Film Feature: How to Navigate the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – The 2016 52nd Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) Kicks Off on Thursday, October 13th, with the Opening Night Film, “LA LA Land.” After the first night ceremony, the main event starts, and navigating this amazing selection of films can make or break the most ardent film fan. offers the following tips on what to “seek out” during the two week cinema buffet.

The Official Poster of the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

StarSeek Out the Films in Competition

There are 15 films the International Feature Competition, there are nine films in the Documentary Competition and there are 12 in the Special Presentations category (re-releases and upcoming/anticipated fall feature films). These are the films that have been filtered through the CIFF competition committees, experts who are offering the best the world cinema has to offer. You simply can’t go wrong with these choices.

For more a specific list – in press release format – of all the competition films, click here.

StarSeek Out Films from Countries That Interest You

This is an “international” film festival, and gives filmgoers the opportunity to experience the culture – through their cinema – of 49 countries besides the U.S. From Afghanistan to the United Kingdom, CIFF is an opportunity to understand these countries through the eyes of their movie artists. It is a rare and necessary opportunity for film fans.

The PDF download of the official program lists films by country, click here.

StarSeek Out Special Events and Presentations

CIFF has always been notable for their creative packaging of special event films, categories and filmmaker presentations. Love horror films? The “After Dark” series will satisfy the fear in you. Short films programs – international, local, animated and more – are put together in special screenings. Black Perspectives, Outlook (LGBTQ+ films) and the local City&State are categories that highlight specific audiences. And “SPOTLIGHT! Musicals” celebrate the artistic genre of belting out in song, in 11 films from all over the world.

All of the events and presentations are ready-to-click on by clicking here.

StarSeek Out Industry Days

Just added last year, this overview of the film industry is a three-day series of Tributes, Lectures and Events having to with the business and circumstances of movie making. From honoring producer James D. Stern (“An Education”) to providing seminars on comedy, dealmaking and funding, Industry Days is a must-do for aspiring filmmakers and everyone else who is interested in the realities of movie show business.

The complete line-up of Industry Days events can be accessed by clicking here.

StarSeek Out Tributes and Filmmakers

All of the film screenings takes place in the just-off-Michigan-Avenue environs of the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, and the world comes to Chicago through visits by the producers, directors and filmmakers that populate the festival. Make sure you take advantage of the Q&As or seek them out afterward in the Lucky Strike Lounge at the theater or the many CIFF “Hot Spots” (see the program PDF). There are also FIVE special tributes to legendary filmmakers that will be taking place during the festival, with opportunities to attend their events and receptions afterward.

The complete line-up of Tribute events can be accessed by clicking here.

StarFinally, “Because Everybody Loves Movies…”

The Chicago International Film Festival is a celebration for the love of cinema. It can be overwhelming, but just make a list of all the films you want to see and events you want to go to, and do as much as possible. For two weeks out of every year, the world of film comes to Chicago, and you are there to get the opportunity to see that world.

The 52nd Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 13th to October 27th, 2016. Click here for film schedules, information and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editorial Coordinator, Writer

© 2016 Patrick McDonald,

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