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The Roger Ebert Award to be Presented October 17th

The first-ever Roger Ebert New Director's Prize will be awarded to a talented filmmaker tomorrow night, Friday, October 17th, at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival's awards night. The event will kick off at 8:30pm at The Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, 20 E. Chestnut Street. This inaugural accolade will be annually presented to a filmmaker in the New Directors Competition. 

“The New Directors Competition truly embodies the spirit of the Chicago International Film Festival, which has always been devoted to the discovery of new talents and voices from around the world,” said Programming Director Mimi Plauché in a press release. “This competition always presents an exciting lineup of films, displaying the next generation of talents and showcasing both impressive virtuosity and self-assured risk-taking.”

Comprising this year's jury for the New Directors Competition are Managing Editor Brian Tallerico, Swedish producer Anna Croneman, Moroccan producer/director Izza Génini and German filmmaker Wieland Speck. Filmmakers eligible for the 2014 award include Arnold de Parscau ("Ablations"), Sebastián Schindel ("The Boss, Anatomy of a Crime"), Juan Francisco Olea ("El Cordero"), Jeffrey Wray ("The Evolution of Bert"), Jamshid Mahmoudi ("A Few Cubic Meters of Love"), July Jung ("A Girl at My Door"), Asaf Korman ("Next to Her"), Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson ("Paris of the North"), Roberto Flores Prieto ("Pink Noise"), Simon Blake ("Still"), Tamar van den Dop ("Supernova"), Jorge Pérez Solano ("La Tirisia"), Kanu Behl ("Titli") and Ronnie Sandahl ("Underdog"). All 14 films are receiving their U.S. and North American premieres at the festival, with "The Evolution of Bert" receiving its world premiere.

Roger Ebert's stepdaughter, Sonia Evans, will be presenting the award at tomorrow night's ceremony, which will be hosted by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker. The night also includes awards for the 16 films in the festival's main competition, one of which will receive the festival's top prize, the Gold Hugo. Oscar-nominated actress Kathleen Turner is serving as President of this year's International Feature Competition Jury, which includes New German Cinema trailblazer Margarethe von Trotta, Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek, Israeli cinematographer Giora Bejach and Iranian editor/director Parviz Shahbazi. 

For tickets and the full festival line-up, visit the official CIFF site.

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