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Doc About Blues Great Buddy Guy Slated For CIFF

The 55th Chicago International Film Festival always has treats in store for film lovers. This year is no different. For the closing night film, which will premiere at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27, the great Blues guitarist and Chicago icon Buddy Guy will be the subject of a documentary called “The Torch.” The Jim Farrell-directed documentary headlines the Festival’s City & State Program, celebrating Illinois and Chicago made cinema.

At 83, Chicago legend Buddy Guy remains the standard bearer for the Blues, an icon determined to see the art form live on long after he’s gone. Enter guitar phenom Quinn Sullivan, who has been mentored by Guy since he was a kid. This stirring documentary, amplified by electrifying musical performances, charts the guidance Guy himself received from the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf while observing the Grammy®-winner passing his wisdom to the next generation. The documentary chronicles Guy’s dedication to mentoring a new generation of artists.

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The Black Panther Party and Young Patriots hold a press conference in 1969. They are featured in the documentary called “The First Rainbow Coalition” to be screened at CIFF. (Photo credit: Courtesy Daily Herald/ by Chicago International Film Festival)

“Buddy Guy is a timeless Chicago icon, and we are honored to close the 55th Chicago International Film Festival with this celebration of his talent and his commitment to the enduring legacy of Blues as an essential American art form,” said Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival.

Farrell, Guy and producer Amy Briamonte are scheduled to attend. A VIP after-party with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will follow at the stylish Steak 48. Tickets start at $30 with VIP tickets (including film and after-party) at $75/ticket.

Other films to screen in this slate include:

“The First Rainbow Coalition” – Dir. Ray Santisteban, U.S.

Chicago 1969: Activists from the Black Panthers, Young Lords, and Young Patriots united African Americans, Latinos, and poor whites to confront police brutality and unfair housing in one of America’s most segregated cities. A timely story of collective action, “The First Rainbow Coalition” tells this little-known chronicle of political struggle with “you-are-there” intensity through archival footage and interviews with those who lived it. 56 min. With a post-screening discussion.

“Ringside” – Dir. André

Hörmann, Germany, U.S.

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ANOTHER FILM TO be presented in the Festival’s City & State Program is “Ringside,” the story of two aspiring young Chicago Black athletes.

Call it “Hoop Dreams” for boxing. Like its famous predecessor, “Ringside” isn’t just a story about two aspiring young Chicago Black athletes as they experience the successes and setbacks of life and sport over several years. It also delivers an emotional gut-punch as it chronicles the travails of Destyne Butler Jr., and Kenneth Sims Jr., as well as the hardworking fathers who stand by their side through every victory and defeat. 95 min.

“Each year, we showcase the best films made in Chicago and Illinois,” said Anthony Kaufman, CIFF Programmer. “From portraits of Chicago legends to stories of horror, coming-of-age, and even an avant-garde look at contemporary China, this edition of the City & State program is one of our most impressive and expansive.”

The longest running competitive film festival in North America, the Chicago International Film Festival is committed to selecting the world’s most exciting, compelling and groundbreaking feature films, documentaries and short films, including multiple Oscar contenders and winners, year after year.

The 55th Chicago International Film Festival runs from October 16-27 at the AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois St., and features more than 150 films, with a vast diversity of offerings, including numerous competitive categories and several highlight programs such as Black Perspectives, Cinemas of the Americas, International Comedy, Women in Cinema, Out-Look and After Dark.

For ticket and other information and a full schedule, visit

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