Chicago Critics Film Fest Announces Audience Award Winners, Unprecedented 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 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival. Audiences selected Opening Night feature presentation Saint Frances as winner of the Audience Award for narrative features; directed by Alex Thompson and written by Kelly O’Sullivan, the film follows Bridget (O’Sullivan) as she navigates an unplanned pregnancy turned abortion and a new job as nanny to Frances, a six-year-old wise beyond her years.
Additionally, Life Overtakes Me, the harrowing story of young refugees afflicted by a mysterious depression, received the Audience Award for documentary feature, while two short films receive the honor: Squirrel, in which a meager apology tests a woman’s fortitude to forgive; and F*ck You, about a young woman who decides to have fun with her boyfriend’s ideas of gender.
The seventh edition of the festival boasted the event’s largest crowds to date, with a massive 40% increase in ticket sales over 2018’s affair, the largest growth year-over-year for the highly-anticipated annual event. Special guests this year included Tom Skerritt, in attendance to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Alien; comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan, star of Closing Night selection Light from Light (with writer director Paul Harrill and producer Kelly Williams); filmmaker Tom Cullen and Jay Duplass, star of Pink Wall; Aisling Franciosi (“Game of Thrones”), star of Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale; Lulu Wang, writer/director of The Farewell; and many more. Images from the 2019 Chicago Critics Film Festival can be found here.
“This year’s festival exceeded our expectations in every way,” said producers and programmers Erik Childress and Brian Tallerico. “Last year’s success encouraged us to keep improving and growing the event; we could never have imagined such a stellar response this week. We’re grateful to everyone to joined us for a movie, to the sponsors who supported us and to all the filmmakers and studios who shared their work with us.”
This year marks the first time Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review and recommendation website, joined the festival as presenting sponsor; other sponsors include Hotel Lincoln, OLM Worldwide Transportation, ABT Electronics, AEC Technology, M13 Graphics and Zia’s Lago Vista. The Chicago Critics Film Festival annually features a curated selection of acclaimed films chosen by members of the organization; the films selected are 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 eighth edition of the festival will return in May, 2020.
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.