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 chicagofilmfestival.com/festival/tickets.
11 movies you may or may not know were filmed in the Region
"Natural Born Killers"
One of the most famous scenes from the 1994 movie "Natural Born Killers" was shot in Hammond, specifically at the Hammond City Hall. The interior and exterior of the vintage 1930s building were used to recreate a city courtroom for a scene with Woody Harrelson's character plunging a knife into another man. Alas, much of the scene was cut from the final released film. The water towers in Calumet City can also be spotted in the movie.
The movie, starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis and Tom Sizemore, was released in 1994.
Aerial shots of U.S. Steel in Gary are used in "Pearl Harbor," although the shots are not intended to depict U.S. Steel but instead industrial Japan in 1942.
The movie, starring Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale and Josh Hartnett, was released in 2001.
The 1989 Christmas film classic "Prancer," is a claim-to-fame for LaPorte County. It's about an 8-year-old girl, played by young actress Rebecca Harrell, who rescues an injured deer, believing he is one of Santa's famous antler team. The movie's director John Hancock hails from LaPorte, Ind.
The movie, starring Sam Elliot, Cloris Leachman and Rutanya Alda, was released in 1989.
"Public Enemies" starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger was released in 2008. The film starred Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland residents for onscreen roles and was filmed in the Region, particularly in Crown Point.
The movie, starring Christian Bale, Johnny Depp and Christian Stolte, was released in 2009.
"Regionrat" was written and directed by Javier Reyna and stars Natassia Halabi and Connor Williams, who also starred in independent films like "UnMiracle" and "American Nobody."
The movie, released in 2018, is the indie film adaptation of Rich Laskowski's cult novel set in Northwest Indiana.
The movie "Rudy" was not only filmed at Notre Dame in South Bend, but there are also scenes that were shot in Whiting.
The movie, starring Sean Astin, Jon Favreau and Ned Beatty, was released in 1993.
Click here for more info from IMBD.
"Small Towns are Murder"
Actress Donna Burns readies for her close-up in "Small Towns Are Murder," filmed in Hammond's Mueller Hardware in November of 1987.
The film also stars Albert Julkes and Gerry Langedon.
The 1993 runaway hit "The Fugitive" included scenes filmed around East Chicago's steel mills and in Whiting.
The movie, starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones and Sela Ward, was released in 1993.
Production assistant Chris Albrecht quiets the crowd before filming starts on "The Package" in Dolton, Illinois, in December of 1988.
The movie, starring Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones and Joanna Cassidy, was released in 1989.
Adams Street in downtown Gary teems members of a film crew in 2010 during the shooting of "Transformers 3" at City Methodist Church in Gary. Scenes from the movie were filmed there.
The movie, starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Tyrese Gibson, was released in 2011.
“When Jeff Tried to Save the World”
"Napoleon Dynamite" star Jon Heder, "Parks and Recreation"'s Jim O’Heir and other Hollywood types have taken over Lan-Oak Lanes in Lansing to film the indie movie “When Jeff Tried to Save the World.”
The film crew scouted more than 40 bowling alleys in Los Angeles, but didn't find any with the right vintage look until former Munster resident and director Kendall Goldberg saw the 16-lane Lan-Oak Lanes, which still looks largely the way it did during the 1960s. The film crew has added an arcade and several neon signs, including a "Winky's World" one, for the filming.
The business news you need
With a weekly newsletter looking back at local history.