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October 11, 2004

The Down Low:
Chicago International Film Festival

BY
DAVID VIGGIANO

The Chicago International Film Festival is celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year and it's bigger and better than ever. Quite a turn around from just a few short years ago when the rumors were flying that the festival was going to fold. Festival founder and artistic director, Michael Kutza has weathered many storms and taken lots of criticism for how he has run the organization, but he keeps bouncing back, and this year has created quite an impressive line up.

In the first week he has already brought in Liam Neeson, Annette Bening, Christopher Walken, Bryan Singer (director of the X-Men films), and Bill Condon (director of "Gods and Monsters"). And there's much more to come. Ron Howard, Irma P. Hall, Robert Townsend, Tom Hanks, and Robert Zemeckis will also be taking part in discussions and screenings over the next two weeks.

In addition to all the star power, the festival boasts a strong line-up of GBLT films this year.
Here are some to consider:

Chicago International Film Festival
"Bear Cub"
Perhaps the first movie to introduce the bear culture to the mainstream cinema, this Spanish feature is getting raves. It charmingly redefines family values as the central character abandons multiple partners for instant parenting when he takes in his 9 year old nephew. A must see.
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark
Sunday, October 10th - 8:45PM
Monday, October 11th - 4:30PM
Tuesday, October 12th - 9:00PM

Chicago International Film Festival
"Brother to Brother"
Part of the Black Perspective Series, this film follows a young, gay, black artist on the verge of making it big who's dealing with homophobia from his classmates and rejection from his father. This film was the winner of the Sundance Special Jury Prize earlier this year.
AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois
Monday, October 18th - 7:00PM
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark
Wednesday, October 20th - 9:30PM

Chicago International Film Festival
"Outing Riley"
This is the second film from Chicago native, Pete Jones (the first winner of the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck, "Project Greenlight") It's a light romantic-comedy about a gay man who has hidden his sexuality from his Catholic family. After 30-something years in the closet, he finally decides to come out. There's just one problem... nobody believes him.
AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois
Tuesday, October 12th - 9:30 PM
AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois
Wednesday, October 13th - 04:30 PM

Chicago International Film Festival
"The Journey"
The only lesbian-themed film in the festival, this story centers on two childhood friends who become inseparable. One starts to have an attraction to the other who's being pursued by a boy. When the girls acknowledge their feelings for each other, the parents freak out and organize an arranged marriage to keep them apart.
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark
Tuesday, October 19th - 9:00 PM
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark
Wednesday, October 20th - 6:45 PM
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark
Thursday, October 21st - 3:30 PM

For more information on these and all of the films and events in this year's festival go to ChicagoFilmFestival.com.

 
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