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Chicago International Film Festival now online and at a drive-in

Chicago International Film Festival now online and at a drive-in

Chicago International Film Festival now online and at a drive-in

The Chicago International Film Festival pivoted to online and drive-in screenings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chicago International Film Festival, one of Chicago's premier fall cultural events, returns this year during the coronavirus pandemic with online and drive-in screenings.

On Wednesday, the 56th Chicago International Film Festival — North America's longest-running competitive film festival that normally takes place at AMC River East 21 at the border of Chicago's River North and Streeterville neighborhoods — kicked off with the world premiere of "Belushi," a documentary about the late comedy legend John Belushi of "The Blues Brothers," "Animal House," and "Saturday Night Live" fame. It will screen eight films at the ChiTown Movies Drive-In at 2343 S. Throop St. in Pilsen through Oct. 25.

Screenings include "Ammonite," starring Kate Winslet, Spike Lee’s "David Byrne’s American Utopia," Regina King’s "One Night in Miami," Justin Simien’s "Bad Hair," the genre movie "The Dark and the Wicked" and the Chicago film "The Road Up."

The film festival will conclude with the Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner "Nomadland," which stars Oscar winner Frances McDormand.

“This year, everything about the festival experience is new, fresh and reimagined, and that includes the addition of the drive-in screenings,” Chicago International Film Festival Artistic Director Mimi Plauché said. “We’re thrilled to be able to present this amazing lineup of films on the big screen outside, rounding out the Festival with Chloe Zhao’s masterful and moving 'Nomadland.' Each night at the drive-in will offer audiences a unique cinematic experience, from the exquisite 'Ammonite' and the raucous 'Bad Hair' to the inspiring 'The Road Up' and Spike Lee’s transcendent 'American Utopia.'”

Tickets to the drive-in screenings are $60 per cars for members and $75 for non-members. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with screenings starting at 6:30 p.m.

For more information or tickets, visit

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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