THE CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION
CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL
MAY 1-7, 2015
THE MUSIC BOX THEATRE
3733 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60013
Festival hits starring Anna Kendrick, Jean Dujardin, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel, Brie Larson, Jesse Eisenberg, Hailee Steinfeld and Orlando Bloom to have their Chicago premieres
Now in its third 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 the latest works from such acclaimed directors as Joe Swanberg, Bobcat Goldthwait and Andrew Bujalski and stars like Anna Kendrick, Jean Dujardin, Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Hailee Steinfeld, Brit Marling and Orlando Bloom, all of which will be making their local debuts. The festival will run May 1-7, 2015 and will be held once again at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre. Passes are now on sale at www.musicboxtheatre.com/collections/chicago-critics-film-festival-2015
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 including droll comedies, a cop thriller and even a western.
The CCFF is proud to announce that the following titles will be a part of this year’s festival lineup:
Call Me Lucky: Comedian-turned filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait, whose horror-comedy “Willow Creek” was a favorite at last year’s festival, returns with a new documentary focusing on Barry Crimmins, a controversial comedian whose sharp jabs at American foreign policy during the Reagan era shocked, amused and/or outraged audiences. While the film observes his on-stage career and his influence on future generations of comedians through interviews with the likes of Margaret Cho and Marc Maron, it also delves into a darker side of Crimmins’s personal life that inspires an activist campaign in the Nineties that takes him to Washington and finds him doing battle with no less of a foe than America Online to prevent what happened to him from happening to others.
The Connection: Based on a true story, this sophomore effort from French filmmaker Cedric Jimenez offers viewers a Gallic twist on the William Friedkin classic “The French Connection.” Set in the 1970s, the film stars Oscar winner Jean Dujardin as a newly transferred Marseille cop charged with taken down the operation that rules the city’s heroin trade under the iron fist of the seemingly unstoppable Gaetan Zampa–an endeavor that would stretch out for more than six years and come at a tremendous professional and personal cost.
Digging For Fire: In the latest comedy from Joe Swanberg, a young married couple (Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt) is still trying to adjust to life as parents three years after the birth of their son. While house-sitting for some friends, she drops the kid off with her mother before a night on the town while he invites a bunch of friends over, leading both into a night of temptations that include drinking, pot, another woman and something very strange in the yard.
The End Of The Tour: James Ponsoldt, whose “The Spectacular Now” was one of the highlights of the 2013 festival before becoming a sleeper hit, returns with a highly anticipated drama about the relationship that develops between acclaimed author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) and “Rolling Stone” reporter David Lipsky when the latter is assigned to cover the former during his five-day tour to promote his breakthrough novel “Infinite Jest.” Based on Lipsky’s acclaimed memoir and one of the more talked-about titles at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this also features appearances from Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack and Mamie Gummer.
The Keeping Room: This western drama directed by Daniel Barber and written by Julia Hart (which landed on the 2012 Black List of Hollywood’s most celebrated unproduced screenplays) looks at the waning days of the Civil War from the unusual perspective of a pair of South Carolina sisters (Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld) left behind to work the family farm with the aid of a female slave (Muna Otaru) after the men have gone off to fight and presumably die in the struggle against the North. While wondering what the future will bring with the inevitable coming of Yankee troops, the three are faced with a more immediate peril in the form of a pair of advance scouts (Sam Worthington and Kyle Solter) who are on their own personal rampage and whom they are forced to fight off in an equally brutal manner.
Results: Indie favorite Andrew Bujalski (“Mutual Appreciation” and “Computer Chess”) returns with this oddball comedy starring Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders as a pair of trainers at a local gym whose lives become inextricably entwined with one of their clients, a rich-but-depressed recent divorcee (Kevin Corrigan). The exploration of the age-old question of whether money can indeed buy happiness also features appearances from Brooklyn Decker and Anthony Michael Hall.
World of Tomorrow: In one of the selections featured in this year’s two programs of short films, Oscar-nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt gives viewers a twisted tale of a young girl getting a glimpse of her distant future in this recipient of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Though the festival is now only in its third year, it has still managed to attract an impressive array of films and talent over its first two years, including appearances by Sarah Polley with her award-winning documentary “Stories We Tell,” James Ponsoldt with his acclaimed drama “The Spectacular Now,” legendary filmmaker William Friedkin with a rare 35mm presentation of his 1977 masterpiece “Sorcerer,” David Wain with his hilarious rom-com spoof “They Came Together” and 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.” Last year’s locally shot “Animals” from director Collin Schiffli and writer-star David Dastmalchian won the festival’s first-ever 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.
For the most current details, along with information on the festival as a whole and a look back at the two previous editions, please go to 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.
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 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
Brian Tallerico (CFCA Board Member)