49th Chicago International Film Festival Opening Night Dedicated to Roger Ebert

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The 49th Chicago International Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, October 10th, with a an opening night gala to be held at the Chicago Theatre and with a special dedication to Roger Ebert.

The event is scheduled to include a short video tribute to Roger, who considered the festival “an adornment to our city,” and an event that introduced him to Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbender and Werner Herzog, and saw many collaborations with Roger including discussions featuring George Cukor, Sydney Pollack and Alan Parker.

“Roger has been an intergral part of the Chicago International Film Festival from its earliest days,” said Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza, adding “He long supported our mission of introducing Chicago moviegoers to the newest and brightest filmmakers from around the world.”

The festival, a Chicago institution, cultural conduit for local moviegoers and increasingly important stop for both emerging local filmmakers and high-profile industry mavericks here to share their latest works with our discerning audiences, takes over the city from October 10 – 24. With an impressive line-up of international cinema, special events and guest tributes, this year’s roster also features an array of narrative, documentary, stylistic and geographical diversity featuring something for everyone, whether casual moviegoer or cineaste.

The festival is one of Chicago’s world-class profile-raisers, a bedrock annual mainstay and two weeks known across the world as the place where real movie fans (not merely rank-and-file bloggers and studio marketing execs looking to handicap Oscar hopefuls as other fests attract) come out to share in the special, communal experience of seeing great cinema with like-minded film lovers, an experience increasingly threatened by today’s rising on-demand market.  The Chicago International Film Festival audience, unencumbered by cell phones, texting and other distractions, make movies and moviemakers a priority, a buffet for ticketholders willing to be captured by, and surrender to, scores of great movies from around the globe.

ChicagoFilm will be bringing you updates throughout the festival on some key films and happenings underway, including several can’t-miss events like the arrival of legendary Bruce Dern next week, bringing his lauded new Alexander Payne picture, Nebraska, to town; a special tribute to local filmmaker George Tillman, Jr.; and a strong finish featuring rising star Oscar Isaac, someone we’ll be hearing a lot more from based on early notices for his work in Inside Llewyn Davis, the highly-anticipated new Joel and Ethan Coen take on the Greenwich Village folk music scene in 1961, coming to the festival for closing night.

Thursday evening’s red carpet opener will feature Bill Kurtis and filmmaker James Gray (Two Lovers), on hand to discuss his new picture, The Immigrant, starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner and set in the seemy 1921 milieu of Manhattan’s mean streets, where a Polish immigrant (Cotillard) suffers some very hard knocks en route to the American Dream.

For more information and tickets, visit Chicagofilmfestival.com.

The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

6:00 PM: Red carpet arrivals
7:00 PM: Guest presentation with host, award-winning journalist Bill Kurtis, and screening of Opening Night feature film

9:30 PM – 11:30 PM: Cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres. Business attire. Wristband required for entry.

Preston Bradley Hall
The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

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