When you hear the words “international film festival,” the idea of overly artsy, impossible-to-understand films complete with subtitles might spring to mind.
But as the Chicago International Film Festival – now in its 52nd year — runs from Oct. 13 to Oct. 27 downtown at the AMC River East, it aims to be anything but that.
In fact, organizers told the Chicago RedEye to that the idea is to offer “something for everybody” during the festival, which features over 125 films from over 50 countries.
The list of films is broken down into themes most people can relate to, such as “thriller” or “romance.” Then again, there’s also categories that celebrate diversity, such as like “out-look,” for LGBT-themed films, as well as “black perspectives,” according to the RedEye.
“Yes, we have a lot of extreme, amazing foreign films with subtitles that might turn [young people] off, but there’s a lot of great, fun movies too,” Founder and artistic director Michael Kutza explained to the RedEye. “There’s a lot of Hollywood mixed in with more difficult stuff.”
Meanwhile, what separates the selections from your typical cinema experience – or a night of Netflix at home – is that many of films have an interactive element, everything from panel discussions Q-and-As. For one, the screening of “Insatiable: The Homaro Cantu Story,” a documentary about a Chicago chef, will be followed by a reception where chefs create food inspired by Cantu’s menus.
“The one thing that really sets the festival apart is that it’s going back to that communal experience of movie watching on the big screen, but also at over half the screenings, we have the filmmakers or sometimes an actor there, and it becomes an interactive experience,” festival programming director Mimi Plauche told the RedEye.
With so many films on the schedule, you might need guidance on what to see.
For suggestions from the Chicago Sun-Times, click here.
For recommendations from Chicagoist, go here.
For top picks from Time Out Chicago, read more here.
For more information about the festival, visit the festival’s website here.