Things to do in Chicago this fall: film festivals

Fall offers a glut of film festivals catered to all tastes. There is, of course, the Chicago International Film Festival, which has been around for almost 50 years. Humor enthusiasts can laugh it up at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. For slasher buffs, there's the 24-hour marathon Music Box of Horrors and the Chicago Horror Film Festival. Kids are in luck, too, as the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival runs for a week at Facets.

Chicago International REEL Shorts Fest Short attention span? No worries. The Chicago International REEL Shorts Film Fest brings its programs of shorties back for the tenth year. Some are as long as only 60 seconds. Don't blink. The Playground Theater. Sep 13 and 15. Columbia College, Film Row Cinema. Sep 14–15. Miskas Bar. Sep 14. $10 (online) for shows at Film Row and Miskas, $15 (online) for Playground Theater.

Chicago Horror Film Festival Who said you can't revel in fear in September? The three-day fest at the Des Plaines Theatre ushers in Halloween with blocks of short films, features and, on Saturday, a Q&A with Alex Vincent, the actor best known for playing the child in Child's Play. Des Plaines Theatre. Sep 27–29. $15 day pass, $35 weekend pass; online: $10 day pass, $25 weekend pass.

Chicago International Social Change Film Festival CISCFF presents its annual fest featuring movies from all around the world that detail daily strife and struggles. The highlight of this three-day event is Academy Award–winning director Haskell Wexler's film Four Days in Chicago, which dissects last year's NATO summit and its parallels to the tension and violence surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which Wexler captured in his seminal 1969 directorial debut Medium Cool. ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection. Sep 27–29. $100 festival pass, $20 individual screenings. Purchase tickets at

Chicago Comedy Film Festival Comic actor Ray Chao hosts the two-day festival of features, shorts and webisodes. Some aim for funny, such as "A Little Something on the Side," the 11-minute film starring Justine Bateman and Stephen Tobolowsky (best known as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day). Others focus in on the funny business—the doc Warm Beer Lousy Food tells the tale of Brooklyn's Crazy Country Club, which the filmmakers claim is the nation's first comedy club. ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection. Oct 4–5. $39 for weekend pass, $12 for individual shows.

Chicago International Film Festival CIFF's 49th annual event features more than 150 features and shorts from around the world. This year's lineup includes Abdellatif Kechiche's Palme d'Or–winning Blue is the Warmest Color, Andrzej Wajda's Walesa, Man of Hope and closes out with the latest from the Coen brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis. See the full lineup at Chicago Theatre. Oct 10. AMC River East 21. Oct 11–24. Cinema/Chicago members, students and seniors $11; for special presentations $20; Cinema/Chicago members, students and seniors $16.

Music Box of Horrors Music Box's 24-hour scream fest returns with a lineup of classics and newer horror films, including Child’s Play (Dir. Tom Holland, 1988), Night Monster (Dir. Ford Beeb, 1942), Possession (Dir. Andrzej Zulawski, 1981) and a never-before-viewed print of TerrorVision (Dir. Ted Nicolaou, 1986). Director William Lustig presents his newly restored cult fave Maniac Cop 2 (1990) and David Schmoeller discusses directing Klaus Kinski in Crawlspace (1986). See for the full schedule. Music Box. Oct 19. $30.

Chicago International Children's Film Festival While aimed specifically at children—and also showcasing some films produced by kids—adults can usually find something to love at this weeklong festival. For the full lineup, go to Facets. Oct 25–Nov 3. $9, kids $6. 

RECOMMENDED: More things to do this fall

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