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"The Punk Show in Chicago" Announced as Winner of The Pitch at Industry Days

Five New Projects Selected for Year-Long Lab and The Pitch 2024

CHICAGO, Illinois (October 16, 2023) - The 59th Chicago International Film Festival has announced THE PUNK SHOW IN CHICAGO as the winner of The Pitch at the 9th edition of Industry Days. Written and directed by Erika Valenciana, produced by Anuradha Rana, and executive produced by Christina Shaver, THE PUNK SHOW IN CHICAGO is a comedy about Alicia, a timid Chicana punk teen and her brash Filipina BFF Belen, who travel to Chicago to go see their favorite band play, meet up with a dreamboat, and get an abortion.

The film was selected by this year’s distinguished Pitch jury, composed of Jenny Halper, EVP, Head of Creative at Maven Pictures, Ana Leocha, creative executive at Tango Entertainment, and Kiva Reardon, VP of film at PASTEL. THE PUNK SHOW IN CHICAGO received an awards package of in-kind goods and services worth tens of thousands of dollars. Contributors include Panavision, Light Iron, Periscope Post & Audio, Camera Ambassador, Ramo Law PC, PR Casting, and All Senses Go.

The Festival has also announced a slate of five narrative feature film projects that will take part in next year’s edition of CIX: Lab, a year-long development program that will culminate at The Pitch at Industry Days in 2024.

This year’s filmmakers represent a diversity of voices that continue to reinforce the breadth and vitality of Chicago-area filmmakers and projects: from a psychedelic thriller set in the exurbs to a surrealist tale of an 8th grader with no insides, to the story of two Black women on the South side of Chicago and a queer musician who must return to her hometown, and a newly engaged couple whose relationship starts to unravel.

Past projects from the Chicago Industry Exchange and The Pitch have gone on to completion, including Jennifer Reeder’s SIGNATURE MOVE and KNIVES AND SKIN, Haroula Rose’s ONCE UPON A RIVER, and Alex Heller’s THE YEAR BETWEEN.

The Chicago Industry Exchange and its programs are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The selected projects for 2023-2024 CIX: Lab are:


Writer/Director: Colin Parker

Producer: Dashawna Wright

Three friends try to rob a cult.


Writer/Director: Beth Ashby

Co-producer: Lindy Stokes

An eighth-grade boy who was born empty - literally - fights for the right to attend a classmate's birthday party when his parents try to sell him to a collector of oddities, and discovers along the way that you can have heart without, well, having an actual heart.


Writer/Director: Eliyannah Amirah Yisrael

Producer: Natasha Parker

The Caterpillar & The Butterfly explores the emotional journey between broken and whole through TaLisha King and Sharonda “Ronnie” Jones, two women who ride the same bus on Chicago’s south side. When TaLisha’s boyfriend mysteriously vanishes, she swiftly falls into a state of despondency while the sudden reappearance of Ronnie’s absent father interrupts the rigid order she has created for herself.


Director: Linh Tran

Producer: Pete McClellan

Writer: Alex Gonzalez

A newly engaged couple moves into a NYC apartment that cleans itself of whatever is deemed unwanted. Everything is fine until one of them realizes that they no longer love the other person.


Writer/Director: Wendy Jo Carlton

Co-Producer: Daniel Kullman

Associate producer: Thomas Seffernick

Lucy Gatlin is a 36-year-old queer musician living in a friend’s garage after drinking herself out of a famous band, and must return to her hometown to see what her beloved Aunt left her in a will while facing old demons, avoiding ex-lovers, and trying to stay sober.

The 59th Chicago International Film Festival runs October 11 - 22, 2023 with film screenings and programs presented at venues across the city including AMC NEWCITY 14, the Music Box Theatre, the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Chicago History Museum, the Hamilton Park Cultural Center in Englewood, Harrison Park in Pilsen, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Tickets for Opening Night are on sale now at

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