Chicago Architecture Center Launches Design-Centered at-Home Film Festival in Partnership with the Music Box Theatre

Anne Surak


The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) and Chicago’s Music Box Theatre are pleased to announce Celluloid Skylines: An At-Home Architectural Film Festival. Comprising four interactive discussions hosted via Zoom, prompts to encourage design-themed household conversations and more, Celluloid Skylines runs Memorial Day Weekend 2020, Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25, with discussions beginning at 8pm Central Time. Registration is available à la carte or through festival passes offering all four events for the price of three. Current Music Box Theatre and CAC members save 22 percent. The deadline to register, both for individual events and full festival passes, is noon Central Time on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Celluloid Skylines is part of the CAC’s broad array of remotely accessible programming, through and beyond its temporary suspension of in-person activities. CAC Live continues with one-time-only events featuring architecture experts, design practitioners, acclaimed authors and industry leaders, while engaging the organization’s corps of more than 600 docents and volunteers; visit to browse and register for upcoming events and click here to view CAC Live listings through June 17. In April 2020, CAC Live attendees joined from 20 U.S. states plus ten countries on five continents.

CAC Live and other events are promoted via free public and CAC member−exclusive versions of CAC@Home, the organization’s digital mini magazine sent every Thursday and archived online at

Celluloid Skylines: An At-Home Architectural Film Festival
Presented by the Chicago Architecture Center in partnership with the Music Box Theatre
Memorial Day Weekend 2020, Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25
$9 per post-screening discussion, CAC and Music Box Theatre members* $7
Four-film festival passes $27, CAC and Music Box Theatre members* $21

This debut at-home film festival helps attendees explore how filmmakers use architecture to tell extraordinary stories. Celluloid Skylines features four films to stream at home, each followed by discussion via Zoom, facilitated by CAC staff and a guest expert on the film’s design themes.

Each discussion features a brief design analysis and a facilitated question-and-answer period. Pre-screening emails include suggestions for ways to “festival-ize” your experience, including links to view Music Box Theatre organist Dennis Scott performing a musical overture, themed cocktail recipes for each film, and a set of prompts to encourage design-themed household discussions. Participants may choose to stream the films according to our recommended start times—such that each film ends just as the discussion begins—or at their own convenience.

Celluloid Skylines: Program Schedule
Discussions are approximately one hour and begin at 8pm Central Time.

Friday, May 22: Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982, 117 minutes

In a dystopian imagining of Los Angeles in the year 2019, the Tyrell Corporation develops androids, identified as “replicants,” to serve as slaves. The corporation hires a former LAPD officer (Harrison Ford) to hunt down a fugitive group of replicants living undercover as humans. Incorporating a selection of iconic landmark buildings, including Los Angeles Union Station, the Bradbury Building and the Frank Lloyd Wright−designed Ennis-Brown House, Blade Runner’s futurist production design brilliantly incorporates historic architecture.

Christopher Hawthorne, discussion guest co-host for Blade Runner, is Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles and former architecture critic for The Los Angeles Times. Hawthorne is also Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Saturday, May 23: Columbus, Kogonada, 2017, 100 minutes

The Korean-American son (John Cho) of a celebrated architecture scholar finds himself in Indiana, where his father lies comatose in a local hospital. He strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young woman who works in the local library but dreams of leaving town to study architecture. With expertly composed shots of Columbus’ remarkable collection of modernist buildings, Columbus examines themes of family obligation, home and identity, using architecture as its guiding metaphor.

Anne Surak, discussion guest co-host for Columbus, is Director of Exhibit Columbus with more than 15 years of experience creating collaboration-based projects and gallery exhibitions. Owner of the consulting firm art + space, Surak was the inaugural director of Project 4 gallery in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, May 24: An Engineer Imagines, Marcus Robinson, 2019, 80 minutes

This cinematic homage to Peter Rice traces the Irish structural engineer’s extraordinary life and career, from his Dundalk childhood to his work on the Sydney Opera House, the Centre Pompidou and the Lloyd’s Building, to his untimely death in 1992. Marcus Robinson uses stunning time-lapse photography and revealing interviews to tell the story of a genius who stood in the shadow of architectural icons—until now.

The guest co-host for An Engineer Imagines is a structural engineer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, to be announced at a later date.

Monday, May 25: The Hudsucker Proxy, Joel and Ethan Coen, 1994, 111 minutes

A conniving executive (Paul Newman) devises a corporate takeover after a company’s founder dies. To devalue its stock, he promotes naïve business school graduate and amateur inventor Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) from mailroom clerk to the board of directors. But when Barnes’s latest invention succeeds, the company’s value launches into the stratosphere. The Hudsucker Proxy weaves together iconic Chicago locations with exquisite models to create a larger-than-life metropolis, punctuated by real-life Art Deco treasures.

Jean L. Guarino, PhD, discussion guest co-host for The Hudsucker Proxy, is an author, scholar and architectural historian. For the book “Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America,” she contributed essays on multiple Chicago skyscrapers of the 1920s.

Celluloid Skylines registration grants access to Zoom discussions only; attendees are responsible for viewing films on their own, via multiple platform options provided via email.

*Music Box Theatre members must use the email address associated with their Music Box Theatre membership to redeem their discount on registration via Member discount pricing is the same for CAC members and Music Box Theatre members as well as those who are members of both organizations and can only be redeemed once.

While the CAC Call Center remains closed to support employee safety, voicemails at 312-922-3432 are monitored daily. The CAC responds within 24 hours to all inquiries sent via email to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected].

Subscriptions via email to CAC@Home are free; visit to sign up today. Visit to become a member today starting at just $80 per year.

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