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Happy Christmas

Interview: Megan Mercier, 2016 Focus Award Honoree, Presented by Women in Film Chicago

Megan Mercier

CHICAGO – The advocacy group of Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) have an annual event that honors prominent members of the media industry in the city, and the 2016 Focus Awards Gala will take place this year on January 28th. The honorees are Advertising Creative Director Jean Batthany, Documentary Filmmaker Kathryn Hempel, Film Director Kris Swanberg, and Writer/Actor Megan Mercier.

Interview: ‘Digging for Fire’ Director Joe Swanberg at 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival

Joe Swanberg, photo by Patrick McDonald

CHICAGO – He is the master of loose and natural dialogue in his many micro-budget films. Director Joe Swanberg has worked his way up the movie ladder through perseverance and staying true to his vision, despite the obstacles. His film, “Digging for Fire,” opened the Chicago Critics Film Festival on May 1, 2015.

Film News: Midwest Independent Film Festival to Honor 2014 Films on Dec. 2

Best of the Midwest 2014

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, December 2nd, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will award their 2014 “Best of the Midwest” honors with a ceremony at The Underground Nightclub in Chicago. The evening will be hosted by Festival Director Mike McNamara, and nominees include “Animals” – directed by Collin Schiffli, “The Starfish Throwers” – directed by Jesse Roesler and “Happy Christmas” – directed by Joe Swanberg.

DVD Review: Lo-Fi Anna Kendrick Dramedy ‘Happy Christmas’ Comes to DVD

Happy Christmas

CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

Film Review: ‘Happy Christmas’ is Au Naturale for Good or for Bland

Happy Christmas

CHICAGO – One thing that struck me about writer/director Joe Swanberg’s previous “Drinking Buddies,” and made it one of my more celebrated from 2013 despite not really loving it as a film, was its importance to those good ol’ independent movies. Here were big flashy stars like Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick, not just acting in a movie of a lower budget, but creating a wider appeal out of a previously very niche aspect, without the film form itself changing much.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box. Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

  • I'm Dying Up Here

    CHICAGO – One of the great new premium channel TV series, which piggybacked on the “Twin Peaks” return on the Showtime Network, is “I’m Dying Up Here.” Set in the 1970s, it tells the stories of fictional stand up comedians in Los Angeles, and one of the Consulting Producers and series writers is Cindy Caponera.

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