CIFF 2018 - Wrap-Up + Awards

summation by Jim Laczkowski

Well, another year has gone and past. I’m sure the members of the incredible crew behind this festival are already hard at work for next year, but members of the press can sit back and relax. Oh actually, now that awards season is upon us, there is no time for that either. Nevertheless, I was able to see a lot more than I did last year, but still not nearly everything I wanted to. Managing freelance gigs, a new day job, various projects and a social life is most definitely a juggling act, but I think life just becomes that particularly when you have a lot of passion for the arts in many forms. For me, CIFF 2018 brought a lot of highlights and memorable experiences throughout. I know I missed a couple of final day showings since a stomach bug had other plans. Regardless, it was a joy to experience the attendance of both William Friedkin and Carey Mulligan in addition to a series of short films presented together as “Meditations” which I reviewed at length. One memorable press screening of Transit will definitely stay with me, though I’m not sure if it’ll be considered for 2018 awards or not. I’m most definitely grateful for contributing writer Kate Blair and her content in particular, including reviews of many titles that I look forward to seeing myself. She did fantastic work and is grateful for the experience as well. I know there are still some reviews to come, including some titles that didn’t necessarily stick with me but for now, I wanted to showcase some of the winners and awards presented from another terrific year of the Chicago International Film Festival, an event I’ve been attending for over a decade, and look forward to seeing what’s in store for their 55th, under new management for the very first time. See you in 2019, and hopefully Kate and I will be able to cover even more if our lives allow us to!

 The great Deborah Stratman + Melika Bass discuss their incredible short film work for a Q&A.

The great Deborah Stratman + Melika Bass discuss their incredible short film work for a Q&A.

Presented by the reputable organization Cinema/Chicago, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America’s oldest competitive fest dedicated to movies. Though at one point, it was a bit surreal to hear William Friedkin in a documentary covering his work say that “art is not a competition.” Clearly he’s not a firm believer in labeling performances or films as winners or losers. Which I concur with completely. However, CIFF does embrace recognition of specific entries and allows a jury to distinguish who should be singled out this year. In addition to the Founder’s Award, the festival recognizes winners in a range of international film categories, plus a New Director and International and Documentary Short Film categories. In addition, the fest annually presents the Out-Look Competition, the Chicago Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Roger Ebert Award. For a complete list of winners and awards given this year, please click here.

Thank you again to the many volunteers as well as Alejandro Riera for all his hard work for the publicity team and press screenings, as well as granting credentials to Kate and myself. Had a memorable time and even got into a gala presentation that was sold out. Grateful to the individual who had an extra ticket. Hearing one of my favorite actresses (see photo below) talk about one of her very best performances was truly wonderful, and I’m glad my review of the film Wildlife, was retweeted by one of the writers, the very talented Zoe Kazan. Stay tuned for more film reviews from both Kate and myself to come!

 Carey Mulligan, flawless in the film  Wildlife  makes a memorable appearance at CIFF 2018.

Carey Mulligan, flawless in the film Wildlife makes a memorable appearance at CIFF 2018.

For all of the reviews / coverage presented by both Kate Blair and myself, click here.