The Chicago Critics Film Festival, now in its fourth year, will run May 20-26, 2016 and will be held this year at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre.
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 festival brings together an eclectic array of films ranging from raucous comedies and foreign-made dramas to thought-provoking documentaries and midnight genre films with a couple of programs of shorts thrown in for good measure.
Though the festival only came into existence three years ago, the festival was still able to attract an impressive array of films and talent, including appearances by Sarah Polley with her award-winning documentary “Stories We Tell,” “James Ponsoldt with his critically-acclaimed drama “The Spectacular Now” and William Friedkin presenting a rare 35mm screening of his 1977 masterpiece “Sorcerer.” The second festival in 2014 welcomed appearances by director David Wain with his comedy “They Came Together,” Bobcat Goldthwait with his Bigfoot thriller “Willow Creek” and veteran character actor Dick Miller. David Dastmalchian and Collin Schiffli took home the first Audience Award ever given out at the Chicago Critics Film Festival for their locally-shot drama, “Animals.” The third year saw the Chicago premiere of “Digging For Fire,” “Slow West,” “The Keeping Room,” “Call Me Lucky,” “Results,” “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” “The Overnight,” “The End of the Tour,” and “Me & Earl & the Dying Girl,” with special guests like Cobie Smulders, Joan Cusack, Bobcat Goldthwait, Joe Swanberg, and more!
The festival’s board of directors is currently at work pulling together titles and guests for this year’s event and further details will be soon be made available.
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 and has now expanded that program to a monthly series of films to be presented at the Classic Cinemas in Elk Grove Village. 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.
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