Chicago Critics Film Festival
Part of a critic’s job is to tell you about good movies, but with this unique festival, held every spring at Music Box, critics actually show them to you. Members of the Chicago Film Critics Association handpick notable movies from the festival circuit, many of which have yet to secure theatrical distribution, and the programming is eclectic, with everything from local work to international imports. Since the fest debuted in 2013, the CFCA has hosted such notable filmmakers as William Friedkin, Bobcat Goldthwait, James Ponsoldt, and Joe Swanberg. Critics of the critics argue that one can’t ethically be a programmer and a journalist at the same time, a problem the association circumvents by not screening its offerings for the press. I’m a member of the CFCA, but I can say in all honesty that the fest has become one of the highlights of my year.