The Chicago International Film Festival’s 59th iteration will screen at 8 locations in Chicago commencing October 11th. In a preview of the full range of offerings on September 18th at the AMC Newcity Theatres on North Clyburn Avenue.

Other venues where films will be screened this year include the historic Music Box Theater, the Chicago History Museum, the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, and some other pop-up venues on the South and West sides of the city.

In other years, nearly all films have been shown at a central location, the AMC Theater on Illinois. I learned that I could make it from my condo to the venue in about fifteen minutes, but the cost of parking has exceeded the cost of tickets in recent years. It appears that the large AMC Theater may have priced itself out of the market. I was also told that they are renovating the theater (and removing many seats), which had been all the buzz before the pandemic hit, i.e., will the AMC go belly-up as a result of their ambitious upgrading plans and the costs of same at a bad time, historically. I was told that the AMC New City Theater had previously existed under a different owner and was snapped up by AMC.

While it took me over an hour to drive from the Field Museum to the North Clyburn Avenue location for a 6:30 p.m. meeting (i.e., during Rush Hour), I was able to park for free on the street and there are restaurants within the New City complex that could make killing time between films much easier. There weren’t many good places near the large AMC complex, and the good ones like P.J. O’Rourkes often closed.

I went back to the beginning of my Weekly Wilson blog and found reviews from 2007 on. I think I actually reviewed cinema offerings earlier than that, but not on my own blog. Now, of course, I publish here and on The Movie Blog.

Director Mimi Plauche and Sir Henry Branagh at the Music Box Theater on Opening Night of his film “Belfast.”

This year, the panels picking what we will be able to see reviewed 7,500 films before boiling it down to 57 offerings. There were 5,500 short films that were viewed to narrow the offering to 99 shorts. The films came in from 123 countries and the Opening Night film will be “We Grown Now,” directed by Minhal Baig and starring Jurnee Smollett as Dolores, the mother of a young Black boy in the Cabrini-Green Housing Project who must decide whether to stay or move away.

Tickets this year run $35 for Opening/Closing Nights, and $23 for Special Presentations. A general screening, if you are a member of Cinema Chicago, is $18 and $22 if you are not a Cinema Chicago member.

It is my fervent hope that the parking this year will be cheaper, as it had really gotten out of hand last year.