By MCN Editor


The Chicago Film Critics Association, a group of over 50 Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics that has celebrated and promoted the art of film for over 20 years, is pleased to announce the first annual Chicago Critics Film Festival, a three-day collection of more than 20 features and short films comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet undistributed works, all receiving their Chicago premieres and covering a wide variety of genres. The festival is at the Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18 from April 12-14, 2013.

This will be the first time a film critics group has hosted its own film festival. One of the film critic’s jobs is to spotlight works that do not have the benefit of big promotions, and that is the idea behind this festival. The CFCA plans to make this the first of an annual series sharing films we genuinely love and exposing a wider audience to features, documentaries and short films that either do not yet have theatrical distribution or could use an extra push.

Oscar-winning director William Friedkin will make an appearance Sunday evening to sign copies of his newly published memoir “The Friedkin Connection” and participate in a Q&A following a screening of one of his classic films. The inaugural festival will kick off with Oscar-nominated actress-filmmaker Sarah Polley (“Away from Her,” “Take This Waltz””) on hand to present the local premiere of her latest film, “Stories We Tell.” For the closing night spot, the festival is proud to present the Sundance favorite “The Spectacular Now,” co-starring Golden Globe nominee Shailene Woodley.

Other films already confirmed for the festival include the coming-of-age comedy “The Kings of Summer” (featuring Chicagoan Nick Offerman from television’s “Parks and Recreation”), “I Declare War,” a trippy action-comedy in which a children’s war game is seen exclusively through the eyes of its participants, the Slamdance award-winner “The Dirties,” “The Institute,” a documentary about an Alternate Reality Game in which the real and the fictional merge together in unexpected ways, the family saga “I Used To Be Darker,” the romantic drama “Leave Me Like You Found Me” (with director Adele Romanski scheduled to attend), the off-beat superhero tale “Sparks” and the inspirational documentary “When I Walk.” In addition, two programs of short films are scheduled that will feature selections from around the world, including entries from students at Chicago’s Columbia College. Other films and guests will be announced soon.

Pass pricing:

$100 – Full Festival Weekend Pass (with VIP closing party)
$90 – Saturday/Sunday Festival Daily Pass (with VIP closing party)
$70 – Saturday/Sunday Festival Daily Pass (Movies only)
$40 – Saturday or Sunday Festival Pass (Movies only)
$20 – Friday Festival Pass

Tickets for individual screenings will also be available. Daily and weekend passes can be purchased here starting on March 7. Individual tickets will go on sale March 25. A final press release, featuring a full schedule and ticketing details, will be sent out at that time as well.

All festival screenings and events will be held at the Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18. Located in Rosemont. IL off of River Road and 294, the Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18 is Chicago’s premiere movie-going experience featuring elegant stadium seating and state of the art Sony 4K digital projection.

All official festival gatherings will be held at Bogart’s Bar and Grill, located on the second floor of the Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18. Muvico is also easily accessible by public transportation; just a short walk from the Blue Line River Road exit.

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 2012, 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. Last year, in addition to re-launching a late-winter awards ceremony, CFCA members presented numerous film screenings at theaters like the Gene Siskel Film Center, 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 next 20 years, 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 2013 Chicago Critics Film Festival the first in a long, ongoing annual tradition.

MUVICO THEATERS – The presenting sponsor of the CFCA Chicago Critics Film Fest

About Muvico
Based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Muvico Entertainment, L.L.C., is a chain of premium motion picture Megaplex theaters, with 152 screens in nine locations across Florida, California, and Illinois. Muvico’s philosophy is to provide an integrated entertainment experience through extensive amenities and the latest in cutting-edge theater technology. For further information please see

More than movies
The Muvico chain features one of the richest film-going experiences in the country. In addition to Sony Digital Theater 4K, RealD3D, and D-BOX motion code seating, and IMAX screens at select locations, Muvico Theaters offers self-contained entertainment complexes that include full arcades, bowling lanes, bars, and fine dining restaurants that bring together a unique blend of cinema and culinary fare.

About Bogart’s Bar and Grill
Bogart’s Bar & Grill is a full service bar and restaurant located on the 2nd floor of Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18. Offering classic American Fare, a large variety of domestic and imported beers, and top shelf liquor and wine selections, Bogart’s is a great place to sit down for a great meal or cocktail, before the show after the show or anytime!



Sponsorship Opportunities are still available for anyone who would like to get in on the ground floor of this very special event. The Chicago Film Critics Association is a 501c not-for-profit organization and any donations will be tax deductible. Sponsorship will guarantee placement on the official advertising materials which will get further exposure through any outlet that promotes the event.
Erik Childress (CFCA Board Member)
– Producer, Chicago Critics Film Festival
Office: (847) 439-5750
Cell: (222)805-1573

Mike Kerz

Director of Special Events at Muvico Theater

Office: (847) 447-1027


Collin Souter (
– Shorts Film Programmer, Chicago Critics Film Festival

Steve Prokopy (Ain’t it Cool News)
– Press & Studio Inquiries, Chicago Critics Film Festival

Peter Sobczynski (, CFCA Board Member)
– Press & Studio Inquiries, Chicago Critics Film Festival

Brian Tallerico (, CFCA Board Member)
– Press & Studio Inquiries, Chicago Critics Film Festival


With such seminal movies as The Exorcist and The French Connection, Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin earned his place in the pantheon of great filmmakers. A maverick from the start, Friedkin joined other young directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich in ushering in Hollywood’s second Golden Age in the 1970s. His long-awaited memoir, THE FRIEDKIN CONNECTION (Harper, April 16, 2013) provides a candid portrait of an extraordinary life and career, and offers a window into the rarified world of Hollywood in the sixties and seventies.

Friedkin’s own success story has the makings of a classic American film: He was born in Chicago, the son of Russian immigrants, and loved movies from his earliest days. Immediately after high school, he found work in the mailroom of a local television station, and patiently worked his way into the directing booth during the heyday of live TV. An award-winning documentary brought him attention as a talented new filmmaker, as well as an advocate for justice, and it caught the eye of producer David L. Wolper, who brought Friedkin to Los Angeles. There he moved from television (one of the last episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) to film (The Birthday Party, The Boys in the Band), displaying a versatile stylistic range. Released in 1971, The French Connection won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and two years later, The Exorcist received ten Oscar nominations and catapulted Friedkin’s career.

THE FRIEDKIN CONNECTION takes readers on a journey through the numerous chance encounters and unplanned occurrences that led a bored young man from a poor urban neighborhood to unrivaled success in one of the most competitive industries and art forms in the world. With keen wit and intellect, Friedkin proves as gifted a storyteller on the page as he is on the screen, taking readers from the streets of Chicago to the executive suites of Hollywood, from star-studded movie sets to the precision of the editing room. His memoir has the narrative drive of one of his finest films.


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon