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Movie buffs to rejoice as AfterImage Festival brings a little Sundance to Fox River Valley

ST. CHARLES – Those who attend the AfterImage Film Festival at Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 in St. Charles will be able to see movies that have been shown at such top spots as the Sundance Film Festival, along with locally made films.

The AfterImage Film Festival, which runs this Thursday through Sunday, makes its debut. The festival will open Thursday night with a VIP party starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by a screening of the film "Maiden" at 7:15 p.m. Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 is at 3740 E. Main St. (Route 64) in the former Charlestowne Mall, now known as The Quad.

"Maiden," which has won awards at both the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, is the story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who bucked all the odds to become the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. One of the crew members, Dawn Riley, will answer questions following the screening.

"It was predominantly a British team, but the only American on the yacht for that race is going to be out for the screening, which is really, really exciting," said Andrew Carlin, executive director of the AfterImage Film Festival.

Tickets for opening night – which include an open bar and a selection of small bites courtesy of Veritá Batavia restaurant – cost $30, and are available online at

Tickets for all the screenings are available for purchase online at AfterImage's website. The film "Saint Francis" – which earlier this year won an audience award in the narrative feature competition at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas – will be shown on Saturday and Sunday as part of the festival.

"The filmmaker and the writer/star, they're local to the Chicago area, so we're having them come out Saturday and Sunday for question-and-answer sessions after the screenings," Carlin said.

"Mike Wallace Is Here," a documentary about the late CBS news correspondent, made its world premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Carlin thinks it will be one of the more popular movies at this year's festival.

"I fell in love with it when I saw it at Sundance," he said. "We felt like this is what the festival is all about, bringing really high quality independent films to this area where they wouldn't typically play."

In addition, the festival will feature the works of local filmmakers as well. That includes "Seared: The Journey of a Chef," a short film made by Elgin filmmaker Ben Gustafson. The selection is among several short films featured.

"Seared" will be shown at 7:15 p.m. Friday and 1:15 p.m. Saturday, and Gustafson will take questions following the screenings.

"I would say that it's a good mix of really high profile films along with some really nice local films," Carlin said. "There should be something for everyone, we think."

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