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  WINDY CITY TIMES

The Chicago International Film Fest's OutLook Series: Bigger, better, bolder in 2022
by Jerry Nunn
2022-10-24

This article shared 1154 times since Mon Oct 24, 2022
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The Chicago International Film Festival has presented moving pictures from around the world to the public for 58 years after being founded in 1964 by openly gay graphic artist Michael Kutza. During Oct. 12=23, cinephiles were treated to a diverse selection of films and this year's campaign, "Life Subtitled," covered the accessibility of stories to all audiences.

The festivities began with a bang as the ChiFilmFest Block Party took over the surrounding area outside the Music Box Theatre for five hours with live music, food, beverages and activities.

Music Box was just one of several places where screenings and talkbacks were held along with AMC Rivers East 21, Chicago History Museum and Gene Siskel Film Center.

There were free screenings at two new Chicago Park District venues this year with King of Kings: Chasing Edward Jones at the Hamilton Park Cultural Center; and Shorts 7: Sudden Waves at Austin Town Hall. King of Kings—is the story of Edward Jones, who ran an illegal lottery—won the Chicago award. Jones' granddaughter, Harriet Marin Jones, directed the film.

The programming for 2022 included master classes with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky before a screening of The Whale, in which he directed actor Brendan Fraser, who plays a gay, 600-pound English teacher struggling to survive after his lover dies. Aronofsky told Windy City Times that out screenplay writer Samuel D. Hunter "injected his heart and soul plus some of his own stories into the character of Charlie. There has not been someone like this shown on the screen before and now Charlie feels like my own family. I hope everyone gets to know this character as I have."

A24 Films is releasing The Whale as well as several other LGBTQ+-themed projects at the film festival such as The Inspection, which comes out Nov. 18. In Elegance Bratton's personal story openly gay actor Jeremy Pope plays a gay man who joins the marines to appease his homophobic mother portrayed by Gabrielle Union. (More information about The Inspection is at www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Real-life-based-gay-military-movie-The-Inspection-coming-out-Nov-18/73821.html .)

This year's OutLook series featured films with LGBTQ+ interest such as Alis, a story about life in a Colombian youth shelter; and Monica, about a woman returning to her childhood home to take care of her dying mother.

A local OutLook offering brought Sidetrack owners Art Johnston and Jose 'Pepe' Pena to the red carpet at AMC Rivers East 21 to talk about the duo's documentary, Art and Pep. Johnston mentioned that he would like more people to realize the powerful stories that can be found in Chicago as depicted in this film and Pena confessed the hardest part for him personally was to shoot the private moments at home. Film director Mercedes Kane said they began filming Art and Pep in November 2019 and past owner Rocco Dinverno had a video camera that supplied much of the early footage of the bar. She stated, "Art and Pep's love is so inspiring and the root of the story. These are two men who didn't set out to be activists but have changed the world."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot hadn't seen her debut in Art and Pep until this public screening and confessed she was a little nervous: "I hope my hair is okay and my makeup is right, but I am just thrilled for Art and Pep. This is a labor of love for them and they can finally see it premiere tonight at this film festival."

Lightfoot went on to reminisce about her appearance in the past at Sidetrack's Outspoken event. "It was a monumental day for me because Rahm Emmanuel announced he would not be running for reelection. Not only did that open up opportunities for me but opened up the floodgates for others. When I took the stage that night I had all of that on my mind. It is a scary thing to open up yourself to others, but I truly enjoyed the experience."

Singer Harry Styles' latest vehicle, My Policeman, also screened as part of the OutLook series and covers a closeted relationship between a policeman named Tom, played by Styles, and a museum curator named Patrick.

Emmy-nominated actress Kathryn Hahn popped into the Music Box Theatre on October 18 to accept a Career Achievement Award before the local premiere of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery where she plays the character of Claire Debella. She described Claire as "the governor of the state of California who wears a lot of beige. She has a limited palette clothing-wise!"

Later in the week before a showing of the ALS documentary No Ordinary Campaign, executive producer Katie Couric reflected on her LGBTQ+ advocacy work over the years such as interviewing Jim Obergefell during the legalization of same-sex marriage. She said, "It was a real honor to tell his story and see things change for couples all across the country. Talking to Matthew Sheperd's family also meant a lot to me. I hope my documentary Gender Revolution helped people understand what being transgender really means. As an ally, I have tried to learn and have a deeper understanding of these issues. They have been some of the most important stories I have done."

Belgium's Close closed out the festival on Sunday, October 23 after receiving the Gold Hugo award in the OutLook Competition. The complicated story from sophomore director Lukas Dhont about two 13-year-old best friends Leo and Remi apparently hit home with the voters and jury.

With that, the 58th edition of North America's longest-running competitive international film festival drew the curtain closed before its year-round programming would begin again. For upcoming events and future screenings visit ChicagoFilmFestival.com .


This article shared 1154 times since Mon Oct 24, 2022
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