Illinois films in the spotlight at independent film festival


The 11th Annual Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival returns with nightly screenings of films from the festival’s 2021 Official Selection, July 24-30 at Chicago Filmmakers, 1326 W. Hollywood Ave., Chicago.

Blue Whiskey will showcase over 30 films with character-driven stories from around the world at the in-person event, including seven stand-out independent films directed by local Illinois filmmakers.

Each night of the 2021 festival features a unique collection of shorts and is featured by one of seven independent feature films. Blue Whiskey opens Saturday, July 24 at 7 p.m., with director Timothy Hall’s feature-length drama “Landlocked,” about a man reuniting with his estranged transgender father, played by Chicago actress Delia Kropp in his first feature film .

A spooky British thriller, “Ribblehead”, heads to a horror-themed program on Thursday July 29 at 7pm. In “Ribblehead” a horror novelist takes inspiration from a strange place in Yorkshire, England for his next book, but as he learns more about the site’s dark history, he begins to have nightmarish experiences and confuses reality and fantasy.

A pair of Chicago filmmakers, Travis Chandler and Daniel Greenstone, who also teach history and documentary filmmaking at Francis W. Parker School on the North Side of Chicago, will screen their documentary feature “Far Out West” at the festival in 7 p.m. Wednesday July. 28.

Chandler and Greenstone interviewed former members of the Kerista Township in California, who share their experiences of the utopian community that offered coexistence, multiple sex partners, and even a very successful Apple computer sales business.

Blue Whiskey will present a diverse selection of 27 short films during the week-long event. Among the short films selected is King Jaquell Martin and Deante Gray’s topical and personal film “A War on Friendly Grounds”, screened July 27 at 7 pm. It is based on the true story of a black veteran of the US military who was assaulted by a police officer in 2005 after returning home from serving overseas.

Illinois-made shorts showing at the 2021 festival include Kyle Anne Grendys’ documentary short “Fraser Syndrome & Me”, screened at 7:00 p.m. on July 27, and scriptwriter Isais Perez’s short narrative, “The Audition “, screened at 7 p.m. on July 28.

Grendys, a filmmaker from Gurnee, is the 75th person to be born with a recessive genetic condition called Fraser syndrome. In her film, she documents her first meeting and interview with other people who share her rare disease.

Perez’s “The Audition” follows aspiring Latino actor through a series of Chicago casting calls as he struggles for a callback, exposing the prejudices and stereotypes Latinos face in film and television .

The full festival schedule includes films from across the country and the world, with foreign language selections this year from India, Taiwan, Lebanon and more.

For tickets, event information and a full schedule of the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, visit

Nightly sessions are from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Chicago Filmmakers, 1326 W. Hollywood Ave., Chicago.

General admission tickets cost $ 15 and provide access to all films in the session. The seven-day event was made possible with the help of sponsors Nicholas & Associates of Mount Prospect and Foxhole Creative of Chicago.

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival is a Palatine-based non-profit organization that seeks independently produced cinema by bold and innovative filmmakers who use elements of history in a new and exciting way, presenting independent cinema Character driven and fueled by the filmmaker’s passion for the craft without studio support.

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