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Chicago Critics Film Festival Announces Full 2024 Lineup with Sing Sing, Ghostlight, Babes, I Saw the TV Glow, More

The Chicago Critics Film Festival announced its 11th Annual lineup this morning, featuring over two dozen Chicago premieres, over a dozen special guests, and anniversary screenings of “Little Women,” “Bringing Out the Dead,” and “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.” Highlights include Jane Schoenbrun’s “I Saw the TV Glow,” Greg Kwedar’s “Sing Sing,” Pamela Adlon’s “Babes,” Nicole Riegel’s “Dandelion,” Alex Thompson & Kelly O’Sullivan’s “Ghostlight,” and India Donaldson’s “Good One” – all with filmmakers in attendance. Other can’t-miss events include the premieres of the highly anticipated “Cuckoo,” “Thelma,” “The Remarkable Life of Ibelin,” “The Dead Don’t Hurt,” and many more. Get tickets here while you can.

Full press release below:

(Chicago, IL) — The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, today announces the complete lineup, schedule and special guests expected for the eleventh annual Chicago Critics Film Festival, May 3-9 at the city’s historic Music Box Theatre. The festival opens with a screening of A24’s SING SING starring Oscar® nominee Colman Domingo and closes with Chicago-made Sundance Film Festival breakout GHOSTLIGHT. Additional selected films for the 2024 festival include Chicago premieres of the most anticipated films of the year, including Jane Schoenbrun’s I SAW THE TV GLOW, Chris Nash’s IN A VIOLENT NATURE and Nicole Riegel’s DANDELION.

More information on the complete schedule and anticipated special guests is below and online; festival passes and individual tickets are also available online here

In addition to the more than 20 acclaimed new feature films and two short film programs making their Chicago premieres, the festival will present several anniversary screenings, including a 30th anniversary screening of Gillian Armstrong’s LITTLE WOMEN (1994); a 25th anniversary screening of Martin Scorsese’s BRINGING OUT THE DEAD (1999) starring Nicolas Cage and Patricia Arquette, both in 35mm; and a 20th anniversary screening of the classic anime sci-fi drama GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE (2004). 

Filmmakers and special guests expected to attend and participate in post-film Q&As include Paul Raci (SING SING); Pamela Adlon (BABES); KiKi Layne (DANDELION); and Alex Thompson and Kelly O’Sullivan (GHOSTLIGHT). For Shorts Program # 1, local filmmakers Jack Dunphy (BOB’S FUNERAL) and Lori Felker (PATIENT) will be guests for a Q&A.  Additional special guests are expected to be announced in the lead-up to the festival.

The program also includes three documentary features and two midnight screenings; the festival’s two short film programs feature a total of thirteen film premieres including the latest animated short film from Oscar® nominee Don Hertzfeldt (full shorts program descriptions online here).

This year, the Chicago Critics Film Festival again welcomes Rotten Tomatoes as official sponsor of the Audience Award; the two organizations together present the CFCA / Rotten Tomatoes Emerging Critics Grant, this year awarded to Laya Tate (she/they; online at and Arieon Whittsey (they/them; online at will each receive a $2,500 grant, an all-access pass to the Chicago Critics Film Festival, as well as mentorship opportunities with Chicago Film Critics Association members and the opportunity to pitch story ideas to Rotten Tomatoes editorial staff. Learn more about this year’s selected honorees here. The committee also recognized Ben Kaye, Jonathan Monovich and Myle Yan Tay with special recognition for their potential and promise as film journalists.

Annually, the Chicago Critics Film Festival features a selection of acclaimed films chosen by members of the organization. The selections are a combination of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a variety of filmmakers, from established Oscar winners to talented newcomers. In recent years, the festival has provided Chicagoans their first opportunity to see acclaimed films like Celine Song’s Best Picture Oscar® Nominee Past Lives, Matt Johnson’s Blackberry, Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth, Sean Baker’s Red Rocket, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter and The Power of the Dog, for which Jane Campion won the Oscar for Best Director. With every indication that this year’s program will be just as promising, the best way to ensure access to every aspect of the week-long event is to secure a festival pass, just $200 and available online here. Follow the CFCA and the festival on Twitter/X at @chicagocritics, on Facebook here and on Instagram.

The complete lineup for the eleventh annual Chicago Critics Film Festival is below, including screening dates/times and special guests expected to attend. Explore the entire schedule and secure tickets/passes in advance at Select films are available for advanced review and interviews; interested media should apply for accreditation online here.


Director: Pamela Adlon | 109 mins

When carefree and single Eden (Ilana Glazer) decides to have a baby on her own after a one-night stand, her friendship with childhood best friend Dawn (Michelle Buteau) faces its greatest challenge. From co-writers Ilana Glazer and Josh Rabinowitz and directed by Pamela Adlon, BABES is a hilarious and heartfelt comedy about the bonds of friendship and the messy, unpredictable challenges of adulthood and becoming a parent.

Screens: Saturday May 4 at 6:45pm

BRINGING OUT THE DEAD (25th Anniversary Screening)

Director: Martin Scorsese | 121 mins

This tense urban drama from Martin Scorsese stars Nicolas Cage as Frank Pierce, a paramedic on the brink of physical and emotional collapse. Frank has worked for years in one of New York's most brutal neighborhoods, and the pressure of his job has taken its toll; plagued with self-doubt, he is haunted by the spirits of the people he couldn't save, and while he desperately wants to quit his job, outside forces won't let him walk away.

Screens: Tuesday May 7 at 7pm


Director: Tillman Singer | 102 mins

Reluctantly, 17-year-old Gretchen leaves her American home to live with her father, who has just moved into a resort in the German Alps with his new family. Arriving at their future residence, they are greeted by Mr. König, her father's boss, who takes an inexplicable interest in Gretchen's mute half-sister, Alma. Something doesn't seem right in this tranquil vacation paradise. Gretchen is plagued by strange noises and bloody visions until she discovers a shocking secret that also concerns her own family. 

Screens: Friday May 3 at 9:30pm


Director: Nicole Riegel | 113 mins

Dandelion (KiKii Layne), a struggling Cincinnati singer-songwriter in a downward spiral, takes a last-ditch-effort gig at a motorcycle rally in South Dakota where she meets Casey, a guitarist who walked away from his dream long ago. As Dandelion joins Casey’s nomadic group of struggling musicians, the kindred spirits make music together and strike up a whirlwind romance. The experience moves Dandelion from a narrow view of success to a deeper appreciation of her artistic journey, and the discovery of a voice that is authentically her own.

Screens: Monday May 6 at 7pm with filmmaker Nicole Riegel and star KiKi Layne scheduled to attend


Director: Viggo Mortensen | 129 mins

The Dead Don’t Hurt is a story of star-crossed lovers on the western U.S. frontier in the 1860s. After meeting Danish immigrant Holder Olsen (Viggo Mortensen) in San Francisco, the fiercely independent Vivienne Le Coudy (Vicky Krieps) agrees to travel with him to his home near the quiet town of Elk Flats, Nevada, where they start a life together. The outbreak of the civil war separates them when Olsen makes a fateful decision to fight for the Union. When Olsen returns from the war, he and Vivienne must confront and make peace with the person each has become. 

Screens: Sunday May 5 at 2:00 pm


Director: Max Fleischer | 65 mins

The Fabulous Fleischer Cartoons Restored project is one dedicated to gathering and restoring as many of the 700-odd animated shorts produced by Max Fleischer at the studio bearing his name between 1919-1942. We are honored to be showing seven of these restorations, including appearances by such favorite characters as Betty Boop, Popeye, Koko the Clown and Superman. These shorts serve as an eye-popping and side-splitting representation of the works of one of the mostly unsung pioneers of animation that will delight and astound viewers of all ages.

Screens: Saturday May 4 at 12pm


Director: Christopher Wilcha | 92 mins

When filmmaker Chris Wilcha revisits the record store he worked at as a teenager in New Jersey, he finds the once-thriving bastion of music and weirdness from his youth slowly falling apart and out of touch with the times. Flipside documents his tragicomic attempt to revive the store while revisiting other documentary projects he has abandoned over the years. In the process, Wilcha captures This American Life icon Ira Glass in the midst of a creative rebirth, discovers the origin story of David Bowie’s ode to a local New Jersey cable television hero, and uncovers the unlikely connection between jazz photographer Herman Leonard and TV writer David Milch. This disparate collection of stories coheres into something strange and expansive—a moving meditation on music, work, and the sacrifices and satisfaction of trying to live a creative life.

Screens: Monday May 6 at 9:45pm


Director:  | 110 mins

Celebrated directorial duo the Ross Brothers (Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets and Contemporary Color) turn their pioneering hybrid approach to the cinematic road trip with GASOLINE RAINBOW. Undoubtedly candid yet deeply loving, this is an expansive portrait of the new generation as told in their own words. With high school in the rearview, five teenagers from inland Oregon embark on one last adventure. Piling into a van with a busted tail light, their mission takes them to a place they’ve never been — the Pacific coast, five hundred miles away. The plan, in full: “Fuck it.”

Screens: Wednesday May 8 at 4:30pm

GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE (20th Anniversary Screening)

Directors: Naoko Kusumi, Mizuho Nishikubo, Mamoru Oshii | 100 mins

In the year 2032, the line between humans and machines has been blurred almost beyond distinction. A string of murders perpetrated by a prototype android model has drawn the attention of Public Security Section 9, a unit specializing in counter cyber-terrorism. With none of the victims' families pressing charges, suspicions arise regarding the nature of the androids and their production company. In the course of the investigation, the almost entirely cyber-bodied agent Batou, and his still human partner Togusa embark on a journey through a technological dystopia, taking on ferocious Yakuza thugs, devious hackers, government bureaucrats, and corporate criminals to uncover the shocking truth behind the crime. Acclaimed director Mamoru Oshii pushes further into the world and concepts first developed in his groundbreaking film Ghost in the Shell, considered one of the most important and iconic anime films ever made. With its thought-provoking speculations on artificial intelligence, which have only become more relevant in our present world, GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE celebrates its 20th anniversary returning to cinemas in a lustrous new 4K restoration.

Screens: Tuesday May 7 at 9:45pm


Directors: Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson | 110 mins

When melancholic construction worker Dan finds himself drifting from his wife and daughter, he discovers community and purpose in a local theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet. As the drama onstage start to mirror his own life, he and his family are forced to confront a personal loss

Screens: Thursday May 9 at 8:30pm with filmmakers Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson scheduled to attend


Director: India Donaldson | 90 mins

In India Donaldson’s insightful, piercing debut, 17-year-old Sam embarks on a three-day backpacking trip in the Catskills with her dad, Chris and his oldest friend, Matt. As the two men quickly settle into a gently quarrelsome brotherly dynamic, airing long-held grievances, Sam, wise beyond her years, attempts to mediate. But when lines are crossed and Sam’s trust is betrayed, tensions reach a fever pitch as Sam struggles with her dad’s emotional limitations and experiences the universal moment when the parental bond is tested.

Screens: Wednesday May 8 at 7pm with filmmaker India Donaldson scheduled to attend


Director: Thea Hvistendahl | 99 mins

On a hot summer day in Oslo, the dead mysteriously awaken, and three families are thrown into chaos when their deceased loved ones come back to them. Who are they, and what do they want? A family is faced with the mother’s reawakening before they have even mourned her death after a car accident; an elderly woman gets the love of her life back the same day she has buried her; a grandfather rescues his grandchild from the gravesite in a desperate attempt to get his daughter out of her depression. Handling the Undead is a drama with elements of horror about three families, a story about grief and loss, but also about hope and understanding of what we can’t comprehend or control.

Screens: Wednesday May 8 at 9:45pm


Director: Jane Schoenbrun | 100 mins

Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

Screens: Sunday May 5 at 7:15pm with filmmaker Jane Schoenburn scheduled to attend


Director: Chris Nash | 94 mins

An ambient slasher that methodically depicts the enigmatic resurrection, rampage, and retribution of an undead monster in a remote wilderness.

Screens: Saturday May 4 at 9:45pm


Director: Francis Gallupi | 90 mins

A traveling knife salesman is stranded and forced to wait at a rural rest stop and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a violent hostage situation upon the arrival of two bank robbers who are on the run after a recent heist.

Screens: Sunday May 5 at 10pm

LITTLE WOMEN (30th Anniversary Screening in 35mm)

Director: Gillian Armstrong | 115 mins

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America. Starring Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale, Claire Danes, and Susan Sarandon.

Screens: Sunday May 5 at 11:30am


Director: Luke Gilford | 99 mins

Dylan (Charlie Plummer), a 21-year-old soft-spoken construction worker, is the de facto father figure to his little brother and works odd jobs to help the family get by.  One day, he finds himself with the opportunity to work at a ranch, where he is welcomed by a vibrant community of rodeo performers who openly explore their identities and sexuality.  He is especially drawn to Sky (Eve Lindley), a force of nature who Dylan connects with, and begins to forge the confidence to explore his own identity. 

Screens: Thursday May 9 at 6pm


Director: Damian McCarthy | 98 mins

When Dani is brutally murdered at the remote country house that she and her husband Ted are renovating, everyone suspects a patient from the local mental health institution, where Ted is a doctor. However, soon after the tragic killing, the suspect is found dead. A year later, Dani’s blind twin sister Darcy, a self-proclaimed psychic and collector of cursed items, pays an unexpected visit to Ted and his new girlfriend, Yana. Convinced that there was more to her sister's murder than people know, Darcy has brought with her the most dangerous items from her cursed collection to help her exact revenge.

Screens: Saturday May 4 at 11:59pm


Director: Yance Ford | 85 mins

In the United States, police have been granted extraordinary power over our individual lives. The police determine who is suspicious and who ‘fits the description.’ They define the threats and decide how to respond. They demand obedience and carry the constant threat of violence. Thousands of these interactions play out in our cities and towns every day, according to real and perceived ideas of criminality and threats to social order—as decided by the police. Police make the abstract power of the state real. POWER traces the accumulation of money, the consolidation of political power, and the nearly unrestricted bipartisan support that has created the institution of policing as we know it. The film offers a visceral and immersive journey to demonstrate how we’ve arrived at this moment in history, from the slave patrols of the 1700’s and the first publicly funded police departments of the 1800’s to the uprisings of the 1960’s and 2020’s.

Screens: Thursday May 9 at 4pm


Director: Benjamin Ree | 106 mins

"When Mats Steen, a Norwegian gamer, died of a degenerative muscular disease at age 25, his parents mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated existence. They were unaware that Mats had long been leading a vibrant digital life that had left a profound impact on a community of fellow gamers. The film takes us on a journey through the breadth of Mats Steen’s adventurous online life,  introducing us to Ibelin, his charismatic World of Warcraft persona. Through reconstructed animated moments from Mats’ gameplay, narrated entries from his blog, and interviews with people who knew him as Ibelin, a picture of a remarkable young man emerges, one that underscores how community and soulful relationships can transcend the boundaries of the physical world. "

Screens: Sunday May 5 at 4:45pm


Directors: Various l #1: 90 mins / # 2: 89 mins

This year’s two Shorts Programs offer audiences another outstanding showcase of new talent as well as a returning favorite (Don Hertzfeldt, director of ME). The Programs spotlight a wide range of genres, tones, narrative styles, experimentation and award-winners from around the world. 

Shorts Program # 1 screens: Saturday May 4 at 1:45pm

Shorts Program #2 screens: Monday May 6 at 4:30pm


Director: Greg Kwedar | 105 mins

Divine G (Colman Domingo), imprisoned at Sing Sing for a crime he didn’t commit, finds purpose by acting in a theatre group alongside other men who are incarcerated, including wary newcomer (Clarence Maclin), in this stirring true story of resilience, humanity, and the transformative power of art, starring an unforgettable ensemble cast of formerly incarcerated actors.

Screens: Friday May 3 at 6:30pm; with filmmaker Greg Kwedar and stars Clarence “Divine Eye” Maclin, Paul Raci and Sean “Dino” Johnson scheduled to attend.


Director: Jason Yu | 95 mins

SLEEP follows newlyweds Hyun-su (LEE Sun-kyun, Parasite) and Soo-jin (JUNG Yu-mi), whose domestic bliss is disrupted when Hyun-su begins speaking in his sleep, ominously stating, “Someone’s inside.” From that night on, whenever he falls asleep, Hyun-su transforms into someone else, with no recollection of what happened the night before. Overwhelmed with anxiety that he may hurt himself or their young family, Soo-jin can barely sleep because of this irrational fear. Despite treatment, Hyun-su’s sleepwalking only intensifies, and Soo-jin begins to feel that her unborn child may be in danger. 

Screens: Friday May 3 at 11:59pm


Director: Josh Margolin | 97 mins

The feature directorial debut of Josh Margolin, Thelma is a poignant action-comedy that gives veteran Oscar® nominee June Squibb (Nebraska) her first leading role and features the final performance of trailblazing actor Richard Roundtree (Shaft). Squibb, who did most of her own stunts in the film, plays Thelma Post, a feisty 93-year-old grandmother who gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson (The White Lotus’ Fred Hechinger) and sets out on a treacherous quest across Los Angeles, accompanied by an aging friend (Roundtree) and his motorized scooter, to reclaim what was taken from her. 

Screens: Saturday May 4 at 4:15pm


Director: Nicholas Tomnay | 101 mins

Ryan, a chef with gambling problems, meets an old friend in a Latin American villa where he's been hired to cook an elaborate private meal for incoming guests. After assuming his friend's identity to take over the lucrative gig, Ryan comes to realize he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Screens: Tuesday May 7 at 4:30 pm


Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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