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AfterImage Film Festival in St. Charles to premiere actor Ethan Hawke’s new movie

"Wildcat," directed by Ethan Hawke, will make its Illinois premiere at the 2024 AfterImage Film Festival in St. Charles.

AfterImage Film Festival, held in St. Charles, will include the Illinois premiere of Ethan Hawke’s new movie, “Wildcat,” during the 2024 event taking place April 11-14.

The festival announced the first seven selections of its lineup for the curated four-day experience, held at the Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 Theatre. The event will feature more than 20 films, many of which premiered at some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, including Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, Telluride, Cannes and more, according to a news release.

AfterImage Director Andrew Carlin said in the release that the fourth edition of the film festival is the strongest one yet.

“We’re premiering not one, but two films that have yet to screen anywhere in Illinois,” he said in the release. “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 [in] January.”

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

“Ghostlight” is the 2024 Opening Night selection at the AfterImage Film Festival in St. Charles.

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

Additional programming announcements will be made in coming days. Single film tickets cost $13, and will be available exclusively through Classic Cinemas’ website.

Charlestowne 18 is located at 3740 E. Main St. in St. Charles.

Festival highlights

“All Happy Families”

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 returns home, Graham must finally grow up – if he can get out of his own way.

“The Arc of Oblivion”

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 together 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”

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.


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 Gullspång Miracle”

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”

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, Ray and Saliers 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.


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 age 24. 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, the 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.

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