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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

  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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