Film News: ‘The Artist’ Tops 2011 Chicago International Film Festival Audience Awards

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CHICAGO – Three crowd-pleasing films were selected by audiences at the 47th Chicago International Film Festival as their favorites of the year. A record 50 percent of festivalgoers participated in the selection of this year’s winners of the American Airlines Audience Choice Award.

Two pictures garnered the award for Best Narrative Feature. The first is French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius’ affectionate valentine to cinema, “The Artist,” which snagged the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for its lead, Jean Dujardin (who played the title role in Hazanavicius’ “OSS 117”). It’s a black-and-white, nearly silent romance with a talent-packed ensemble including John Goodman and Malcolm McDowell. The festival buzz has been so strong that some movie buffs have speculated about whether this could actually become a surprise mainstream hit. Regardless, this accolade has further solidified this film’s status as a top Oscar contender.

The Artist.
The Artist.
Photo credit: The Chicago International Film Festival

The other recipient of the Best Narrative Feature honor is director Yasemin Samdereli’s dramedy “Almanya: Welcome to Germany,” which follows a German family as they explore their identity while visiting their original home in Turkey. Winner of the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature is “Undefeated” by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, whose last film was the wonderfully named “Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong.” The Memphis-set film centers on the Manassas Tigers’ efforts to win their first playoff game during the 2009 football season. Led by Coach Bill Courtney, the high school teammates attempt to defy the odds by reversing the Tigers’ 110-year history of losses. And Chicagoans thought the Cubs had a bad record…

For more information on the Chicago International Film Festival, visit

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