New Swanberg indie opens Chicago Film Critics fest

Filmmaker Joe Swanberg

Filmmaker / actor Joe Swanberg will present his latest indie comedy, “Digging For Fire,” about marriage, parenting, mystery and murder, as the opening selection of the 3rd annual Chicago Critix Film Festival (CFCA) May 1-7, at the historic Music Box Theatre.

CFCA will screen a selection of 25 recent international film festival favorites, and some as yet-undistributed work, created by award-winners to talented newcomers.

Salma Hayek, Orlando bloom, Liam Neesom, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Jason Swartzman, Taylor Schilling and other stars appear in an eclectic array of exciting cinema in a wide variety of forms. 

The program was entirely curated by its members, and the Chicago Film Critics Association, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is the only group of major film critics group hosting its own festival.

See the entire line up here.

Personal favorites include:

Raiders!: The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made” — Friday, May 1, 9:30 p.m. Thirty-Three years in the making, this fan-film remake of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is a behind-the- scenes look at how three 11-year olds set out to remake the titular “Raiders” in honest and obsessive detail. (Trailer

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet” — Saturday, May 2, 12 p.m. Internationally acclaimed animators assemble to showcase Gibran’s seminal text and bring to life vignettes on love, marriage, children and freedom. (Trailer)

Batkid Begins: The wish Heard Around The World” — Screening: Sunday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. Director Dana Nachman and Writer/Editor Kurt Kuenne in attendance. San Francisco turns itself into Gotham City to make a dream come true for a five year old who loves Batman battling with leukemia. (Trailer)

Short Film Selections, Program 1 — Sunday May 3, 1 p.m. Program 2, Monday, May 4, 5 p.m. Selections from the Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, Sundance and more are unveiled. Many of these films have never been seen in Chicago. A must-see for fans of short cinema. Trailer

The CFCA Festival will close with “Me & Earl & The Dying Girl” by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon — Thursday, May 7, 8:30 p.m. Winner of both the Sundance Grand Jury & Audience Award – A one-of-a-kind film. (Trailer)

In addition to Joe Swanberg, many of the film directors are scheduled to attend the festival.

Tickets are available at The Music Box Theatre

Julian Grant is a tenured professor at Columbia College Chicago in the Cinema Art + Science department. Email him at