Chicago International Film Festival celebrates women in cinema

The 55th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) announced its full lineup Sept. 18, featuring 40 films directed by women. About 30 percent of the 136 films being screened at the AMC River East from Oct. 16-27 are from female filmmakers (on par with last year’s numbers). From gala presentations like Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet to festival-circuit favorites Honey Boy (Alma Ha’rel) and Hala (Chicago-born Minhal Baig), the festival has made a clear effort to feature diverse women-directed work. (43 percent of shorts are also directed by women.)

The Women In Cinema program is also a feature of the festival, which “elevates women creators and promotes films by and amount women.” Local female directors are especially well-represented, with Knives and Skin, The New Bauhaus and Once Upon a River all being filmed in and around Chicago. 

CIFF tickets are available to the general public Sept. 27. The full list of women-directed films is below.



Maryam Touzani 



Leticia Jorge Romero 



Mati Diop



Shannon Murphy


Bombay Rose

Gitanjali Rao



Emily Harris



Chinonye Chukwu


The Components of Love

Miriam Bliese



Alla Kovgan

The Kingmaker

Francesca Scalisi with Marx Olexa

The Father

Kristina Grozeva with Peter Valchanov


The Fever

Maya Da Rin


Fordlandia Malaise

Susana de Sousa Dias


Forman vs. Forman

Helena Trestikova



Minhal Baig



Kasi Lemmons


A Thief’s Daughter

Belen Funes



Honey Boy

Alma Har’el


I Was at Home, But…

Angela Schanelec


Initials S.G.

Rania Attieh with Daniel Garcia



Halina Reijn


The Kingmaker

Lauren Greenfield


Knives and Skin

Jennifer Reeder

Lives with Flavor

Ruth Zachs Babani with Pablo Gasca Gollas


Love Child
Knives and Skin

Eva Mulvad


Maria’s Paradise

Zaida Bergroth



Maura Delpero


Mr. Jones

Agnieszka Holland


The New Bauhaus

Alysa Nahmias


Notre Dame

Valerie Donzelli


Once Upon a River
Once Upon a River

Haroula Rose


Ordinary Love

Lisa Barros D’Sa with Glenn Leyburn


Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Celine Sciamma


Zhu Shengze



Jeanie Finlay


The Sleepwalkers

Paula Hernandez


Song Without a Name
Varda by Agnes

Melina Leon


The Swallows of Kabul

Elea Gobbe-Mevellec with Zabou Breitman


Varda by Agnes

Agnes Varda


Francesca Archiburgi

© Georgiana E. Presecky (9/18/19) FF2 Media

Photos courtesy of Cinema/Chicago.

Tags: Chicago International Film Festival, CIFF

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