DAY NINE Podtalk: Haroula Rose of ‘Once Upon a River’ at 55th Chicago International Film Fest

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CHICAGO – A Chicago director comes into focus with her debut film, “Once Upon a River” with a prime time screening on Friday, October 25th, 2019, at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival. Haroula Rose is a local filmmaker and notable musician who shot this film in Antioch, Illinois.

Director Haroula Rose (front) and Author Bonnie Jo Campbell of ‘Once Upon a River’
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for

The Chicago International Film Festival Celebrates DAY NINE of the Windy City movie spectacular. Today is the day for the short films programs SHORTS 8 (“Histories”) and 9 (“Building Something Out of Nothing”). Feature highlights include MATERNAL, Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN (rush tickets only) and THE FIRST RAINBOW COALITION. Click here for a complete rundown of DAY NINE screenings and events.

“Once Upon a River” is a journey. After her father’s violent death, Native American teenager Margo Crane (Kenadi DelaCerna) flees down Michigan’s Stark River in search of her estranged mother. On the way, she encounters allies, enemies, danger, and the beauty of nature, all while coming to grips with her past and her own identity. The film is an evocative marriage of “Winter’s Bone” and “Huckleberry Finn.”

’Once Upon a River’ at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival
Photo credit:

In PART ONE of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of, director Haroula Rose and source novel author Bonnie Jo Campbell talk about “Once Upon a River” the book and the film, and how the main character was interpreted in each medium.

In PART TWO, director Rose and novelist Campbell talk about the main character in the context of her survival instinct, and what advice they’d give her if they had lunch together.

”Once Upon a River” will have two more screenings at the film festival; October 25th (8:15pm) and October 26th (noon). Director Haroula Rose, Bonnie Jo Campbell and various cast members will attend all screenings on behalf of the film. The 55th Chicago International Film Festival takes place October 16th to October 27th, 2019. Click here for film schedules, information and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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