Film News: Top Film at 51st Chicago International Film Festival is ‘A Childhood’ From France

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CHICAGO – The 2015 awards ceremony at the 51st Chicago International Festival took place on Friday, October 23rd, and Andrew Davis – International Competition Jury President – announced that the French film “A Childhood” was the recipient of the prestigious Gold Hugo Award for the festival’s top film.

The evening was also highlighted by the Founder’s Award, given by festival originator Michael Kutza. Director Michael Moore accepted the award in person for his new and provocative documentary, “Where to Invade Next.” Moore gave an impassioned acceptance speech, amplifying his optimism in his new film, which pleads for social change in America.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore Accepts The Founder’s Award
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for

The awards event took place in the ballroom at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel, and was hosted by festival Managing Director Vivian Teng. Presenters included Programming Director Mimi Plauché, programmers Anthony Kaufman and Camille Lugan, plus various jury members – which included Director Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) of the International Competition Jury. The Festival’s highest honor is the Gold Hugo, named for the mythical God of Discovery. The 51st Chicago International Film Festival continues through October 29th, 2015.

StarInternational Feature Film Competition

A Childhood
’ A Childhood,’ Directed by Philippe Claudel
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo for Best Film: “A Childhood” (France), directed by Philippe Claudel 

The Silver Hugo – Special Jury Prize: “Paulina” (Argentina, Brazil), directed by Santiago Mitre

The Silver Hugo – Best Director: Pablo Larrainl of “The Club” (Chile)

The Silver Hugo – Best Actors: Alexi Mathieu and Jules Gauzelin of “A Childhood” (France)

The Silver Hugo – Best Actress: Lizzie Brochere of “Full Contact” (Netherlands, Croatia)

The Silver Plaque – Best Ensemble: “The Club” (Chile)

The Silver Plaque – Best Cinematography: Frank Van den Eeden for “Full Contact” (Netherlands, Croatia)

The Silver Plaque – Best Screenplay: Guillermo Calderon, Daniel Villalobos and Pablo Larrain for “The Club” (Chile)

The Silver Plaque – Best Art Direction: Toma Baqueni for “My Golden Days” (France)

StarNew Directors Competition

Underground Fragrance
’Underground Fragrance,’ Directed by Pengfei Song
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo: Director Pengfei Song of “Underground Fragrance” (China)

The Silver Hugo: Director Runar Runarsson of “Sparrows” (Iceland)

The Roger Ebert Award for New Directors: Director Ida Panahandeh of “Nahid” (Iran)

StarDocumentary Competition

Volta à Terra
’ Volta à Terra,’ Directed by João Pedro Plácido
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo: “Volta à Terra” (Portugal, Switzerland), directed by João Pedro Plácido

The Silver Hugo: “In The Underground” (China), directed by Song Zhantao

Gold Plaque Special Mention: “Time Suspended” (Mexico, Argentina), directed by Natalia Bruschtein

StarGold Q Award (LBGTQ Films)

’Carol,’ Directed by Todd Haynes
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo: “Carol” (USA), directed by Todd Haynes

The Silver Hugo: “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party” (USA), directed by Stephen Cone

StarShort Film Competition

’ Leidi,’ Directed by Simón Mesa Soto
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo – Live Action: “Leidi” (Colombia, UK), directed by Simón Mesa Soto

The Silver Hugo – Live Action: “The Exquisite Corpus” (Austria), directed by Peter Tscherkassky

Gold Plaque – Live Action: “One-minded” (South Korea), directed by Sébastien Simon and Forest Ian Estler

Silver Plaque – Live Action: “over” (UK), directed by Jörn Threlfall

Silver Plaque – Live Action: “Ramona” (Romania), directed by Andrei Cretulescu

The Silver Hugo – Documentary: “Santa Cruz del Islote” (US, Colombia), directed by Luke Lorentzen

Gold Plaque – Documentary: “A Tale of Love, Madness and Death” (Chile), directed by Mijael Bustos Gutiérrez

The Silver Hugo – Animated: “Sunday Lunch” (France), directed by Céline Devaux

Gold Plaque – Animated: “The Same River Twice” (USA), directed by Weijia Ma

Silver Plaque – Animated: “Waves ‘98” (Lebanon, Qatar), directed by Ely Dagher

StarThe Chicago Award

Best Chicago/Illinois Based Film: “Radical Grace” (USA), directed by Rebecca Parrish

StarThe Founder’s Award

The Founder’s Award: “Where to Invade Next” (USA), directed by Michael Moore

The 51st Chicago International Film Festival continues through October 29th, 2015 at the AMC River East 21, 322 Illinois Street, Chicago. Click here for film schedules, information and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editorial Coordinator, Writer

© 2015 Patrick McDonald,

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