Chicago International Film Festival - BlogPhoto Courtesy of Chicago International Film Festival

From October 11-25, the 48th Annual Chicago International Film Festival comes to Chicago. It is the longest running competitive film festival in North America and is "dedicated to fostering better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image." That's right folks, they're talking about movies and in Chicago, we love them.

Where?

All films will be screened at one theatre AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois). For a full schedule of films, click here.

Insider Tip: Hold on to your ticket stub! In years past, local restaurants have offered discounted food items and free beverages with proof of attendance. 

How do I buy tickets?

Individual tickets will be made available after September 24, and can be purchased online by, clicking here.

To buy tickets, you must place a reservation at least 24 hours in advance. Phone orders can be made by calling 1-312-332-FILM or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-982-2787.

Insider Tip: Buy tickets in advance. Last year almost 75% of CIFF shows sold out. Don't be left holding a bag of popcorn in the lobby, have a plan.

Who will be there?

Keep your eyes out for celebrities strolling down the streets of Chicago during the festival. An article from the Chicago Tribune reports that Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin will all be on hand to promote their film, "Stand Up Guys" which premiers and kicks off the 48th Annual Chicago International Film Festival at the Harris Theatre on October 11th.  Julianna Margulies will also be present. The film is produced and directed by Chicagoans and won't be fully released until early 2013. 

Chicagoans in the Festival:

Don't miss the hearbreaking story of "Benji" a documentary about high school basketball standout Benjamin Wilson. The Simeon High School star was the No. 1 player in the nation before a tragic story ended his road to superstardom. The film will be featured in ESPN's prominent documentary series 30 for 30.

The Festival's Centerpiece Selection, "Cloud Atlas" was directed by Chicagoans Lana & Andy Wachowski. With its $100M budget, Cloud Atlas is the most expensive independent film ever made. The highly anticipated science-fiction movie is based on the '04 novel of a murderer turned savior by a single act of kindness.

Another must-see, locally produced documentary comes filmmakers Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross. "The Believers" tells the story of Martin Fleischmann's and Stanley Pons' discovery of "cold fusion."