Film News: ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ is Top Film at 55th Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – The Chicago International Film Festival is competitive, and the 55th edition presented its awards on October 25th, 2019, at CHEZ venue in Chicago. The winner of the Gold Hugo as Best International Film was “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (France), directed by Céline Sclamma.

The 55th Chicago International Film Festival Awards Night was October 25th, 2019
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for

The awards were presented by the various jury members in each film category, and were hosed by Artistic Director Mimi Plauché, Managing Director Vivian Teng, as well as programmers Anthony Kaufman and Sam Flancher. The Festival’s highest honor is the Gold Hugo, named for the mythical God of Discovery.

StarInternational Feature Film Competition

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire,’ (France) Directed by Céline Sclamma
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo for Best Film: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” (France) Directed by Céline Sclamma 

The Silver Hugo – Special Jury Award: “Vitalina Varela” (Portugal), directed by Pedro Costa

The Silver Hugo – Best Director: Maya Da-Rin of “The Fever”

The Silver Hugo – Best Actor: Bartosz Bielenia of “Corpus Christi” (Poland/France)

The Silver Hugo – Best Actress: Debbie Honeywood of “Sorry We Missed You”

The Silver Plaque – Best Cinematography: Vladimir Smutny of “The Painted Bird” (Czech Republic/Ukraine/Slovak Republic)

The Silver Plaque – Best Screenplay: Pema Tseden of “Balloon” (China)

The Silver Plaque – Best Sound Design: “Fire Will Come” (Spain/France/Luxembourg)

StarNew Directors Competition

'Ligante,' Directed by Franco Lolli
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo: Director Franco Lolli of “Litigante” (France/Columbia)

The Silver Hugo Director Gitanjali Rao of “Bombay Rose” (India/UK/Qatar/France)

The Silver Hugo Director César Díaz of “Our Mothers” (Guatemala/Belgium/France)

The Roger Ebert Award for New Directors Director Maryam Touzani of “Adam” (Morocco/France/Belgium)

StarDocumentary Competition

‘Love Child’ (Denmark), directed by Eva Mulhad
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo: “ Love Child” (Denmark), directed by Eva Mulhad

The Silver Hugo: “Ringside” (Germany/USA), directed by André Hormann

Special Mention: “Waiting for the Carnival” (Brazil), directed by Marcelo Gomes

StarGold Q Award (LBGTQ Films)

‘And Then We Danced’ (Georgia/Sweden/France), directed by Levan Akin
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo: “And Then We Danced” (Georgia/Sweden/France), directed by Levan Akin

The Silver Hugo: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” (France), directed by Céline Sclamma

Special Mention: “Knives and Skin” (USA), directed by Jennifer Reeder

StarChicago Award

‘Tour Manager’ (USA, Chicago) Directed by Ed Flynn
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

StarShort Film Competition

‘Liberty’ (USA), directed by Karen Humes
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

The Gold Hugo – Narrative: “Liberty” (USA), directed by Karen Humes

The Silver Hugo – Narrative: “Aziza” (Syria/Lebanon), directed by Soudade Kaadan

The Gold Hugo – Documentary: “Easter Snap” (USA), directed by RaMell Ross

The Silver Hugo – Documentary: “The Furniture Maker” (Cuba), directed by David Avilés

The Gold Hugo – Animated: “And Then the Bear” (France), directed by Agnès Patron

The Silver Hugo – Animated: “I Bleed” (Brazil), directed by Tiago Minamisawa, Bruno H Castro, Guto BR

StarThe Founder’s Award

The Founder’s Award: “The Irishman” (USA), directed by Martin Scorsese – Presented by Candice Jordan on behalf of Festival Founder Michael Kutza

The 55th Chicago International Film Festival takes place through October 27th, 2019. THE BEST OF THE FEST, celebrating the award winners of the festival, will be on Sunday, October 27th. Click here for films, film schedules, information and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald,

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