Slideshow, Audio: Chicago International Film Festival Summer Gala Celebrates Michael Kutza

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Celebration: Michael Kutza, Founder of the Chicago International Film Festival.

CHICAGO – It was a night of stars, tributes and memories as Cinema/Chicago, the organization that presents the annual Chicago International Film Festival, honored the Founder of the Fest (and longtime Artistic Director) Michael Kutza at their 2018 Summer Gala on July 14th. Appearing on the Red Carpet to honor the Chicago cinema icon, who will be retiring at the end of the year, were movie stars Kathleen Turner and Terrence Howard, directors Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) and Steve James (“Hoop Dreams), as well as the iconic movie producer Paula Wagner.

Michael Kutza was 22 years old in 1965, when he founded the Chicago International Film Festival, with former silent film star and Chicagoan Colleen Moore. He was Artistic Director until 2017, and held that title longer than any other festival AD in history… and in honor of that record and his contributions to cinema and Chicago, Michael received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Gala, appropriately called “Celebrating Michael,” was chaired by Chaz Ebert (who also interviewed Michael at the event), Candice Jordan and Maria Pappas, and took place in the ballroom at Loews Hotel in Chicago’s River East neighborhood. The event featured testimonials celebrating Michael, both in person and via video, which highlighted his dedication to fostering the appreciation of the cinema arts for his entire career. was on the red carpet before the event to talk to the luminaries, and photographer Joe Arce took these Exclusive Photos at the event.

In the following Red Carpet Voices, Michael Kutza answers questions over the years – including at the “Celebrating Michael” event – regarding the Chicago International Film Festival and his career.

In Part Two, Kathleen Turner, Terrence Howard, Paula Wagner and Andrew Davis talk about Michael’s contributions, and elements of their own careers. Davis was a second unit director on Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool,” and refers to the tanks of the National Guard among Vietnam War protesters in 1968, where they were filming.

Joe Arce of took these Exclusive Photos on the Red Carpet for the “Celebrating Michael” Summer Gala. Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

  1. KUTZA1: Celebration: Michael Kutza, Founder of the Chicago International Film Festival.
  2. KUTZA2: Kathleen Turner (‘Body Heat,’ ‘Romancing the Stone’) at ‘Celebrating Michael.’
  3. KUTZA3: Terrence Howard (‘Hustle and Flow,’ ‘Empire’) on the Red Carpet.
  4. KUTZA4: Iconic movie producer Paula Wagner made an appearance.
  5. KUTZA5: Director Andrew Davis (‘The Fugitive,’ ‘Holes’) honors Michael.
  6. KUTZA6: Chicago director Steve James (‘Hoop Dreams,’ ‘America to Me’).

Cinema/Chicago presents the upcoming 54th Chicago International Film Festival, taking place October 10th-21st, 2018. For more information, click here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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