Chicago International Film Festival 2017: three films with local roots

The 2017 Chicago International Film Festival is screening three U.S. Indies with Chicago roots this year. “Blueprint,” “Chasing the Blues” and “Rogers Park” all frame different neighborhoods in the city.

All three made their World Premieres at the fest and are worth seeing. In addition, 9 out of 53 films in the Shorts category have Chicago roots (you can see eight of these in the featured in Shorts 1 Chicago screening Wednesday, October 25 at 5:45 pm. at AMC River East 21).

Here’s a preview of the Indies…

CHASING THE BLUESciffchasing-the-blues 

Chasing the Blues takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride from the 1930’s to the 2000’s in a fictional story of two record collectors, one black, one white obsessed with getting a rare but cursed 1930s blues record.

The infamous record, “O Death Where is Thy Sting?” recorded by blues prodigy Jimmie Kane Baldwin, wanted for the murder of his girlfriend Betty, contains her piercing screams that can be heard on the record—instantly driving any listener to insanity.

The curse, however, does not deter the rival record collectors who will do whatever it takes to get their hands on the valuable record of which there are only two copies.

The journey takes them to the home of a Hyde Park widow who has a large record collection that belonged to her deceased husband containing the elusive prize.

The pair find themselves holed up in her apartment for days trying to con her and each other for the valuable vinyl. Their obsession leads to a series of sometimes funny, sometimes quirky and sometimes unfortunate events that land them in jail (for a crime they did not commit).

Twenty years later, finally released from jail and still obsessed, they resume the chase where they meet face to face at a storage garage in small-town Louisiana where things escalate to a surprising climax.

The final CIFF screening is Saturday October 21 at 12:30 pm. at AMC River East 21.

Director: Scott Smith; Executive Producer: John Fromstein; Producers: Jacqueline “JJ” Ingram, DeAnna Cooper Cast: Grant Rosenmeyer, Ronald L. Conner, Chelsea Tavares, Clem Cheung, Steve Guttenberg, Anna Maria Horsford, Jon Lovitz The film was produced by Fulton Market Films.  They are currently looking for buyers.

ROGERS PARKciffrogers_park_1200x800    

In the Chicago neighborhood of Rogers Park, two interracial couples struggle to keep their love alive when long-simmering secrets and resentments rise to the surface. A fantastic ensemble of icons of the Chicago film and theater scene—Antoine McKay, Sara Sevigny, Jonny Mars, and Christine Horn—convey the challenges and crises of mid-life as their paths’ intersect in unexpected and revealing ways.

The resulting ensemble drama is imbued with an organic narrative that explores the ties that bind us and the forces that threaten to tear us apart intermixed with iconic Roger Park scenes of the lake, the el and local establishments. Final screening at AMC River East 21, Monday, October 23, 3:30 pm.

 Blueprint  ciffblueprint_1200x800

Filmed on Chicago’s south side, “Blueprint” tells the story of Jerod, an African-American man who loses his job, girlfriend and best friend. Poverty-stricken and suffering from alcoholism, Jerod does not know what direction his life is taking him; as the character points out, there is no blueprint. 



When: now through Oct. 26

Where: AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois

Tickets: $15 regular screenings, with discounts for Cinema/Chicago members, students, seniors. After 10 p.m.: $10. Weekday matinees through 5 p.m.: $8

Info Click here or visit

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