• Cinephilia

    Preview: Chicago Critics Film Festival

    Though the heyday of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel has passed, Chicago boasts a strong showing in film criticism these days. The guys (because it’s mainly guys) who make up the Chicago Film Critics Association work hard across outlets to cover film releases and happenings around the city. On Friday, their fifth annual Chicago Critics Film Festival kicks off a week of screenings at Chicago’s classic Music Box Theater. A small festival by any measure – no galas, no panels, no frills – it’s big where it matters: the movies. More than twenty features will screen over the course of a week, and for those of us keeping track of these…

  • Cinephilia

    Watch This: Chicago’s DOC10 Film Festival

    Next week, Chicago Media Project presents DOC10, an annual film festival that presents the most compelling documentary films of the year over the course of a few days. This year, organizers have partnered with the newly-revamped Davis Theater in Lincoln Square to showcase films covering subject matter from music and film to social justice and true crime. Much as I’d love to, I can’t fit in all eleven films in four days. But I am going to catch a few, which I’m highlighting here. Join me!

  • City Stories

    Back to my roots. Gladly.

    I try to keep the posts here short, snappy and to the point. I’ve been doing this long enough that not only do I not have the energy for a long preamble to set up the post, but you have no interest in it either. So, dear reader, forgive me for what may be some rambling to get to today’s point, as there’s a lot to sift through. Truth is, I have no idea where to start this post. I haven’t written it yet because it’s still very much in progress, and also because I didn’t know how to go about it. There are so many angles I could take.…

  • Travel Tales

    SXSW: the Good, the Bad, the BBQ

    In 2009, I was working full-time at a tech company building some serious client-facing experience and learning the digital marketing ropes while I toiled away at the Indy Film Fest on nights and weekends. Sometime late that year, it occurred to me that I could take advantage of the company’s conference policy – employees on my team could attend one career-centered conference a year – while bolstering my film festival cred at the same time. The magic event? That grown-up Spring Break that descends on Austin each March, SXSW. So it was that I attended my first SX (read: South By) in 2010, dedicating the first part of my week to…

  • Cinephilia,  Travel Tales

    TIFF40: 9 days, 24 films

    Ten years ago, I was waiting tables at an Italian restaurant and trying to figure out what to do with a Communications degree. I knew I loved film and was bound and determined to figure out a way to make a living in it. When I pictured where I’d land, I told myself I wanted to find a career that included festival travel as part of the job description. Think about it: traveling to world-class cities to see the latest independent film, discovering new work and meeting the people making it all happen. What’s not to love? The answer, I’ve come to learn, is pretty much nothing. I just returned from…

  • Travel Tales

    A pretty great vibe

    I’ve been back a little over a week now, and I’m still taken with Seattle. Despite the rough start getting there, I enjoyed a great weekend away exploring a new town, trying new restaurants and seeing a few new films. A guest of the Seattle International Film Festival, I was lucky enough to be put up in a room right downtown, and before long I had my bearings about me and made my way to Pike Place Market. If that’s not your first stop when you get to Seattle, I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.