John C. Reilly, Jennifer Reeder Highlight 60th Anniversary Gala for Chicago International Film Festival

The 60th edition of the Chicago International Film Festival will arrive in this October, but first, the storied institution will present its annual gala, with very special guests taking center stage. Oscar nominated actor and Chicago native John C. Reilly, whose vast career includes everything from Boogie Nights to madcap comedy Talladega Nights to the indie thriller Hard Eight, will be honored at the gala, as will critically acclaimed Chicago filmmaker Jennifer Reeder.

Reilly, an Oscar nominee for the 2002 film version of the musical “Chicago,” participated in previous Chicago film festival editions, including a 2011 Master Class. In a statement, the DePaul University graduate described the festival as “a great friend and supporter to films and filmmakers all the way along in its 60-year history and to me personally. I’m honored to be celebrated by this legacy institution and everything and everyone it represents.”

Reilly fans will enjoy this mashup of memorable funny moments from the actor, courtesy of MovieClips…

Also featured at the gala, filmmaker and educator Jennifer Reeder receives the festival’s Tour de Force award in recognition of her critically acclaimed genre explorations, including Perpetrator, which debuted at Berlinale last year before a sold-out Chicago Premiere at the Music Box last August.

In this interview from IonCinema, Reeder discuss her career path and her latest thriller, Perpetrator…

The festivities will be hosted by legendary newsman Al Roker. “Cinema/Chicago has spent the last 60 years bringing innovative year-round programming to the people of Chicago, and helped cement Chicago as a destination for filmmakers and film lovers alike,” said Al Roker. “The 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée celebrates an incredible history, from Bette Davis, Martin Scorcese, and François Truffaut, to Emerald Fennell, and offers a glimpse of what cinema will present to the world in the next 60 years to come. Grab your popcorn, who knows what’s going to happen!” 

The event, which celebrates the diamond anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival and its incredible history and impact on Chicago’s culture of film, will be held Saturday, June 1, 2024, at the Geraghty, located at 2520 S. Hoyne Ave. Limited tickets are available at www.chicagofilmfestival.com

The annual event raises funds for year-round programming, including the Chicago International Film Festival, the longest-running competitive festival in North America celebrating its 60th edition October 16 – 27, 2024; CineYouth, which showcases the work of filmmakers age 22 and younger; the Chicago Industry Exchange Lab (CIX:Lab), a year-long feature film development lab for Illinois filmmakers with a focus on BIPOC, women, and non-binary filmmakers; Industry Days, the annual conference that serves as a hub for filmmakers and industry professionals; the Community Cinema program, which presents free film screenings in neighborhoods including Englewood and Pilsen; and the 20th annual Summer Screenings program, this year presenting work from women filmmakers from 19 countries around the world who have had their films screened at the Chicago International Film Festival.

“Our legacy as the longest-running competitive film festival in North America would not be possible without the support of countless private and public partnerships throughout the years,” said Vivian Teng, Managing Director of Cinema/Chicago. “That support has cemented Chicago as a cultural hub for cinematic excellence, and grown our community of filmmakers and cinephiles. Now, more than ever, that investment needs to continue as a resource for Chicago and its more than 50 film festivals already in operation here.”

“Through our year-round programming, Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival proudly and purposefully bring storytelling from around the world to audiences here at home,” said Cinema/Chicago Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “This year’s Cinema Soirée is an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments while building for our next 60 years.”

The 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée Committee is chaired by Brenda Robinson and includes Chaz EbertSonia EvansJason Delane Lee and Yvonne Huff Lee, and Gigi Pritzker and Cinema/Chicago Board members Charles Droege (Board Chair), Lee Blackwell BaurJacolyn BucksbaumPhilip ClementJon Harris, and Bill Melamed.

“There has never been a more crucial time to celebrate and support cinema in Chicago,” said Cinema Soirée Chair Brenda Robinson, executive producer of films including Rebecca Hall’s PASSING and the Rev. Al Sharpton documentary LOUDMOUTH. “Cinema/Chicago represents the best Chicago has to offer, an iconic institution serving a vibrant, robust film community. And indeed, Cinema/Chicago and its programming brings the best world cinema has to offer to our communities, year-round.”

The 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée will feature a look back at the films and filmmakers who have graced Chicago International Film Festival red carpets and events over six decades of programming.

For more information, visit Cinema/Chicago’s website at https://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/.

Photo Credit: John C. Reilly by John Bauld, used under CC BY 2.0, cropped from original.

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