A Guide to 2016’s Chicago Critics Film Festival

Must-sees, early reviews, and the full schedule for the Midwest's best film fest


    ccffFor years, the Chicago Critics Film Festival has brought out the best (and often unheralded or under-appreciated) offerings from the film festival circuit to the Windy City for a week-long marathon of some of the best and most unusual films the general public has yet to see.

    Once again, the festival returns to the iconic Music Box Theatre with an eclectic lineup of 36 diverse screenings that will run from Friday, May 20th to Thursday, May 26th. From acclaimed dramas to off-the-beaten-path genre filmmaking, this year’s lineup runs the gamut, and includes a plethora of guests to boot.

    Director Chad Hartigan and Craig Robinson will introduce the festival’s opening-night film, Morris From America; Ti West will discuss his exceptional neo-Western In a Valley of Violence; actor Michael Peña will be on hand to explain the War on Everyone; and that’s just a buttery handful of the popcorn goodness.


    If you’re a diehard cinephile, you’ll try to catch as many films as you can. To help out, we’ve recommended a few must-sees throughout the sprawling festival schedule by starring each film and linking to their accompanying review. Don’t feel too overwhelmed, we still have nearly a dozen films to catch ourselves.

    Full disclosure: Consequence of Sound‘s Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman and Film Editor Dominick Suzanne-Mayer are both members of the Chicago Film Critics Association. Come say hello. Or not.

    Opening Night: Friday, May 20th


    Morris From America

    7:00 – Morris From America (w/ director Chad Hartigan and actor Craig Robinson)

    9:30 – Goat **

    11:59 p.m. – Trash Fire

    Saturday, May 21st

    Leonard Kleinrock

    Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World

    11:00 am – Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World **

    1:00 pm – Shorts Program 1 (w/ actors Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Huebbe and cinematographer Julio Padilla Sanchez)

    3:00 – My Blind Brother

    5:00 – Joshy (w/ star Adam Pally)

    7:15 – War on Everyone (w/ actor Michael Peña)

    9:30 – Into the Forest (w/ director Patricia Rozema)

    11:59 pm – Another Evil

    Sunday, May 22nd


    Under the Shadow

    12:00 pm – Life, Animated

    2:00 – Beauty and the Beast

    4:15 – Under the Shadow **

    6:00 – Hunt For the Wilderpeople

    8:00 – Little Men (w/ director Ira Sachs)

    10:00 – Disorder

    Monday, May 23rd


    American Fable

    3:00 pm – Hunt For the Wilderpeople

    5:30 – Shorts Program 2

    7:30 – American Fable ** (w/ director Anne Hamilton and actor Peyton Kennedy)

    9:45 – Demon

    Tuesday, May 24th


    Contemporary Color

    3:30 pm – Nuts!

    5:30 – Contemporary Color ** (featuring St. Vincent; produced by David Byrne!)

    7:30 – The Other Half

    9:45 – The Blackcoat’s Daughter

    Wednesday, May 25th



    3:30 pm – Goat **

    5:30 – The Fits

    7:30 – In a Valley of Violence ** (w/ director Ti West)

    10:00 – Trash Fire

    Closing Night: Thursday, May 26th


    First Girl I Loved

    2:00 pm – Beauty and the Beast

    4:00 – American Fable **

    6:00 – First Girl I Loved ** (w/ actor Dylan Gelula)

    8:30 – Operator (w/ director Logan Kibens, screenwriter Sharon Greene, and actor Martin Starr)