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Film Tue May 06 2014
Last year, along with several of my fellow Chicago-based film critic associates — all member of the Chicago Film Critics Association — I embarked on an endeavor to do something that had never been done before. We created and put on the first-ever film festival programmed and run entirely by film critics. The programmers scoured festivals from Toronto, Sundance, SXSW and others to find what we considered the best of the best of the dozens of films we saw at each festival. We mixed up the program to include festival favorites, films still looking for distribution, and even a rarely seen but much loved classic, Sorcerer from director William Friedkin (who also attended). And for three glorious days last April, we actually managed to pull together a great line-up and got a few high-profile filmmakers to come out and do Q&As for our audiences.
The event was so successful that we decided to grow the experience for audiences this year and move the location from the Chicago suburbs to inside the city limits this year. The Second Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival will take place May 9-15 at the legendary Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.
The idea behind the festival was also to answer the pleas of many film lovers who find themselves buried in film festival coverage in a given year and want to know how they can see some of these acclaimed works sooner rather than later (or maybe never).
Once again, we've got some great guests doing post-screening Q&As, including directors David Wain (They Came Together), Bobcat Goldthwaite (Willow Creek), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (American Ham) and Collin Schiffli (Animals), as well as actors Dick Miller (That Guy Dick Miller and A Bucket of Blood double-bill), Martin Starr & Jocelyn DeBoer (Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead) and David Dastmalchian (Animals). The festival features 23 Chicago premieres and two shorts programs, totaling 14 shorts between them. And I couldn't be more excited and proud to a part of this year's event once again.
And for the record, I don't make a dime off of this festival; none of us do actually. We're a part of this event because we believe in these films and really want you guys to have a chance to check out these great movies and interact with this exceptional talent. Hope to see you all come out and support great cinema.