Add these special film events to your May date book

The Chicago Critics Film Festival

Not only does the Merry Month of May bring beautiful weather, but it also brings forth many cinematic afternoons and evenings that entertain and inform.  So start filling in your calendar for the first weeks of the month with these events.

THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL will present winners of recent film festivals, including several Chicago-made films and Chicago premieres, and as-yet undistributed works, May 1-7 at the Music Box theatre.

Special guests are Joe Swanberg (“Digging for Fire”) and Kris Swanberg (“Unexpected”) and its star, Cobie Smulders. 

Special guests: Joan Cusack Wednesday and Thursday evenings for “The End of the Trail,” with director James Ponsoldt; also “The Late, Late Show’s” Adam Pally and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait will be attendance.

COOL APOCALYPSE,” the debut indie feature film  from Michael Glover Smith, cinema blogger, educator and debut filmmaker, will have its world premiere at the 9th Annual Illinois Film Festival, Saturday, May 2 in Aurora.

Smith directed and co-produced with Claire Kosinski his original screenplay, about love lost over the course of a long single day, with local actors Nina Ganet (star of Stephen Cone’s new  “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party”), Chelsea David, Adam Overberg and Kevin Wehby. See the trailer here.  

Working with a micro-budget, Smith says he filmed 50% in his Edgewater apartment and the rest on Chicago locations. “Cool Apocalypse” received accolades from critics who saw it at an earlier screening.

At the Prisco Community Center in Aurora.  Tickets are $10; buy festival passes here

DIRECTOR SHIRA PIVEN, an alum of the famous Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, will appear at the Chicago premiere of her second feature, “Welcome to Me,” on May 8, in sync with national openings and a week’s run at the Music Box Theatre.

Kristen Wiig stars as the winner of a Mega Millions lottery and uses it to fund her dream of becoming the next Oprah.  It stars Joan Cusack, James Marsden, Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Linda Cardelli, Wes Bentley, and her mother, Joyce Piven as Wiig’s mother.

Piven and Cusack will introduce the film and take Q&As.  


Tickets are $15; a portion of which will support Piven Theatre Workshop scholarships and outreach programs.  

SCRIPT DOCTOR, screenwriter and story skills teacher Mary Ruth Clarke is the Chicago Screenwriters Network speaker May 10, holding forth on some universal mistakes in concept, story and formatting and suggestion on resolving them.

Clarke was one of the four local filmmakers who conceived the original “Meet the Parents,” and also had a role in the film. She was a co-writer of the movie when it was produced by Paramount in 2000.

At Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln, meeting starts at 6 p.m., presentation at 7  Admission $5 with advance registration at Eventbrite, $10 at the door.  

ADVERTISING’S ICONS will be saluted by the Chicago Ad Federation May 9-Oct. 31 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The exhibit examines the creation and evolution of such characters as the Jolly Green Giant, Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald and many others over more than 70 years.

Send event information to Contact Ruth by phone, 312/274-9980.