‘Don’t you forget about’ Hughes: festival celebrates filmmaker


James Tsitiridis

‘Don’t you forget about’ Hughes: festival celebrates filmmaker

By Blair Paddock

John Hughes fans will be sent to detention with the “Breakfast Club,” take a “sick day” with Ferris  Bueller and celebrate a sweet 16 with Samantha this summer. 

The creators of last year’s “Ferris Fest” are now heading “The Shermer Club: a 4-Day Party in Detention”  to bring Hughes fans on a tour of his ’80s cult classics. Admirers will come to Chicago—or rather, the “Breakfast Club’s” fictional town of Shermer—June 22–25 to live the life of a John Hughes character.

“I wanted to share my passion of John Hughes with fans who are going to come and bring their love they have for him to Chicago—the place where he came to set a world stage in his hometown of Northbrook, Illinois,” said David Blanchard, creator of Filmed Here, an organization that  celebrates fan-favorite movies that is organizing the event.

The tour includes a Q&A and meet and greet with some of the actors of Hughes’ films, such as Andrew McCarthy—Blane from “Pretty in Pink”—and Cindy Pickett—Katie Bueller from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In honor of the 30th anniversary of  “Some Kind of Wonderful,” there will be a movie screening along with a showing of “Pretty In Pink,” Blanchard said. 

The festival includes a two-day interactive location tour, Blanchard said. Fans will be taken across the Chicagoland area to see where Hughes shot some of his scenes. There will be reenactments of scenes, bringing the films to life.

Scenes from  Hughes’ films have a universal message and connection with young people, Blanchard said, because the films spoke to problems teens had 30 years ago that are still relevant  today.

“Even though [the films] were made in the ’80s and are reflective of the ’80s, the way [Hughes] made them [focused more on] the heart of young people,” Blanchard said.

Dave Ensslin and his Chicago-based band 16 Candles will be performing at the festival, exclusively covering ’80s music. The band hopes to take people back to the nostalgia of Hughes’ films, he added. 

“Hughes is part of the nostalgia of the ’80s, especially in this area because a lot of those movies were filmed around here,” Ensslin said. “[They] take you back to the time of being a kid.”

Karen Booth, 48, has been a fan of Hughes since she first saw the films when they were released. Currently living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, she writes romance novels and has even named her characters the same as Hughes’.

“[Hughes’] stories are genuine and communicate those pervasive themes of unrequited love and longing for acceptance,” Booth said. “Those things are never going away.”