Clare Cooney’s “Runner” at Chicago Critics Film Festival

Clare Cooney's "Runner"

Clare Cooney’s “Runner”

First-time filmmaker Clare Cooney’s award-winning short film, Runner, will screen at this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival. It will open the shorts program on Sunday May 6th at 2:30pm at The Music Box Theatre.

Runner is a psychological thriller about a woman who witnesses an accidental murder and must choose between intervention and her own safety.

Cooney wrote, directed, edited, and starred in the passion project, which was shot and completed for $900 in Chicago with an entirely local cast and crew during January ’17.



Runner has screened at prestigious film festivals across the country, including the Academy Award Qualifying Atlanta Film Festival, and recently won Best USA Short Film at Fairhope Film Festival.

The film is produced by Cooney and Shane Simmons (When Jeff Tried to Save the World, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party).

In addition to Cooney, the film stars Chicago stage actor Will Allan (Steppenwolf Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Victory Gardens, Goodman Theatre) and Travis Knight (Chicago PD, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party). It was photographed by Jason Chiu (Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Cole War, Mercury in Retrograde).

Clare Cooney, Shane Simmons, and Jason Chiu are scheduled to attend the festival and take part in a Q&A after the film.

”In Runner, I wanted to flesh out the story of an accidental murder and explore how much empathy I could extend toward a guy who has caught himself in this kind of situation, as well as study what the repercussions might be as a witness. The man who committed the crime is abusive, creepy, and threatening, but was important to me that he doesn’t come off as some kind of monster or serial murderer.”

Most women have had an encounter at some point in their lives that was either physically or sexually or verbally abusive. A man doesn’t have to be explicitly violent in order to pull on your mental state, cause you fear, or be an intimidating factor in your life. The subtle ways that men wield power was more interesting to me than a killer with a shotgun. That’s not as scary to me.”

For more information about Runner, visit the film’s website or Facebook page.

While out for her daily jog, Becca (Cooney) cuts through an alleyway and finds herself in the periphery of a couple’s heated confrontation. Suddenly becoming an unintentional and unwilling witness to a violent incident, Becca must decide between intervention and her own safety.

About Clare Cooney
Clare Cooney (writer, director, actor) is a Chicago-based actor, director, and casting director. A first-time filmmaker, Clare directed, wrote, produced, edited, and stars in Runner.

Runner received its World Premiere in August 2017 at Sidewalk Film Festival, where Clare won the Shout Special Mention Award for Acting in 2016 for her work in the film Bird of Prey. Runner went on to win Best USA Short Film at Fairhope Film Festival.

Cooney’s recent film/tv credits include: Widows (Steve McQueen), Hot Date (Pop Network), Shrink (Seeso). She is a proud graduate of School at Steppenwolf. She is represented by Gray Talent Group.

About Shane Simmons
Shane Simmons is a Chicago-based filmmaker and actor. He most recently produced the Kendall Goldberg feature debut When Jeff Tried to Save the World, starring Jon Heder and Jim O’Heir (currently in festivals), and Stephen Cone’s Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party) (now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix).

Other favorite projects include a music video/PSA for Andrew Bird’s Pulaski, Michael Glover Smith’s upcoming Mercury in Retrograde (in post-production), co-writer/directors Marty Schousboe & Morgan Lord’s Party Time Party Time (on Amazon/Vimeo/iTunes VOD), and the Stephen Cone- directed music video Bending Light for acclaimed Chicago band Sexy Fights.

Originally from Iowa, Shane began his producing and acting career in the Quad Cities with co-writers / directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place, Nightlight).

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