Dirs. Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze, Poland.

This film sets itself a huge challenge, both artistic and ethical, of evoking a tragedy without simply re-staging its events or relying on sentimentality to move its audience. The tough, inventive direction allows such risks to pay off, alternating between realist and poetic styles in ways that achieve a tremendous emotional force, expanding the boundaries for how trauma can be commemorated on screen. The jury acknowledges with sorrow the many places around the globe where this story remains relevant, and honors Joanna Kos-Krauze as well as, posthumously, her late husband and co-director, Krzysztof Krauze.

Silver Hugo Jury Prize

Félicité, Dir. Alain Gomis, Senegal, France, Belgium.

This movie transports its audience to a vividly evoked community in Kinshasa, without indulging the stereotypes by which Africa is often depicted on screen. Instead, we meet a tenacious, complex heroine who insists on living by her own terms, even amid situations that deprive her of easy choices. The music in the movie is unforgettable, and its structure is itself musical, building in unexpected movements, interludes, and crescendos toward its rewarding conclusion.

Silver Hugo Best Actress

Awarded ex-aequo to Jowita Budnik and Eliane Umuhire in Birds are Singing in Kigali, Dirs. Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze, Poland.

The only way to honor these two performances, so dissimilar in style yet perfectly in sync, is to award a joint citation. Each actress brought depth and power to the scenes that emphasized her character, making Anna and Claudine accessible to the audience without divulging all their secrets. When acting together, they conveyed a unique symbiosis, sometimes painful, sometimes comforting, that will bond these women forever.

Silver Hugo Best Actor

Awarded to Aleksandr Yatsenko in Arrhythmia, Dir. Boris Khlebnikov, Russia, Finland, Germany

The versatile Yatsenko, maintaining his fruitful collaboration with director Boris Khlebnikov, hits a new creative peak as a skillful but unreliable paramedic, eliciting the audience's contempt at times and its sympathy at others. The actor finds endless degrees of human imperfection between these two poles, giving a performance that allows the whole movie to work.

Silver Plaque Best Screenplay

Awarded to Mohammad Rasoulof for A Man of Integrity ( Lerd ), Dir. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran.

Early on, this film introduces us to many different facets of its main character's life that barely seem to relate. Gradually and powerfully, the script teases out the connections, all of which culminate in a haunting finale. This structure requires patience and discipline from its writer-director Mohammad Rasoulof. In a festival full of modern spins on film noir, he gives us one of the best, set in an unlikely place.

Silver Plaque Best Cinematography

Awarded to Chayse Irvin for Hannah, Dir. Andreas Pallaoro, Italy, France, Belgium.

Hannah tells the story of a very guarded woman and is itself a guarded film, refusing to spell out the motives or contexts behind a lonely woman's behavior. The images, then, must convey feelings and ideas that the screenplay and character will not. Through meticulous composition, unexpected framing, and a finely calibrated color palette, they do just that.

Best Art Direction

Awarded to Vaclav Novak for The Line ( Ciara ), Dir. Peter Bebjak, Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic.

The jury marveled at the natural locations in The Line, all expertly chosen and photographed. The built environments, too, abound with subtle and character-revealing detail. Without calling undue attention to itself, the scenery always served the entertaining story, while colorfully avoiding the visual clichés one might expect from a tribute to film noir.

Founders Award

The Shape of Water, Dir. Guillermo Del Toro, USA

The Founders Award is personally presented by Festival Founder Michael Kutza to the single film he feels best embodies the spirit of curiosity, optimism and love of film that led to his starting the Chicago International Film Festival 53-year ago. "The Shape of Water is beautiful, inspiring and the epitome of why I love the movies," remarked Kutza. "Del Toro is a master filmmaker, and this is one of his most magnificent films to date."

New Directors Competition

Gold Hugo

No Date, No Signature ( Bedoune Tarikh, Bedoune Emza ). Dir. Vahid Jalilvand, Iran.

The Gold Hugo goes to Vahid Jalilvand's No Date, No Signature ( Iran ) for the austere beauty of its imagery and the satisfying complexity with which this assured second feature explores dilemmas of guilt and grief in a medical examiner who may or may not have accidentally killed a small boy.

Silver Hugo

The Charmer, Dir. Milad Alami, Denmark.

The Silver Hugo goes to Milad Alami's The Charmer ( Denmark ), a gripping, beautifully lensed drama that continues to haunt us with its portrayal of paranoia and frayed human connection. The journey of an Iranian man seeking courtship in Denmark culminates in a final sequence so startling and deftly executed that it is guaranteed to provoke debate for years to come.

Roger Ebert Award

Killing Jesus, Dir. Laura Mora, Colombia, Argentina.

The Roger Ebert Award goes to Laura Mora's Killing Jesus ( Colombia ), which contains the richest example of a quality Roger Ebert treasured in cinema. Mora's lead heroine tracks down her father's killer initially in pursuit of vengeance, until she realizes that his crime was merely a symptom of a corrupted society. The film is wise and perceptive in its suggestion that empathy itself can serve as a form of catharsis.

Documentary Competition

Gold Hugo

The Other Side of the Wall ( Al otro lado del muro ), Dir. Pau Ortiz, Spain, Mexico.

The Gold Hugo goes to The Other Side of the Wall, a film with two of the most riveting characters we've had the pleasure to see in a documentary. With intimate access, filmmaker Pau Ortiz tells the poignant story of a family in the midst of crisis, struggling to survive with their matriarch incarcerated. With extraordinary sensitivity, Ortiz presents their lives as an unflinching portrait of the ties that bind.

Silver Hugo

Mr. Gay Syria, Dir. Ayse Toprak, France, Germany, Turkey.

The Silver Hugo goes to Mr. Gay Syria directed by Ayse Toprak, a film that looks at the Syrian refugee crisis through the lens of the LGBT community. At times sad and at times humorous, she captures a slice of life of a community in transition.

Out-Look Competition

Gold Q-Hugo

BPM ( 120 battements par minute ), Dir. Robin Campillo, France.

The Gold Q Hugo Film Award goes to BPM-Beats Per Minute ( France ) for its necessary honesty, unmatched portrayal of love and loss, but most importantly for embodying what it really means to make the personal political.

Silver Q-Hugo

God's Own Country, Dir. Francis Lee, United Kingdom.

The Silver Q Hugo Film Award goes to God's Own Country ( UK ) for its simple yet robust exploration of masculinity, desire, and unspoken intimacy within our most important relationships.

Chicago Award

Princess Cyd, Dir. Stephen Cone, USA.

Princess Cyd won for its clear tonality, lyrical storytelling, and graceful authenticity. With strong writing and relatable characters, director Stephen Cone crafts a very honest, very human story that features a capable and complex female lead. The entire cast plays a substantial role in bringing a subtle delicacy to this coming-of-age story, set against an intimate Chicago backdrop.

Documentary Short Film Competition

Silver Hugo

The Rabbit Hunt, Dir. Patrick Bresnan, USA.

No shot is wasted in this epic 12-minute observational documentary gem. It is truly our privilege to be invited on this journey as seventeen-year-old Chris and his family partake in a local right of passage as well as making ends meet while living in an industrial community in the Florida Everglades. Masterful and precise.

Gold Plaque

The Streets Are Ours: Two Lives Cross in Karachi, Dir. Michelle Fiordaliso, USA.

The Streets Are Ours: Two Lives Cross in Karachi chronicles two women who stand es examples of the ongoing struggle in Pakistan to open up creative and democratic spaces where people of all genders, sexual orientations, creeds and colors can express themselves freely and without fear. This film is a way to inspire people to voice their stories and to work with passion in order to overcome intolerance and silence.

Special Mention

The Painted Calf, Dir. David Pantaleon, Spain.

With its biblical soundtrack and the Canary Islands as a backdrop, this documentary is a reminder that film can say so much about a small place in the world simply through song, cinematography, and pacing. The Painted Calf is a special film because despite its simple story, the film transports the viewer visually, sonically, and most importantly patiently.

Animated Short Film Competition

Silver Hugo

Airport, Dir. Michaela Muller, Switzerland, Croatia.

Great art can make you feel like you are living an experience. Watching Airport gave us all the sensation we were in that space. A film that takes us to a place we don't want to go in the most kinetic, sensual way possible. An ominous, topical film that is never heavy-handed.

Gold Plaque

Drop by Drop, Dirs. Xa, Laura Goncalves, Portugal.

Great transitions and flow combine to create a moving portrait of diminishing returns.

Special Mention

Beyond Fields of Paper, Dir. Yiyi Ma, USA

Special mention to Yiyi Ma for her moving portrait of an artist in transition.

Narrative Short Film Competition

Gold Hugo

Night Shift, Dir. Marshall Tyler, USA.

The jury awards the Gold Hugo to Night Shift for developing a rich character whose Dantesque journey of colorful self-reflection inspires us to break free and gamble on ourselves.

Silver Hugo

A Gentle Night, Dir. Qui Yang, China.

The jury awards the Silver Hugo to A Gentle Night for it's challenging look at familial complacency, which is exposed when cultural barriers are breached during a crisis.

Special Mention

Fucking Bunnies, Dir. Teemu Niukkanen, Finland.

The jury would like to offer special mention to Fucking Bunnies for its humorous take on finding common ground and celebrating our differences.

For a press release listing jury members, click here.

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival is October 12-26. Screenings take place at the AMC River East 21 ( 322 E. Illinois ). Tickets are available by calling 312-332-FILM ( 3456 ), online at, at the Festival Box Office at AMC River East at 322 E. Illinois Street, and at the Festival Pop-Up Box Office at 400 S. Dearborn.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sean Hayes, drag wedding show, Jennifer Lopez, Colton Underwood 2019-02-20 - GLAAD plans to honor Emmy-winning actor/producer/author/comedian Sean Hayes with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los ...

Gay News

TELEVISION Who is John Presloid? Gay Jeopardy! champ makes waves 2019-02-13 - Telegenic research assistant John Presloid opened eyes last month when he appeared on the game show Jeopardy!—and won $94,200 in five appearances. However, ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2019-02-13 - "I don't know why. I just ... I always feel like I know him. I mean, maybe I have a little crush on ...

Gay News

WORLD Alan Turing, Mexico murder, 'Boy Erased' 2019-02-13 - The late Brit Alan Turing—known as the father of the modern computer—was recently named the greatest person of the 20th century during BBC's ...

Gay News

Film on Chicago trans woman running Feb. 19 2019-02-10 - The ACLU of Illinois, Pride Action Tank and the Transformative Justice Law Project are hosting a special screening of Chicago Love, from the ...

Gay News

Pride Films and Plays offers Buyer & Cellar, comedy of life in Streisand's basement 2019-02-09 - Pride Films and Plays will mount Jonathan Tolin's one-man play BUYER & CELLAR in the Broadway Theater of the Pride Arts Center, according ...

Gay News

Chicago floral designer discusses Grammys role 2019-02-08 - One decade ago, Chicago-based horticulturalist/landscaper Tu Bloom heeded the advice of a mentor: Never be afraid to ask for something, since the worst ...

Gay News

Chicago Feminist Film Festival Feb. 27-March 1 2019-02-05 - Columbia College Chicago will host the fourth annual Chicago Feminist Film Festival on Feb. 27-March 1. This year's opening night features the ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE, FILM Taraji P. Henson on newest film, LGBT storylines 2019-01-30 - Actress Taraji P. Henson has slowly climbed her way to the top of the heap, now headlining movies and taking home awards. Her ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lilly Wachowski, Greg Berlanti, Audra McDonald, Pink 2019-01-29 - Transgender Matrix franchise/Sense8 co-creator Lilly Wachowski has come on board to produce, co-write and co-direct a series to be based on Abby McEnany ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.