Last week I gave you the details on the Chicago Critics Film Festival, a weekend-long event happening in Chicagoland this coming weekend (April 12-14) at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont (near O'Hare Airport), and I just wanted to give those in the area a few updates as well as a chance to check out a couple of the films for free.
First off, just this morning it was announced that after a unanimous vote of the Chicago Film Critics Association's board of directors and the blessing of Chaz Ebert, the Chicago Critics Film Festival will be officially dedicated to Roger Ebert. I lobbied hard for this (not that there was any opposition that I was aware of) because Ebert never missed the opportunity to throw his support behind smaller-budget and independent movies; he reviewed them on equal ground to big-budget studio films and considered them one of American cinema's greatest resources. It seems completely appropriate that this festival be dedicated in his honor.
Second, the festival has a last-minute and very cool addition. It was announced about a month ago that Jonathon (50/50, WARM BODIES, THE WACKNESS) Levine's long-delayed first feature ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (starring Amber Heard) finally got a release date. The film premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, played a bunch of other festivals, was released all over the world except the United States, and got lost in ownership hell after its original U.S. distributor went bankrupt. But now the Weinstein Co.'s multi-platform arm, RADiUS has set a VOD/theatrical release for this summer. But the Chicago Critics Film Festival will be screening it on Saturday, April 13 at 11pm. Tickets for it and all film, as well as full-festival passes and day passes are on sale HERE.
Finally, I've got 20 pairs of tickets each for two screenings (both with guests) happening at the festival. The first 20 people for each movie to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org can win either a pair of tickets to the Saturday, April 13, Noon screening of Emily Hagin's latest film GROW UP, TONY PHILLIPS (with Emily on hand for a Q&A); or the Sunday, April 14, 2:30pm screening of SPARKS (with director Chris Folino and stars William Katt, Jake Busey, and Marina Squerciati Q&A). Just make sure to give me your full name and put the name of the movie in the subject line. Your tickets will be waiting for you at the box office at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont.
And don't forget that we have incredible guests for many of the festival's features and shorts (including the multi-talented Sarah Polley, with her new film STORIES WE TELL and director James Ponsoldt with his incredible work THE SPECTACULAR NOW), as well as a very special appearance by Guest of Honor and Academy Award Winner William Friedkin, who will be on hand Sunday, April 14, to do a Q&A after a screening of one of his classic works, a rarely screened 35mm print of SORCERER (1977), and we're being told that it's a pretty gorgeous print. (This is not the still-being-worked-on digital restoration of SORCERER that is currently being prepared for Blu-ray later this year; this is old-school 35mm, at Mr. Friedkin's assistance.)