Slideshow: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. Featured at 2019 Gene Siskel Film Center Gala

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Jon Favreau, recipent of the Siskel Center Renaissance Award.

CHICAGO – The annual Gene Siskel Film Center Gala – benefitting the cinema jewel of Chicago’s State Street – took place on June 15th, 2019, and packed some serious super heroism. Each year, the Center honors a special guest with their Renaissance Award, and the 2019 honor went to Jon Favreau. To interview the actor/director at the event was Robert Downey Jr., who just anchored Marvel Studios “Avengers: Endgame,” portraying Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Each year, the Siskel Center celebrates the art of film by honoring a filmmaker who advances the art of cinema. Past Renaissance Award honorees have included some of the most respected actors and directors working in the film industry today, such as Michael Mann, Nicole Kidman, George Lucas, Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Ethan Hawke.

“Jon Favreau is a longtime friend of the Film Center, and supports its mission of celebrating the work of diverse, trailblazing directors, international cultures and classic cinema,” said Siskel Center Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin.  “Since getting his start at Chicago’s improv theaters, he has become one of Hollywood’s most prominent figures, and his most recent accomplishment was serving as the executive producer of ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ which, this past weekend, shattered all previous box office records world-wide.  He is also an accomplished actor, a gifted director and superb cinematic storyteller.”

It’s a natural that Robert Downey Jr. would interview Favreau, as they go back to the first “Iron Man” film in 2008. Downey has made over 80 films in his long career, including “Weird Science,” “Less Than Zero,” “Chances Are,” “Chaplin” “Natural Born Killers,” “Sherlock Holmes” and the Marvel films. Jon Favreau has become a top tier director (“Jungle Book,” the upcoming “Lion King”), in addition to his acting credits of “Swingers,” “Made,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” “Chef” and the Marvel films, including the upcoming “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”’s photographer Joe Arce was on the Red Carpet at the June 15th gathering. 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. FAVDOWN1: Jon Favreau, recipent of the Siskel Center Renaissance Award.
  2. FAVDOWN2: Master of Ceremony Robert Downey Jr.
  3. FAVDOWN3: Robert Downey Jr. at the event in the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.
  4. FAVDOWN4: The Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award.

Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to Chicago audiences. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, as well as insightful discussions with filmmakers and media artists. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic Gene Siskel.

The Gene Siskel Film Center is located on 164 North State Street, Chicago. Click here for more information and upcoming screenings. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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