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56th Chicago International Film Festival features 4 Dutch films

Film poster of The Columnist featuring Katja Herbers


Wed, Oct 14 - Sun, Oct 25  2020

Cinema / Chicago - Chicago Consulate Region

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival features 4 Dutch film productions this year, but note that the festival experience is a bit different than in past editions. This year, the festival will be combining streaming on-demand and appointment screenings and an in-person drive-in theatre experiences along with virtual filmmaker Q&As and a completely online Industry Days. The festival is dedicated to providing a safe and rewarding experience for all of its patrons and staff. check out the festival’s website which provides detailed instructions to assist film enthusiasts in getting the most out of their virtual Festival experience and also reaching audiences beyond Chicago thanks to the online offerings! A quick overview can be found here.

The Dutch selection for 2020 includes:


The Netherlands, Belgium • Director: Sabine Lubbe Bakker, Niels van Koevorden • 100m • Dutch with subtitles

Life is what happens when you stop living for others and start living for yourself. This poignant tragicomic journey of courage follows Mona from early childhood, when she is inculcated to be a quiet, obedient presence in the world. She blossoms into a talented young artist, but years of repressing her feelings have impaired her emotionally, binding her to unhealthy relationships at work and at home. Still, there is a fierce, independent spirit that lies inside her, waiting to be liberated. Assured direction coaxes flawless, seamlessly connected performances from actresses Tanya Zabarylo and Olivia Landuyt in the title role as a young woman and young girl respectively.

Available: Across the US | 10/14-10/25

Becoming Mona:

THE COLUMNIST featuring Katje Herbers of Evil and Westworld fame
The Netherlands • Director: Ivo van Aart  • 83m • Dutch

Femke is over it! The constant critique, the gaslighting for speaking her truth, the trolls’ anonymous, sexist insults. A columnist for a revered publication in The Netherlands, the divorced, city-dwelling single mother faces a daily barrage of negativity on social media. Sure, she shouldn’t read the comments, but who doesn’t read the comments?! Meanwhile, her teenage daughter is waging a fiendishly clever campaign for free speech against her high school principal. After enduring another disgusting round of ridicule for a recent piece, Femke snaps. A satisfying, bloody, and hilarious revenge tale that dares to confront bullies in the most delightfully dark ways.

Available: Across the US | 10/14-10/25

The Columnist:


The Netherlands • Director: Jasper de Bruin • 14m • Dutch with subtitles

Pondering a hospital’s eerie hallways, a nurse makes her rounds on the night shift. This film is available as part of Shorts 3: A Creeping Chill (After Dark)



The Netherlands, Belgium • Director: Yngwie Boley, J.J. Epping, Diana van Houten • 10m • No Dialogue

A stunning hand-painted animation about a woman fascinated with the wilderness beyond the walls of her post-apocalyptic village.

This film is available as part of Shorts 2: Disconnect the Dots (Animation)


More details about the festival and screenings, both in-person as well as virtually, can be found at the festival’s website: 

About the Chicago International Film Festival

Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year-round non-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. Serving Chicago’s diverse and under-served citizenry by providing access to world-class cinema, the festival aims to enrich Chicago’s cultural environment by presenting film in contexts that encourage discussion and debate.

Through the Film Festival, its Education Program, and year-round programming and membership program, Cinema/Chicago enhances the cultural assets of the city of Chicago by exhibiting film from around the world.
The Chicago International Film Festival was started in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza to provide an alternative to the commercial Hollywood movies that dominated the city’s theaters. Seeking out the best in international cinema, the Festival has opened windows to a world of film previously or otherwise unavailable in Chicago.  In addition, at more than half of the screenings each year, filmgoers have the rare and exciting chance to meet directors, producers, writers and cast members who introduce their films and hold discussion sessions after the screenings.


The eyes on the Chicago International Film Festival logo belong to a combination of silent screen sirens: Theda Bara, Pola Negri and Mae Murray. These actresses starred in countless films at the dawn of cinema and the logo is a rendering of all three. Created by Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza, the logo has become internationally recognized as an image that represents both the allure of the silver screen and the cinematic celebration that takes place every year in Chicago. The silent star Celluloid hero, with her heavily mascaraed eyes, continues to be the Festival’s guiding vision since 1964.

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