The 2021 Chicago International Film Festival’s Opening Night film will be Wes Anderson’s widely embraced and critically-acclaimed Cannes premiere The French Dispatch, a love letter to journalists with an all-star cast, including Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Elisabeth Moss.
Meanwhile at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen, audiences will rock out to The Velvet Underground at a special Opening Night at the Drive-In presentation, presented by Goldman Sachs and featuring a virtual Q&A with director Todd Haynes. Other exclusive Drive-in presentations throughout the Festival include Michael Pearce’s thriller Encounter, starring Oscar-nominated actors Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer, and The Harder They Fall, an action-packed revenge Western from Jeymes Samuel and starring Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, with Regina King and Idris Elba.
All politics are local as the Chicago International Film Festival hosts the World Premieres of two documentary features about history-making mayors. In Mayor Pete, director Jesse Moss gives an inside look at Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, while Joe Winston’s Punch 9 for Harold Washington tells the story of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Both Moss and Winston will be in attendance.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Black Perspectives program, which showcases the excellence and diversity of films by African Americans and the African diaspora from around the world. Along with The Harder They Fall an Punch 9 for Harold Washington, the program features Citizen Ashe, a profile of groundbreaking tennis star and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe from co-directors Sam Pollard and Rex Miller; and a Special Presentation of Passing, the story of two high school friends whose reunion threatens their carefully constructed realities, for which actor-turned-director Rebecca Hall is receiving the Festival’s Artistic Achievement Award.
The 57th edition of the Chicago International Film Festival runs October 13 – 24, 2021. This year, the Festival expands to venues across Chicago, including AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; and the Gene Siskel Film Center; and presents exclusive drive-in screenings at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen; with special neighborhood pop-up screening events to be announced in the coming weeks. Virtual screenings, presented via the Festival’s streaming platform, are accessible across Illinois as well as to viewers in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.