The Chicago International Film Festival was formed in 1964 by Michael Kutzca, who wanted to provide an alternative to mainstream Hollywood movies. From Oct. 13-27 the festival screened all the films at AMC River East 21 with contributors walking the red carpet beforehand.
No, those are not Liza Minelli's eyes on the festival's logo created but Kutzca but starting off with a musical like La La Land opening night was a step in the right direction.
There was plenty of diversity on the red carpet, with Madonna dancers like Carlton Wilborn from Strike a Pose and cast members from the new coming-of-age film Moonlight, which has already gotten Oscar buzz.
Actress Taraji P. Henson did some talking, but there was no showing of her new project Hidden Figures. In other news, the the eldest daughter of movie legend Charlie Chaplin, Geraldine Chaplin, was on hand to present the Jury Prize Award.
Actor Michael Rooker reunited with several members of production for the 30th anniversary of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which premiered at this same festival back in 1986. There was both history and future plans made when Chaz Ebert spoke of the Roger Ebert Award.
Special presentations were even added along the way such as the movie Jackie with the director, Pablo Larrain, making an appearance at the screening.
The festival closed with a visit from aliens in the movie Arrival, starring Amy Adams, on Oct. 27.
However, the organization continues all year with programs found at ChicagoFilmFestival.com .
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn