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41st Chicago Festival in action with 100 feature films

The Chicago International Film Festival, the oldest competitive international film festival in North America, will raise the curtain on its 41st edition on October 6, then run through October 20 at Chicago theaters. Film fans will be able to choose from 100 feature films and 42 short films from 34 countries.

The 2005 Festival will include three world premieres (The Trouble with Dee Dee, Feast and The Unseen), 11 North American Premieres and 34 U.S. premieres. “Our lineup truly offers something for every film lover; whether it’s the latest from a Cannes prize-winning auteur or the biggest crowd-pleaser from Argentina”, says Festival Director Michael Kutza. Festival Director of Programming, Helen Gramates adds, "While premiere status has never dictated our selection, we’re honored and pleased that many directors have chosen our festival to make their US, and in some cases North American, debuts."

Festival highlights include:

The Opening Night Gala on Thursday, October 6 is the premiere screening of newly re-edited Elizabethtown, directed by Academy Award winner, Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous). Elizabethtown tells the story of Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom), a once rising star at a leading athletic shoe company who has just been fired due to the overwhelming failure of his design for a sneaker and the $972 million loss his company suffered because of the fiasco. As if that weren’t bad enough, things get even worse: Drew receives a phone call informing him that his father has passed away – and now, he must get on a plane for Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to retrieve his father’s remains.
On the plane ride, Drew meets Claire (Kirsten Dunst), a flight attendant and unstoppably positive woman who changes the course of his life. It is in Kentucky that Drew comes to learn the breadth of his father’s life and his own family roots. Drew, with the help of Claire, submits to discovering the possibilities for his own destiny. A love letter to the resilience of the life force, Elizabethtown is a charming music-filled journey that proves amazing things can happen when you least expect them.
Susan Sarandon plays Drew's mother in a brilliant, heartbreakingly funny performance and Crowe continues to effortlessly find comedy within universal themes of loss, redemption and, of course, love. True to Crowe's form, the dialogue is witty and truthful and the soundtrack adds layers of sumptuous depth.
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Susan Sarandon will be honored with a Career Achievement Award in a special presentation as part of the Opening Night Gala. Roger Ebert will be the on-stage host. Director Cameron Crowe will also take part in this special event.

Chicago native, actor Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow, Ray) will be honored on Friday, October 14. The program will feature an award presentation to Howard and a conversation with the actor hosted by WGN film critic Dean Richards.

Festival Centerpiece – Starring Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche and Kate Bosworth, Bee Season is a moving drama about the unexpected downward spiral of a seemingly idyllic family. Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, it screens on October 15.

The Festival's Grand Finale Closing Night, to be held Thursday, October 20, will feature the premiere of The Weather Man. The gala evening will feature an introduction by its star, Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage. Filmed in Chicago and directed by Gore Verbinski (The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Ring), The Weather Man also stars Academy Award winner Michael Caine and Hope Davis in a poignant story about the unpredictability of life.

Three world premieres screen at the 2005 Film Festival:
- The Unseen, which stars Chicago native Steve Harris (The Practice) and is directed by Independent Spirit Award nominee Lisa France (Anne B. Real). This suspenseful drama weaves a compelling tale about friendship.
- Feast, is Project Greenlight's third installment, a hilariously twisted creature feature, directed by John Gulager.
- Second City alumnus Mike Meiners provides a comedic tour of Chicago's diverse economic spheres in The Trouble with Dee Dee, starring That 70’s Show’s Kurtwood Smith.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION: The 19 films selected for the International Competition represent the very finest in world cinema. Highlights include 96 year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira’s North American premiere of Magic Mirror. Fresh from its Venice Festival debut, this is a continuation of his 2002 film, The Uncertainty Principle. Also vying for the festival’s top prize: Cannes favorite Sangre (Mexico, US premiere), South Korean blockbuster April Snow (US premiere), Tsai Ming-Liang’s Berlin prize winner, The Wayward Cloud (U.S. Premiere) and producer Stephen Woolley’s (Scandal, The Crying Game) directorial debut, Stoned (US premiere) about the life and suspicious death of Rolling Stone’s co-founder, Brian Jones.

April Snow / Oechul (South Korea) – Director Hur Jin-Ho (U.S. Premiere)
Bang Bang Orangutang / (Denmark) – Director Simon Staho (North American Premiere)
Border Café / Café Transit (Iran/France) – Director Kambozia Partovi (U.S. Premiere)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu / Moatea Domnului Lazarescu (Romania) – Director Cristi Puiu (Midwest Premiere)
Entre Ses Mains / Between His Hands (France) – Director Anne Fontaine (U.S. Premiere)
Everlasting Regret / Changhen Ge (Hong Kong) – Director Stanley Kwan Kampang (U.S. Premiere)
The Fever / La Febbre (Italy) – Director Alessandro D’Alatri (U.S. Premiere)
Free Zone / (Israel) – Director Amos Gitai (U.S. Premiere)
Gabrielle / (France/Italy) – Director Patrice Chereau (Midwest Premiere)
Garpastum / (Russia) – Director Alexey Guerman Jr. (U.S. Premiere)
Johanna / (Hungary) – Director Kornél Mundruczó (Midwest Premiere)
Look Both Ways / (Australia) – Director Sarah Watt (U.S. Premiere)
Magic Mirror / Espelho Magico (Portugal) – Director Manoel De Oliveira (North American Premiere)
My Nikifor / Moj Nikifor (Poland) – Director Krzysztof Krauze (U.S. Premiere)
Sangre / (Mexico/France) – Director Amat Escalante (U.S. Premiere)
Stoned / (United Kingdom) – Director Stephen Woolley (U.S. Premiere)
Summer In Berlin / Sommer Vorm Balkon (Germany) – Director Andreas Dresen (U.S. Premiere)
Sunflower / Xiang ri Kui (China) – Director Zhang Yang (U.S. Premiere)
The Wayward Cloud / Tianbian Yiduo Yun – Director Tsai Ming-Liang (U.S. Premiere)

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS:

Bee Season / (United States) – Directors Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Cache / Hidden (France) – Director Michael Haneke
Carmen In Khayelitsha / U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (South Africa) – Director Mark Dunford-May
Le Courage D'Aimer / The Courage to Love (France) – Director Claude Lelouch
Manderlay / (Denmark) – Director Lars Von Tier
Mrs. Henderson Presents / (United Kingdom) – Director Stephen Frears
North Country / (United States) – Director Niki Caro
Shopgirl / United States) – Director Anand Tucker
The Squid And The Whale / (United States) – Director Noah Baumbach


NEW DIRECTORS' COMPETITION: This competition presents 15 first or second feature films by promising new filmmakers that will be judged by an international jury of film critics.

A Year Without Love / Un Ano Sin Amor (Argentina) – Director Anahi Berneri
Animal (France, Portugal, United Kingdom) – Director Roselyne Bosch (US premiere)
Black Brush / Fekete Kefe (Hungary) – Director Roland Vranik (US premiere)
Fateless / Sorstalansag (Hungary/Germany/United Kingdom) Director Lajos Koltai
Grain in Ear / Mang Zhong (China/South Korea) – Director Zhang Lu (US premiere)
Guernsey / Guernsey (Netherlands/Belgium) – Director Nanouk Leopold
La Moustache / The Moustache (France) – Director Emmanuel Carrere (North American premiere)
Low Profile / Falscher Bekenner (Germany) Director Christoph Hochhausler (US premiere)
Mongolian Ping Pong / Lu Cao Di (China) – Director Ning Hao (US premiere)
Nordeste / Northeast (France/Spain/Argentina) – Director Juan Solanas (North American premiere)
Pale Eyes / Les Yeux Clairs (France) – Director Jerome Bonnell (North American premiere)
Play / Chile/Argentia/France) – Director Alicia Scherson
Poet Of The Wastes / Iran/Japan) – Director Mohammad Ahmadi (North American premiere)
Stories of Disenchantment/Historias del desencanto (Mexico)–Director Alejandro Valle (US premiere)
Well-Tempered Corpses / Dobro Urejeni Mrtveci (Slovenia/France/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Italy) – Director Benjamin Filipovic (North American premiere)


DOCUFEST: Docufest, the Festival's documentary competition, is proud to present 11 of the best non-fiction works of the year. Highlights include the North American premieres of Borderline Lovers, Hiding Behind the Camera and My Grandmother’s House.

After Innocence / (United States) – Director Jessica Sanders
Borderline Lovers / Ljubvav na granici (Bosnia-Herzegovina/Czech Republic) – Director Miroslav Mandic
Hiding Behind The Camera, Part 2 / Med Kameran Som Trost, Del 2 (Sweden) – Director Carol Johan De Geer
How To Eat Your Watermelon In White Company (And Enjoy It) / (United States) – Director Joe Angio
Learning To Swallow / (United States) – Director Danielle Beverly
Linda & Ali: Two Worlds Within Four Walls / (Belgium) – Director Lut Vandekebus
My Grandmother's House /La Casa de Mi Abuela (Spain) – Director Adan Aliaga
Protocols Of Zion / (United States) – Directors Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
The Devil's Miner / (United States/Germany) – Directors Kief Davidson, Richard Ladkani
Unknown White Male / (United Kingdom) – Director Rupert Murray

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