Slideshow: Portraits & Voices From the Red Carpet at 51st Chicago International Film Festival

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Sarah Silverman represented her new film, ‘I Smile Back.’

CHICAGO – The Red Carpet was well trod during the 51st Chicago International Film Festival. with film stars, directors and other personalities taking their walks in representing their films during the two weeks of the event. Photographer Joe Arce took the Exclusive Portraits, and Patrick McDonald got the soundbites.


Charlie Kaufman is the Oscar-nominated screenwriter known for his offbeat view of the world through films like “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” He presented his latest film at the Festival, “Anomalisa.” How would you describe yourself if someone asks you why you write the type of stories that you write?

Charlie Kaufman: I just try to be honest, because I think that’s my job description as a writer. I try to present something that is true, so I don’t further destroy the world with my work. I want to be careful because there is so much crap shoveled into the world every day through the business I work in, as well as marketing, politics and more.

I try to be vulnerable and present myself in the hope there is some truth that I can get to, that can make people less alone in the world, even if the story is about loneliness. So part of my thing is to be as naked as I can be in my writing.


The Chicago-born Ms. Pritzker is the Producer of such diverse films as “From Prada to Nada” (2011), the Oscar nominated “Drive” (2011), “The Way, Way Back” (2013), “Ender’s Game” (2013) and the Jon Stewart directed “Rosewater” (2014). Pritzker was honored during the festival’s “Industry Days.” How involved are you in the hometown Chicago film scene, are you keeping tabs on what is going on here, and do you plan to do anything here?

Pritzker: You know, every time we take on a film, I think can we shoot it in Chicago? I would love nothing more than to shoot it at home. We are getting closer on some things, we have a few TV projects that we’re trying to get off the ground, and we have a film we’re in contention for right now, and if we get it we hope to bring it here. I’m always trying, even though I haven’t done it yet.


Moore virtually needs no introduction, for his documentaries “Roger and Me,” “Bowling for Columbine” and the Oscar-winning “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He presented his latest provocative doc, “Where to Invade Next” at the Chicago International. Your documentaries often provoke extreme reactions. At what point in your career did you find you had to start watching your back?

Michael Moore: It happened about 20 seconds after I gave my Oscar speech in 2003. I never worried about anything before then, and afterward it came down like an avalanche. I actually started receiving death threats.


Ms. Riggen presented her latest film, “The 33,” at the festival. It’s the story of the rescue in 2010 of miners from Chile, the 33 men trapped underground for 69 days. There are overt expressions of faith in ‘The 33.’ What is your general approach when depicting a person of faith in a film?

Patricia Riggen: In the case of ‘The 33.’ it was just the truth that these men relied on faith – in God and their families – to survive. The real story had a lot of faith. I was raised in the Catholic faith, and I understand the culture behind it. Faith-based movies are also the ones being green lit right now.


Egoyan is a Canadian filmmaker known for both cult films and memorable cinematic experiences like “Exotica,” “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Chloe.” Mr. Egoyan presented his latest film, “Remember,” at the film festival. There seems to be a theme of redemption in many of your films. What is your idea of redemption and how do we maintain the path toward it?

Atom Egoyan: It involves a degree of empathy, first and foremost, being able to understand how someone is feeling about something. What we are taught in our Western tradition is to treat others as you treat yourself. There are, however, a lot of people who would not want to be treated as you treat yourself. [laughs] That strikes me as narcissistic. But to wrap your head around that, is fundamental in understanding the true nature of empathy.


Haynes presented his latest film, “Carol,” at the film festival, and like his earlier film “Far From Heaven” it is set in the 1950s. The director of the infamous “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story,” “Velvet Goldmine,” “Safe” and “I’m Not There,” he provides a variety of perspectives through his art. You have one of the most infamous films in pop culture history, ‘Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.’ With the passage of time and your reputation, have you ever run into Richard Carpenter to talk out his issues with this film?

Todd Haynes: No I haven’t. I should do it, I always bring it up to my lawyer every now and then. [laughs]. And another reason we have to revisit it is because there is a restoration going on right now for the film through UCLA and Sundance.

I hope it’s water under the bridge, but Richard Carpenter is a complicated individual. He’s also entitled to his own opinion on how his sister is depicted. The film has lived on and survived, and ultimately is an affectionate celebration of Karen Carpenter.

Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

  1. CIFF1:Sarah Silverman represented her new film, ‘I Smile Back.’
  2. CIFF2:Sarah Silverman was awarded the ‘Breakthrough Performance’ for ‘I Smile Back.’
  3. CIFF3: Composer and Oscar winner Howard Shore.
  4. CIFF4: Howard Shore honored with a Gold Hugo Career Achievement Award.
  5. CIFF5: Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman presented his new film ‘Anomalisa.’
  6. CIFF6: Co-Director Duke Johnson of ‘Anomalisa.’
  7. CIFF7:Producer Gigi Pritzker was honored during ‘Industry Days’ at the festival.
  8. CIFF8: Michael Moore presented his new film ‘Where to Invade Next.’
  9. CIFF9: Michael Moore received the Founder’s Award for ‘Where to Invade Next.’
  10. CIFF10: Carl Deal, producer of ‘Where to Invade Next.’
  11. CIFF11: Director Michael Moore and producer Carl Deal.
  12. CIFF12: Director Patricia Riggen of ‘The 33.’
  13. CIFF13: Director Charles Burnett was honored at Black Perspectives night.
  14. CIFF14: Director Charles Burnett with his Career Achievement Award.
  15. CIFF15: Actor Richard Brooks, featured in Charles Burnett’s ‘To Sleep with Anger.’
  16. CIFF16: Director Atom Egoyan presented his new film ‘Remember.’
  17. CIFF17: Producer Ari Lantos and director Atom Egoyan of ‘Remember.’
  18. CIFF18: Director Todd Haynes presented his new film ‘Carol.’

The Chicago International Film Festival is presented by Cinema/Chicago, a year round advocate for local and international film. Check out all the 2015 Festival highlights by clicking here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2015 Patrick McDonald,

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