By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL Announces Audience Award Winners, Exponential Festival Growth

(Chicago, IL) — The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, today announces the Audience Award winners following the 6th Chicago Critics Film Festival. Audiences selected Closing Night feature presentation Eighth Grade as winner of the Audience Award for narrative features; the film screened to a sold-out crowd as the festival wrapped up on May 10 at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theater.

Additionally, Three Identical Strangers, the incredible true story of three triplets separated at birth and reunited years later, received the Audience Award for documentary, while two short films tied for Audience Award honors: Runner, written and directed by Chicago-based filmmaker Clare Cooney, and We Forgot to Break Up.

The sixth edition of the festival also boasted the largest crowds to date, with a nearly 15% increase in ticket sales over 2017’s affair, the largest growth year-over-year for the highly-anticipated annual event. Special guests this year included Gugu Mbatha-Raw (A Wrinkle in Time) and Jordan Horowitz (La La Land) with Opening Night selection Fast Color; writer/director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) with First Reformed; Bo Burnham (The Big Sick) with his feature film debut, Eighth Grade; and many more. Images from the 2018 Chicago Critics Film Festival can be found here.

“We’re beyond thrilled with the reception of this year’s festival,” said producers and programmers Erik Childress and Brian Tallerico. “Not only was it our strongest slate of films, as filmmakers and studios continue to recognize the audiences they can connect to through us, but the lines wrapped around the block throughout the week prove that Chicago film lovers are eager and hungry for the quality of films we present.”

As the week-long event came to a close, it was also announced that the Chicago Critics Film Festival would participate in the City of Chicago’s outdoor film series at Millennium Park, selecting Mad Max: Fury Road to screen Tuesday, June 12 at Pritzker Pavilion. The summer series features selections from several different film festivals around the city.

Runner-up for Best Film Festival in the Chicago Reader’s 2017 “Best of Chicago” poll, the CCFF annually features a selection of acclaimed films chosen by members of the organization, a combination of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a variety of filmmakers, from established Oscar winners to talented newcomers. It is the only current example of a major film critics group that hosts its own festival. The seventh edition of the festival will return in May of 2019.

About the Chicago Film Critics Association

The Chicago Film Critics Association supports and celebrates quality filmmaking that has something to say about our world, our lives, and our society. In the past, while the CFCA’s priority was to support and fight for the continued role of film critics in the media, the CFCA’s public interaction was limited to the announcement of its annual film awards. In recent years, the CFCA has expanded its presence on the Chicago arts scene, promoting critical thinking about cinema to a wider base through several initiatives, including the re-launch of a late-winter film awards ceremony; CFCA-hosted film screenings throughout Chicagoland; and a Young People’s Film Criticism Workshop at Facets Multimedia. The annual Chicago Critics Film Festival further builds on the organization’s goal to be an active part of the Chicago film landscape.

 

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“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier

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