The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), a group of 48 Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics that has been celebrating the art of film for over 20 years, is pleased to announce the dates and location for the 3rd Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF). The festival will run from May 1-7, 2015, and will once again take place at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre.
The event features a selection of films chosen by members of the organization and comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a variety of filmmakers, ranging from Oscar winners to talented newcomers. It is the only current example of a major film critics group hosting its own festival.
In only two years, CCFF has already attracted an impressive array of films and talent. In its first year, the festival opened with Oscar-nominated actress-filmmaker Sarah Polley (“Away From Her,” “Take This Waltz”) on hand to present her acclaimed documentary “Stories We Tell.” Closing night featured a screening of the celebrated coming-of-age drama “The Spectacular Now,” with director James Ponsoldt in attendance. The 2013 festival concluded with Oscar-winning filmmaker William Friedkin introducing a rare 35mm screening of his 1977 masterpiece “Sorcerer,” and then participating in an equally entertaining Q&A about the film’s notoriously difficult production.
Working with an expanded schedule and a new location, the second edition of the festival was the rare sequel that improved upon the original. On opening night, acclaimed comic filmmaker David Wain presented his latest work, the Paul Rudd-Amy Poehler rom-com spoof “They Came Together.” Throughout the week, the festival included the local premieres of highly regarded titles such as “The One I Love,” “I Origins,” “The Overnighters,” “The Congress,” “Mood Indigo” and “Cavalry”; comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait also came out to present his genre-bending horror film “Willow Creek.” Another highlight was the lively Q&A with legendary character actor Dick Miller, who chatted with the audience in between the double-feature of “That Guy Dick Miller,” a documentary chronicling his extensive career, and the Roger Corman classic “A Bucket of Blood” in 35mm. The festival concluded with a packed house for the screening of “Animals,” a locally produced drama from director Colin Schiffli and star/screenwriter David Dastmalchian, both of whom were in attendance. “Animals” went on to win the festival’s Audience Choice award.
The festival’s producers are currently at work pulling together titles and guests for the 2015 event. Further details will be forthcoming. That being said, it is the hope of the entire CFCA that the 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival will have a charmed third year for the film lovers of this glorious city.
Future details, as well as information on the previous editions of the festival, can be found at the official CCFF website at www.chicagocriticsfilmfestival.com.
CFCA Case Statement
The CFCA has always been dedicated to supporting and celebrating quality filmmaking that has something to say about our world, our lives, and our society. In the past, while it supported and fought for the continued role of film critics in the media, the CFCA’s primary public interaction was through the announcement of its annual film awards each December. In recent years, however, the CFCA moved aggressively to expand its presence on the Chicago arts scene and to promote critical thinking about cinema to a wider base. In 2012, in addition to re-launching a late-winter awards ceremony, CFCA members presented numerous film screenings at theaters like the Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton, and Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18 in Rosemont. Illinois. CFCA members also team-taught a new Young People’s Film Criticism Workshop at Facets Multimedia that emphasized not just film analysis and criticism, but also writing skills to middle- and high-school students, many of whom were attending the course on lower-income scholarships. With this film festival, we intend to take the next step.
The Future of the CFCA
As the Chicago Film Critics Association looks ahead to the future, it hopes to be a much larger presence on the Chicago arts landscape and an even more effective force for critical thinking and film appreciation. To do so will mean more efforts at public outreach, education, and enlightenment, and that will require a larger financial investment.
Going forward, the CFCA intends to set ambitious goals, including expanding the public presentation of films, teaching more film-based classes to both youth and adults, and making the Chicago Critics Film Festival into a long and ongoing annual tradition.
Music Box Theatre
For 30 years, the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films, festivals and some of the greatest cinematic events in Chicago. It currently has the largest cinema space operated full-time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned & operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States. For additional information, please visit www.musicboxtheatre.com
Erik Childress (CFCA Board Member)
Office: (847) 439-5750
Cell: (224) 805-1573
Brian Tallerico (CFCA Board Member)
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