Bill Condon's Kinsey will open the 40th Chicago InternationalFilm Festival, which runs from Oct 7-21 and closes with Robert Zemeckis' animatedfeature The Polar Express.

All in all thefestival boasts 111 features and 54 shorts from 44 countries, including theworld premieres of Pete Jones' coming out comedy Outing Riley and Ligy J Pullapally's lesbian-themedfriendship drama The Journey.

Annette Beningwill be honored with a Career Achievement Award at a screening of the 1930s London-set drama Being Julia on Oct. 8, while Christopher Walken willtake part in an on-stage discussion a day later following a screening of hislatest work, the quirky family drama Around The Bend.

Zemeckis, whosedirecting credits include Forrest Gump, Cast Away and Contact, will receive an on-stage tribute at theclosing night ceremony hosted by Tom Hanks, who worked again with Zemeckis on ThePolar Express.

TheInternational Competition features 19 titles vying for the Gold Hugo, thefestival's highest honour. Titles include Apichatpong Weerasethakul's TropicalMalady (Thailand), SimonStaho's Day And Night(Denmark), Marziyeh Meshkini's Stray Dogs (Iran), Ousmane Sembene's Moolaade (Senegal), and Nicole Kassell's TheWoodsman (USA).

The NewDirectors Competition sees work from 14 first or second-time filmmakers andincludes Benedek Fliegauf's Dealer (Hungary), Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern's Aaltra (Belgium), and Achim von Borries' LoveIn Thoughts (Germany).

The Docufestbrings together 11 titles, among them Cynthia Newport's Cuba/USA co-production DanceCuba: Dreams Of Flight,Yoav Shamir's Israeli picture Checkpoint, Stanislaw Mucha's The Center (Germany), and Zana Briski and RossKauffman's Born Into Brothels (USA).

The World Cinemastrand presents an eclectic line-up of titles including Christophe Barratier's LesChoristes, which Miramaxplans to release in the US next January, Miguel Albaladejo's Bear Cub (Spain), Pablo Berger's Torremolinos73 (Spain-Denmark),Katsuhito Ishii's The Taste Of Tea (Japan), Lu Yue's The Foliage (China), and Rituparno Ghosh's Indianfeature Raincoat.

Other attractions include the Black Perspectives andFocus: Chicago & Illinois programmes, panel discussions on art housedistribution and the role of critics in the film industry, as well as a lookback at some of the most significant pictures to premiere at the festival.

"Anniversariesare often a time to pause and look back. But we've always focused ondiscovery," festival founder and artistic director Michael Kutza said in astatement.