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CCFF Passes on Sale, 7 Films Announced

THE CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION
announces first wave of titles for the
CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL
MAY 12-18, 2017
THE MUSIC BOX THEATRE
3733 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60013

Festival favorites starring Allison Brie, Sam Elliott, Aubrey Plaza, Zoe Lister-Jones, Jaime King, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, John C. Reilly, Nick Offerman, Jason Ritter and Adam Pally to have their Chicago premieres.

To kick off the celebration of its fifth year, the Chicago Critics Film Festival is pleased to announce the first wave of titles that will be screening as part of this year’s event. The first film festival to be created and curated entirely by film critics, this year’s lineup will include a collection of award-winning favorites from around the globe featuring stars like Allison Brie, Sam Elliott, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen and Brooklyn Decker, all of which will be making their local debuts. The festival will run May 12-18, 2016 and will be held once again at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre. Passes are now on sale on the Music Box Site.

Created by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 2013, the festival offers a selection of films comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a wide variety of filmmakers ranging from award winners to talented newcomers chosen by members of the organization, the only current example of a major film critics group hosting its own festival. The seven titles announced today come from around the world and offer viewers an eclectic variety of films that includes wild comedies, introspective dramas and a couple of selections that almost defy description and which come from a diverse group of storytelling voices. This is only a preview of a program that will include over 25 feature films and shorts.

The CCFF is proud to announce that the following titles will be a part of this year’s program:

BAND AID
Married couple Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally) fight constantly. It doesn’t help that they’ve each come to a standstill in their careers, or that, together, they’ve suffered a heartbreak neither wants to face. But one day they come up with a brilliant idea they actually agree on: Why not start a band and use their arguments as songwriting inspiration? Almost as soon as they dig out their old electric guitars from the garage, their musical partnership starts to jell, but it soon becomes apparent this is only a temporary distraction from their real problems. (Synopsis courtesy of Sundance.)

BEACH RATS
Frankie, an aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn, is having a miserable summer. With his father dying and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences. Winner: Best Director, Sundance Film Festival 2017.

BIRDBOY: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN
There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, her old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever. Winner: Best Animated Feature, Goyas.

BITCH
“Bitch” is the provocative tale of a woman (Marianna Palka) who snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, absentee husband (Jason Ritter) is forced to become reacquainted with his four children and sister-in-law (Jaime King) as they attempt to keep the family together during this bizarre crisis.

DINA
Dina’s getting married in a few weeks and there’s still so much to do. She has to move her boyfriend, Scott, from his parents’ house to her apartment, and settle him in to only the second home he’s ever had, all while juggling his schedule as an early morning Walmart door greeter. She has to get her dress, confirm arrangements with the venue, and make peace with her family, who remain nervous for their beloved Dina after the death of her first husband and the string of troubled relationships that followed. Throughout it all, in the face of obstacles large and small, Dina remains indomitable. She’s overcome tragedy and found the man she wants and, at age 48, is bent on building the life for herself that she believes she deserves. Dina is unstoppable, a force of nature, and as the star of her own life story, she’s an unconventional movie protagonist the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. Winner: Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival 2017.

THE HERO
THE HERO stars the legendary Sam Elliott as an aging actor confronting mortality in the moving new film from writer/director Brett Haley (I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS). Lee Hayden (Elliott) is a Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. THE HERO is a beautiful and poignant celebration of life and the legacies we all leave behind.

THE LITTLE HOURS
Medieval nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), and Ginevra (Kate Micucci) lead a simple life in their convent. Their days are spent chafing at monastic routine, spying on one another, and berating the estate’s day laborer. After a particularly vicious insult session drives the peasant away, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) brings on new hired hand Massetto (Dave Franco), a virile young servant forced into hiding by his angry lord. Introduced to the sisters as a deaf-mute to discourage temptation, Massetto struggles to maintain his cover as the repressed nunnery erupts in a whirlwind of pansexual horniness, substance abuse, and wicked revelry. (Synopsis courtesy of Sundance.)

Now in its fifth year, CCFF has attracted an impressive array of films and talent over its first four years, including appearances by Sarah Polley with her award-winning documentary “Stories We Tell”; James Ponsoldt with his acclaimed dramas “The Spectacular Now” and “The End of the Tour”; legendary filmmaker William Friedkin with a rare 35mm presentation of his 1977 masterpiece “Sorcerer”; Craig Robinson with “Morris from America”; Michael Pena with “War on Everyone”; director Patrica Rozema with “Into the Forest”; B-movie icon Dick Miller with a double-feature of the career-spanning documentary “That Guy Dick Miller” and the 1959 Roger Corman classic “A Bucket of Blood”; and Bobcat Goldthwait, who has presented two of his directorial efforts, the horror film “Willow Creek” and “Call Me Lucky.” Last year’s crop of films gave Chicago its first look at such talked-about films as “Goat,” “The Fits,” “Beauty and the Beast,” American Fable,” “Disorder” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” which received the festival’s Audience Award. The festival’s board of directors is currently at work putting together additional titles and guests for this year’s event and further details will soon be made available.

 

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2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

The CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION
presents the return of the
CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL
MAY 1-7, 2015
MUSIC BOX THEATRE
3733 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60613

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

Contact:
Erik Childress (CFCA Board Member)
Producer
Office: (847) 439-5750
Cell: (224) 805-1573
e-mail: kgouda@aol.com

Brian Tallerico (CFCA Board Member)
Producer/Website Coordinator
e-mail: briantallerico@gmail.com

 

2014 Chicago Critics Film Festival

THE CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION presents
THE SECOND ANNUAL CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL
MAY 9-15, 2014
MUSIC BOX THEATRE
3733 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60613

934606_10152223123606996_653368129_nFollowing the success of its inaugural event earlier this year, The Chicago Film Critics Association, a group of more than 50 Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics who have been celebrating and promoting the art of cinema for 24 years, is pleased to announce the dates and location for the second Chicago Critics Film Festival. Expanding from three days to a week, the festival will run from May 9-15, 2014, at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre.

The 2014 event will offer a selection of films comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from filmmakers ranging from Oscar winners to talented newcomers chosen by members of the organization—the only example of a major film critics group hosting its own festival.

The inaugural event attracted an impressive array of films and talent. The opening night presentation featured Oscar-nominated actress-filmmaker Sarah Polley (“Away From Her,” “Take This Waltz”) and her acclaimed documentary, “Stories We Tell.” The festival’s final night featured a screening of the celebrated coming-of-age drama “The Spectacular Now,” with director James Ponsoldt in attendance.

Oscar-winning filmmaker William Friedkin introduced a rare 35mm screening of his 1977 masterpiece “Sorcerer” and participated in an entertaining Q&A about the film’s notoriously difficult production. Other films included the teen comedy “The Kings of Summer,” “Grow Up, Tony Phillips” (the latest effort from 20-year-old filmmaker Emily Hagins, in attendance), the inspirational documentary “When I Walk,” and the latest from Oscar-winning filmmaker Fernando Trueba, “The Artist and the Model.” The full 2013 program can be seen here.

The festival’s board of directors is pulling together titles and guests for next year’s event. The CFCA hopes that the 2014 Chicago Critics Film Festival will buck the tide and be the rare sequel that actually manages to improve on the original.

Chicago Critics Film Festival Contact Information:

Festival web site: http://www.chicagocriticsfilmfestival.com
Facebook: http://bit.ly/CCFilmFest
CFCA Website: http://www.chicagofilmcritics.org/

Erik Childress (CFCA Board Member)
Producer/Progammer
Office: (847) 439-5750
Cell: (224) 805-1573
e-mail: kgouda@aol.com

Brian Tallerico (CFCA Board Member)
Producer/Website Coordinator
e-mail: briantallerico@gmail.com

About the CFCA
The CFCA is dedicated to supporting and celebrating high-quality filmmaking. The organization supports and fights for the continued role of film critics in the media. Although the CFCA’s primary public interaction has been through the announcement of its annual film awards each December, the group has moved aggressively to expand its presence on the Chicago arts scene to promote critical thinking about cinema on a wider scale. Beginning in 2011, CFCA members hosted numerous screenings at the Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Illinois, and then expanded the program in 2012 to include events at Studio Movie Grill in Wheaton, Illinois. At Facets Multimedia, CFCA members also team-taught a new Young People’s Film Criticism Workshop that emphasized analysis, criticism and writing skills to middle-school and high-school students, many of whom attended on lower-income scholarships.

The CFCA hopes to be a much larger presence on the Chicago arts landscape and an even more effective advocate for critical thinking and film appreciation. This means more efforts at public outreach, education, and enlightenment. The CFCA pledges to expand presentations of films, to teach more film-based classes, and to make the Chicago Critics Film Festival into an annual tradition.

About the 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 has the largest cinema space operated full-time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and 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 http://www.musicboxtheatre.com

Thanks

Stay tuned for more reports, pics, video, and, of course, before long, news on 2014 CCFF! Until then, we can’t thank you enough for coming out to support this inaugural event. It was an honor to program the films for you and a humbling experience to see how well it turned out for all. Special thanks to our special guests: Sarah Polley, Emily Hagins, James Ponsoldt, William Friedkin, William Katt, Chris Folino, Jake Busey, Adele Romanski, Chris Macht, Ryan Oliver, Yun Shin, Giancarlo Iannotta, and Mike Wytrykus. And, of course, a final thanks to Roger Ebert, whose passion and brilliance inspired us then, inspire us now, and will inspire us for years to come.

Saturday at the Chicago Critics Film Festival

all_the_boys_love_mandy_laneThe second day of the Chicago Critics Film Festival is going to be a remarkable one. There’s a wide variety of films from which to choose, including unique documentaries like “The Institute” and “The Force Within Us,” some of the best short films you’ll see all year, a comedy starring Nick Offerman of “Parks and Recreation” and Alison Brie of “Community” (“The Kings of Summer“), appearances by Jake Busey & William Katt of “Sparks,” and a pair of see-em-first horror films in “Black Rock” and “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane“.

Get your tickets now!