The stars were out in force for the opening night of the 47th Chicago International Film Festival. The evening began with the premiere of "The Last Rites of Joe May" at the Harris Theatre at Millennium Park.
Chicago connections were prominent with hometown actor, former Chicago cop and star of the film Dennis Farina walking the red carpet along with cast members Gary Cole (a Park Ridge native), Jamie Anne Allman, Chelcie Ross, Ian Barford and writer/director Joe Maggio. Special guest Billy Zane (another Chicago actor who was set to appear as a mob boss in the ill-fated "The Playboy Club" series) also stopped by to wish his fellow stars the best.
Emcee and award-winning journalist Bill Kurtis and Jeanne Malkin, chairwoman of the Cinema Governing Board, welcomed the crowd of 1,200.
The powerfully acted film about an aging hustler's unfulfilled dreams was shot on Chicago's West Side and produced by Farina's production company, You're Faded, along with Steppenwolf Films.
After the premiere, 850 people attended the after-party at the Sidney Yates Gallery in the Chicago Cultural Center, lit up by pulsing strobe lights.
The film fest runs through Thursday and introduces 40 first-time filmmakers and premieres 180 films from 55 countries at AMC River East. I was proud to be a co-chairwoman, with film fest board member Rich Varnes. Proceeds from the evening support Cinema/Chicago's year-round programs that bring more than 5,000 kids from Chicago's public schools into theaters to expose them to new cultures and thought-provoking subjects.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.
Click here to see photos from the events.
Find Candace Jordan's blog at CandidCandace.com.