Your First Look at Five New Chicago Features In Development for 2022

As we look ahead to 2022, there are five Illinois features in the works that deserve a spot on your radar. Let’s take a look…

The 57th Chicago International Film Festival has announced a slate of five narrative feature film projects in active development that have been selected for CIX: Lab, a new year-long creative development program under the Festival’s Chicago Industry Exchange banner

After receiving close advising and preparation throughout the year, the projects will be unveiled publicly at The Pitch at Industry Days at the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival. There, filmmakers will pitch their projects in front of a live audience and a panel of industry judges as well as have private meetings with producers, financiers, and distributors.

Past projects from The Pitch at Industry Days have gone on to completion, including Jennifer Reeder’s films SIGNATURE MOVE and KNIVES AND SKIN, and Haroula Rose’s ONCE UPON A RIVER (here’s a look at Haroula’s festival fave in case you missed its prolific run)…

This year’s CIX: Lab filmmakers represent a diversity of voices and styles that continue to reinforce the breadth and vitality of Chicago-area filmmakers and projects: from a queer comedy to a Kafkaesque story of racism and incarceration, to a horror film set at a music academy to dramas about a Korean-American mother and son as well as the travails of a teenage girl from Chicago’s south side. See below for loglines.

“After many years of giving filmmakers a platform through The Pitch, we’re very excited to give them more in-depth and substantive support for their projects through CIX: Lab,” said Chicago International Film Festival Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman. “At next year’s pitch event, I’m sure they’ll be more than ready to go and make some incredible Chicago-made films.”

For its inaugural year, CIX: Lab has recruited an impressive group of local creative advisors, who will help shepherd the projects through the program. This year’s advisors are all veteran Chicago International Film Festival filmmakers: Malik Bader (CASH ONLY), Stephen Cone (PRINCESS CYD), Kyle Henry (ROGERS PARK), Jennifer Reeder (KNIVES AND SKIN), and Erica Weiss (THE VIEW FROM TALL).

Here are the five feature films comprising the inaugural CIX: Lab:

Directors Andre Muir, Curtis Matzke, James Choi, McKenzie Chinn, Hannah Welever lead the inaugural CIX: Lab


When a black man, Jamal, is arrested out of nowhere, he is forced to survive and navigate a surreal draconian prison system where neither the cause of his arrest nor the nature of the subsequent judicial proceedings are ever made clear to him, eventually propelling him down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia, disillusionment and violence. Hilarity ensues.

Writer/Director: Andre Muir
Co-Writer: Jake Hutton


A young college student finds herself terrorized by a group of undead musicians whose spirits are attached to an old instrument. Based on the short film of the same title.
Writer/Director: Curtis Matzke
Executive Producer: Nate Gilbert


After an overdose sends Paul to the hospital, his spirited Korean-American Mother, So-Ri, is determined to reconnect with her son and help him with his depression through an exotic South Korean ritual that promises to deliver people from their despair.
Writer/Director: James Choi
Producer: Judi Krant


Queer best friends Gwen and Gordon moonlight as a straight couple to survive a family reunion. 
Writer/Director: Hannah Welever


A bright teenager in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side discovers the power and beauty of true friendship when her illicit relationship with a teacher is discovered amid the final weeks of her senior year in high school.
Writer/Director: McKenzie Chinn
Producer: Lisa Masseur

To register for the Chicago International Film Festival’s Industry Days, visit https://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/festival/industry-days. For more information about The Pitch at Industry Days, please visit our website at https://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/festival/industry-days/the-pitch/

CIX: Lab is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

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