THE CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION presents
the 5th Anniversary of the
CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL
MAY 12-18, 2017
MUSIC BOX THEATRE
3733 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60613
The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), a group of 54 Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics that has been celebrating the art of film for over 25 years, is pleased to announce that the 5th Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival (CCFF) will run from May 12-18, 2017 once again 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. The CFCA’s pioneering event back in 2013 marked the first example of a major film critics group hosting its own festival.
The festival has given Chicagoans the opportunity to see the hottest unreleased titles on the festival circuit weeks or even months before making their commercial debuts. This year’s installment alone saw the local debuts of such acclaimed titles as “Morris From America,” “Into the Forest,” “Life, Animated,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Little Men,” “In a Valley of Violence,” “War on Everyone,” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” which received the festival’s Audience Award. There were also some gala local premieres for films with Chicago ties including “American Fable,” “First Girl I Loved,” and “Operator.”
Previous years have also seen personal appearances from the likes of Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell”), William Friedkin (a screening of a rare 35mm print of his 1977 classic “Sorcerer”), Cobie Smulders (“Results” and “Unexpected”), legendary character actor Dick Miller (“That Guy Dick Miller”) and directors James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now” and “The End of the Tour”) and Bobcat Goldthwait (“Willow Creek” and “Call Me Lucky”).
The festival’s producers are currently at work pulling together titles and guests for the 2017 event. Further details will be forthcoming. That said, it is the sincere hope of the entire CFCA that the 5th edition of the Chicago Critics Film Festival will live up to the high expectations set by previous years and it can once again prove to be a celebration for the film lovers of this glorious city.
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 enlightenments, 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 more than 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 more information, please visit