Explore international offerings at 48th Chicago film festival

Chicago International Film FestivalThe 48th Chicago International Film Festival opens Thursday — and if you’re a regular moviegoer who enjoys independent world movies, the festival’s expansive list of movies and screening times is worth exploring.

You won’t see most of these flicks in a Red Box or in a commercial movie theater — but that doesn’t mean they are low-budget or B-raters.

These films offer beautiful shots, ambitious ideals, brave casts, eccentric story lines, exciting short films and documentaries relevant to our time. These are hand-selected movies, many involving Chicago-based filmmakers, actors and producers.

Thursday evening’s gala event highlights Chicago local Tom Rosenberg’s new production. The Harris Theater will host Hollywood A-list as the red carpet rolls out for Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin at the world premiere of “Stand Up Guys.” Rosenberg has produced an exhausting list of past work, including “Underworld” (2003), “Crank” (2006) and Academy Award Winning “Million Dollar Baby” (2004).

If you are looking for a big show and can’t make it to the opening, the festival’s Oct. 17 centerpiece might be for you: the Wachowskis’ (Chicago natives) new project, “Cloud Atlas.”

Steve James, Chicago producer of several highly successful documentaries including “Hoop Dreams” and “The Interrupters” (about UIC’s CeaseFire violence prevention program), will speak Oct. 23 on “his films, his ties to Chicago, and the state of documentary film in general.”

The festival ends Oct. 25 with a screening of Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington. If you are a fan of “Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” this is a film you should be excited about.

The festival offers free children’s movies for Chicago Public Schools students at 10 a.m. during weekdays at AMC River East 21.

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