Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival will be rolling out its signature blue carpet at the Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center for the fourth year in a row, making the Palatine Park District facility the site of several Midwest premieres.
Over the course of eight days, the festival will present ore than 40 films from around the world of various genres. Following each film, audience members will have a chance to interact with the filmmakers either in-person or via Skype.
"One of the most exciting things technology has allowed our festival to do is have a Palatine resident and moviegoer ask a question to a French filmmaker sitting in his living room in Paris," says festival director and Palatine resident Michael Noens.
"We do our best to bring filmmakers out to spend time face-to- face with the audience, but when that's not financially feasible technology makes it possible. And the experience is incredible."
Noens founded the Palatine festival in 2010 with next to no funding or sponsorships. Now entering its fourth year, the festival continues to grow and is proud to present films like Bobcat Goldthwait's found footage horror film "Willow Creek" and "Close Quarters," a coffee-shop comedy directed by Chicago-based filmmaker Jack C. Newell.
Additionally, the festival will present the Midwest Premiere of a 2013 Sundance Film Festival award-winner, "Mother of George." Winner of best cinematography at Sundance this past January and led by acclaimed director Andrew Dosumnu, "Mother of George" will be the closing night film at the festival July 27.
The film stars Danai Gurira of AMC's hit series "The Walking Dead" and tells the story of a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn struggling over their inability to conceive a child.
The problem devastates their family and defies cultural expectations, leading the Adenike (played by Gurira) to make a shocking decision that could either save her family or destroy it.
"I'm excited to be bringing many different cultures to Palatine," says marketing director and Schaumburg resident Ashley France. "From Russia to Japan to Australia to the States, there's a little bit of everything."
Opening the festival will be the romantic comedy "Save the Date," presented in cooperation with IFC Films and directed by Los-Angeles based Michael Mohan.
"Save the Date" stars Lizzy Caplan (from Starz Entertainment series "Party Down") and Alison Brie (from NBC's "Community"). The film certainly does not lack talent, with writer/director Michael Mohan at its helm.
Mohan will be in attendance, as he will be honored with the festival's Independent Filmmaker Achievement Award for his accomplishments in the indie film community. Following the screening and award presentation, there will be a talk-back with Mohan.
"We're not all feature films either," said head of programming and Schaumburg resident Tony Schiavone. "We're screening more than 20 short films, as well as dedicating an entire night to music videos and live performances."
On July 24, the festival will be heading over to Palatine's Durty Nellie's for a taste of the indie music scene featuring music videos from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to Palatine's own Murley (formerly Murley Shertz).
Alongside the videos, Murley will be performing live on the Durty Nellie's stage, preceded by an acoustic set from Chris Petlak (better known as Social Media Chris on 101.9's Eric and Kathy Morning Show).
Noens is very excited about this year's documentary selections.
"We've got three documentary features and a handful of shorts, and they are absolutely riveting."
From an inspiring film following American musician Andrew Bird to a dramatic inside story exploring the monumental collision of interests at Ground Zero in the decade after 9/11.
"They'll leave you with your jaw hanging and an itch for reflective conversation."
There's a little bit of everything in store at the 2013 Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, which runs July 21-28. For details on the schedule of films, visit BWiFF.com. Programs are also available in the lobby of the Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, 150 E. Wood St., Palatine.
Tickets and passes are available in-person at the Cutting Hall Box Office (open Wednesday through Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.), as well as online at CuttingHall.org.
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