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Awards Season

53rd Chicago Int’l Film Festival to Feature Awards Season Favorites ‘Marshall,’ ‘Lady Bird’

53rd Chicago Int’l Film Festival to Feature Awards Season Favorites ‘Marshall,’ ‘Lady Bird’
Photo Source: Courtesy Open Road

As of today, the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival will continue to push daring and worthy new films into the awards spotlight.

Running Oct. 12–26, this year’s festival will open with director Reginald Hudlin’s “Marshall” (distributed by Open Road), starring Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, and producer-star Chadwick Boseman as the titular Supreme Court justice. Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” (A24), starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, will serve as the fest’s centerpiece event after its premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. The closing night film will be another anticipated awards contender: Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures) starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and Octavia Spencer.

Those following this year’s festival season favorites will also recognize Ruben Östlund’s “The Square” which took home the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival back in May with acclaimed performances from a cast including Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, and Terry Notary. Also noticeable from Cannes is Fatih Akin’s “Aus dem Nichts (In the Fade),” for which Diane Kruger won Best Actress.

Along with films directed by and starring some of the industry’s most recognizable names—like Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight Pictures) starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, and Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios) starring Bryan Cranston and Steve Carell—this year’s festival will feature a special focus on International Film Noir with films from Argentina, Brazil, China, Lebanon, and Slovakia, as well as local Chicago-based filmmakers.

Mimi Plauché, recently named artistic director of Chicago International Film Festival and its parent organization Cinema/Chicago, said of this year’s selections: “It’s another great year for film, from dark comedies that make us laugh in spite of ourselves, to intense psychological thrillers that expose our deep-seated anxieties, to politically minded documentaries that dare us to engage with the world in deeper ways.”

Patrick Stewart, appearing in this year’s superhero drama “Logan,” will be honored at the fest with the Gold Hugo Career Achievement Award Oct. 25. Vanessa Redgrave, beloved actor and first-time director of new feature “Sea Sorrow,” will also be given a special Visionary Award Oct. 16.

Originally founded in 1964 by Michael Kutza, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America’s oldest competitive festival for cinema and usually a glimpse of future Oscar contenders. Festival proceeds benefit Cinema/Chicago’s year-round educational programming. Also unique is its newly forged relationship with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which for the second year is presenting programming centred around architecture and design.

Festival tickets are available now. Check back in with Backstage for more updates from the frontlines of this year’s film awards races!

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