The AfterImage Film Festival announces its 2024 lineup

The fourth edition of the festival includes the Illinois premiere of Ethan Hawke’s film “Wildcat”

The AfterImage Film Festival recently announced the first seven selections of its 2024 lineup. This highly curated, four-day cinema experience, which takes place at the Charlestowne 18 Cinema this April, will feature over 20 films, many of which premiered at some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, Telluride, Cannes and more.

AfterImage Director Andrew Carlin said the fourth edition of the film festival promises to be the strongest one yet: “We’re premiering not one, but two films that have yet to screen anywhere in Illinois. The first is four-time Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke’s new film ‘Wildcat,’ starring his daughter Maya Hawke alongside Laura Linney. The second is Alex Thompson and Kelly O’Sullivan’s film ‘Ghostlight,’ which made its world premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival the past January.”

“Ghostlight” is the 2024 Opening Night selection and will feature a Q&A with its cast following the screening on Thursday, April 11.

Carlin said: “We couldn’t be happier to be back, doing what we love: bringing excellent films to the Fox Valley.”

The AfterImage Film Festival will open with the 2024 film “Ghostlight” about a grieving middle-aged construction worker finding comfort and community in a local company of amateur actors putting on “Romeo and Juliet.” Courtesy of Cinetic

Single film tickets cost $13 and will be available exclusively through Classic Cinemas’ website. The AfterImage Film Festival takes place April 11-14, 2024 at the Charlestowne 18 Cinema, 3740 E. Main St. in St. Charles, IL.

Feature film lineup

“All Happy Families”

Narrative | 90 min. | Director: Haroula Rose

Chicago native Haroula Rose directs this delightful dysfunctional family comedy about Graham Landry, an eternally aspiring actor in Chicago who’s stuck in a funk and living in his family’s crumbling two-flat. When an old college crush comes looking to rent the first floor apartment at the same time as his TV star brother Will’s return home, Graham must finally grow up — if he can get out of his own way.

“The Arc of Oblivion”

Documentary | 94 min. | Director: Ian Cheney

Set against the backdrop of the filmmaker's quixotic quest to build an ark in a field in Maine, the film heads far afield — to salt mines in the Alps, fjords in the Arctic, and ancient libraries in the Sahara — to illuminate the strange world of archives, record-keeping, and memory. Weaving stop-motion animation, spellbinding cinematography and fascinating interviews from the director's inner circle and experts in the fields of science, culture and art, “The Arc of Oblivion” reveals how nature inspires the human drive behind filmmaking.

“The Crime is Mine”

Narrative | 95 min. | Director: Francois Ozon

In 1930s Paris, Madeleine, a pretty, young, penniless and talentless actress, is accused of murdering a famous producer. Helped by her best friend Pauline, a young unemployed lawyer, she is acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. A new life of fame and success begins, until the truth comes out.

Ghostlight” (Opening night film)

Narrative | 115 min. | Directors: Alex Thompson and Kelly O’Sullivan

Alex Thompson and Kelly O'Sullivan’s moving, gently comic collaboration is about the power of live theater to make sense of our offstage dramas and personal narratives. “Ghostlight” centers on Dan (Keith Kupferer), a melancholic middle-aged construction worker grieving a family tragedy. Cut off from his devoted wife, Sharon (Tara Mallen), and talented but troubled daughter, Daisy (Katherine Mallen Kupferer), Dan finds comfort and community in a misfit company of amateur actors. While moonlighting in a low-rent production of Shakespeare’s most protean tragedy, Dan is forced to confront his buried emotions. Real-life family Mallen, Kupferer, and Mallen Kupferer bring tenderness and authenticity to this poignant portrait, while Dolly de Leon — last seen stealing the scene in “Triangle of Sadness” — is hilarious as Dan’s irascible, improbable co-star.

The Gullspang Miracle”

Documentary | 108 min | Director: Maria Fredricksson

A divine premonition leads two sisters to buy an apartment in the small Swedish town of Gullspång. To their surprise, the seller looks identical to their older sister who died by suicide 30 years earlier. What begins as an eerie story of family reunification soon becomes a Pandora's box as all three women's lives spiral out of control.

“Indigo Girls: It’s Only Life Anyway”

Documentary | 123 min. | Director: Alexandria Bombach

With 40 years of making music as the iconic folk-rock band Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have made their mark as musicians, songwriters, and dedicated activists. They have represented radical self-acceptance to many, leading multiple generations of fans to say, “the Indigo Girls saved my life.” Still, Amy and Emily battled misogyny, homophobia, and a harsh cultural climate chastising them for not fitting into a female pop star mold. With joy, humor, and heart-warming earnestness, Sundance award-winning director Alexandria Bombach brings us into a contemporary conversation with Amy and Emily — alongside decades of the band’s home movies and intimate present-day verité.

Wildcat” (Illinois premiere)

Narrative | 108 min. | Director: Ethan Hawke

Directed and co-written by four-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, “Wildcat” invites the audience to weave in and out of celebrated Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor’s mind as she ponders the great questions of her writing: Can scandalous art still serve God? Does suffering precede all greatness? Can illness be a blessing? In 1950, Flannery (Maya Hawke) visits her mother Regina (Laura Linney) in Georgia when she is diagnosed with lupus at 24 years old. Struggling with the same disease that took her father’s life when she was a child and desperate to make her mark as a great writer, this crisis pitches her imagination into a feverish exploration of belief. As she dives deeper into her craft, the lines between reality, imagination, and faith begin to blur, allowing Flannery to ultimately come to peace with her situation and heal a strained relationship with her mother.

Two other 2023 films will be screened: the French romantic drama “The Taste of Things,” starring Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel; and the Farsi film “Terrestrial Verses,” about the lives of ordinary Iranians.

The short films include: “A Real One,” “Bogota Story,” “The Big Wait,” “Handle With Care,” “Purebred Passion,” “Walking On Clouds,” and “Xiaohui and His Cows.”

The Work-in-Progress Screening will feature the documentary, "Steve Shapiro: Being Everywhere," on Sunday, April 14, at Moonlight Theatre. It will be followed a moderated discussion with the filmmaker. Courtesy of AfterImage Film Festival

Another highlight will be the “Work-in-Progress Screening” of the documentary, “Steve Shapiro: Being Everywhere,” about the photographer who bore witness to some of the most significant social and cultural moments in modern American history. This is a first-hand experience to help shape the narrative directly with the filmmaker Maura Smith. Before the film is completed, audiences and industry mentors watch the film together, with the filmmaker, and engage in a moderated discussion after the screening. This is a free event. It will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Moonlight Theatre in downtown St. Charles; RSVP and arrive early to guarantee access.

About AfterImage Film Festival

The AfterImage Film Festival is an annual event serving the Fox Valley region of Illinois and strives to be one of the premier film festivals in the Midwest. The AfterImage Film Festival will be held April 11-14, 2024 at Classic Cinemas’ Charlestowne 18 Cinema.

The fourth edition of the AfterImage Film Festival will include a wide range of programming that includes both feature length and short films, narratives and documentaries, American independents and foreign language titles. More information at

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