By Lisa Fielding

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s America’s longest running, competitive film festival and this year, festival organizers are promising something for everyone.

WBBM’s Lisa Fielding has a preview of the 53rd Chicago International Film Fest.

“We have 150 films over the course of 2 weeks,” said Michael Kutza, Founder, CEO, President, Chicago International Film Fest. “Seventy-five directors from 50 countries will be here showcasing and talking about their work.”

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150 films will be shown over the two weeks at the 53rd Chicago International Film Fest. (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Kutza and his staff works year-round to bring the best and most diverse films to the screen.

“You’ve got the winning films of Cannes, Berlin, Venice, things like that, then we have a lot of our own discoveries and then you sprinkle in the Hollywood blockbusters that won’t be coming up until Christmas, so at a festival like Chicago, you get to see everything before the rest of the world,” he said.

It is also an opportunity to see and discover films that may be Oscar contenders or others that will never be released locally.

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Michael Kutza, Founder, CEO, President, Chicago International Film Fest and Vivian Teng, managing director. (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

“In the past, we’ve shown many films that went on to win the Oscar. “The Artist,” “La La Land” to name a few,” he said.

The film industry has taken a hit with the evolution of Netflix, cable and streaming, but Kutza said the festival offers something the other options cannot.

“Even though there’s a definite change in film going attitudes, and the freedom and ease, but you can’t see our films until much later, maybe even a year later when Netflix grabs them up. The other unique this is that you get to see that new film from Poland, Italy and France and the director is there or the star is there. It’s more than seeing a movie, it’s the real deal,” Kutza said.

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The festival opens Thursday with the screening of “Marshall.” The event runs at the AMC River East Theaters through Oct. 26. (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

This year, Patrick Stewart will be honored. Actresses Alfre Woodard and Vanessa Redgrave will also be on hand promoting their films.

The festival opens Thursday with the screening of “Marshall.” The event runs at the AMC River East Theaters through Oct. 26.

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