The 47th Chicago International Film Festival's Summer Gala honored Martin Sheen, who was accompanied by his son writer/director/actor Emilio Estevez, with its Career Achievement Award last weekend. Over 400 people turned out to applaud Sheen. As he received his Silver Hugo from Film Fest founder and artistic director, Michael Kutza, he remarked, "After all of this fuss, I hope you like the movie!" He followed his hero FDR's advice to "Be sincere, be brief and be seated." Emcee Bill Kurtis presented a montage of Sheen's remarkable body of work and then joked to Governor Quinn "Wouldn't this (theatre) make a great casino?" to wild applause and laughter. Next, Quinn proclaimed August 19th as "Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez Day". The Governor related to me that Sheen, a well known human rights activist, had called to encourage him to abolish the death penalty.
The event also featured the U.S. premiere of the father and son's film, "The Way," which was written and directed by Estevez, who said the film was inspired by his father. It was a wonderful family love fest and Sheen said, "He (Emilio) is more like my brother than my son." They walked the red carpet together and answered any and all questions before moving into the theatre for the film, which Estevez describes as "pro-life and pro-people in the best sense of the word."
To reach the after-party, you followed the sweeping beams of the multiple searchlights that lit up the night sky. The Spanish party theme reflected the film's setting and included Flamenco dancers, tapas and Sangria. The extensive silent auction included guitars signed by Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen, as well as past iconic film fest promotional posters signed by photographer Victor Skrebneski.
This event funds the Chicago International Film Festival's year-round educational outreach programs. Kutza said, "The programs not only bring filmmakers and their films to thousands of innercity students but also encourages them to become the filmmakers and filmgoers of tomorrow." This year's CIFF will run October 6-20th.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.
Click here to see photos from the event.
Find Candace Jordan's blog at CandidCandace.com.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times