Chicago Film Critics Association
PurposeFilm criticism
  • Chicago, Illinois
Official language

The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) is an association of professional film critics, who work in print, broadcast and online media, based in Chicago, Illinois, United States.[1] The organization was founded in 1990 by film critics Sharon LeMaire and Sue Kiner, following the success of the first Chicago Film Critics Awards given out in 1988.[2] The association comprises 60 members.

Since 1989, the CFCA has given out annual awards that recognize the best films in a variety of categories. These awards are noted in the established print media such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.[3][4] The association has also hosted the annual Chicago Critics Film Festival since 2013, which intends to bring a number of feature and short films to a larger audience.


The Chicago Film Critics Association restricts its membership to professional film critics, who have been employed in the media as a "critical voice or staff authority" on the subject of the cinema for six months.[5][6] Applicants for membership in the CFCA must provide a letter signed by a producer or editor showing they have been in paid employment as a critic, as well as examples of published work.[6] Applicants must also reside in the Chicago area.[5] By 2004, the CFCA had just over 40 members and now comprises over 60.[1][7]

Its membership includes writers for such film-related websites and print media as Ain't It Cool News, The A.V. Club, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Consequence of Sound, Paste, and[6]

Chicago Film Critics Awards

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
Current: Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2023
Awarded forachievement in film making and acting performances
Country United States
Presented byThe Chicago Film Critics Association
First awarded1988; 36 years ago (1988)

The Chicago Film Critics Awards (also known as the Chicago Flames[8]) have been held annually since 1988 and recognise achievement in film making and acting performances. The first awards were compiled by the CFCA's founders and were not presented in a ceremony.[9] In the past, winners received a glass Chicago Flame trophy, which featured an etching of the Chicago skyline created by artist Josef Puehringer.[10] In 2019, following the death of longtime CFCA member Milos Stehlik, the organization's Most Promising Filmmaker award was renamed in his honor to the Milos Stehlik Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.[11]

Current award categories

Previous award categories

20th Century Fox boycott

In 2007, the CFCA boycotted all 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight films, as part of a protest over the studio's decision to limit online critics' access to media screenings.[12] A number of critics complained that the late media screenings affected the quality of their reviews.[12] The CFCA's protest garnered support from many other film critics associations, including the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.[12]

Chicago Critics Film Festival

The Chicago Critics Film Festival was founded in 2013 and is held annually. It is the only film festival in the country that is entirely programmed and produced by a film critics association.[13] Of the decision to host a film festival, Erik Childress, the festival's producer and CFCA board member stated, "We really wanted to be a bigger part of the film discussion here in Chicago, and we wanted to bring the discussion about these films to the community. It was an idea that was floating out there until we had the means to pull it off. It's really expanded far beyond what we expected."[14]

The inaugural event was held from April 12–14, 2013 at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont.[14] The festival showcased over 20 films that would have had a low distribution in a bid to expose them to a larger audience. Films shown included The Spectacular Now and The Dirties.[14] The event also featured Q&A sessions with directors William Friedkin and Sarah Polley.[14] The second festival was expanded to a week, beginning May 9, 2014 at the Music Box Theatre.[13]


  1. ^ a b Gire, Dann (November 12, 2007). "7 Chicago Film Critics award nominations for 'Clayton'". Daily Herald. Archived from the original on December 25, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "Sneak preview Weeks before the Oscars are awarded on March..." Chicago Tribune. March 1, 1992. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Thielman, Sam (December 21, 2009). "'Locker' locks up Chicago critics". Variety. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Ng, Philiana (December 22, 2010). "Chicago Film Critics Friend 'The Social Network'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Ratny, Ruth L. (January 1, 2012). "Film Critics Awards back Jan. 7 after 5 year absence". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Chicago Film Critics Association Members (2014–15)". Chicago Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on June 28, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  7. ^ Dickerson, Justin (December 20, 2004). "Chi crix look 'Sideways' for 2004 best pic award". Variety. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  8. ^ Gire, Dann (March 15, 1996). "Stars Come out for Chicago Film Critics Awards". Daily Herald. Retrieved July 20, 2015.(subscription required)
  9. ^ Voedisch, Lynn (March 8, 1990). "Local film reviewers will give awards as Ebert, Siskel abstain". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  10. ^ Tucker, Ernest (March 5, 1993). "'Malcolm X' Is the Best, Say Chicago Film Critics". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.(subscription required)
  11. ^ "'Little Women' leads Chicago Film Critics Awards". FF2 Media. 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  12. ^ a b c Piccalo, Gina (July 20, 2007). "Online critics expand boycott against Fox". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "And now, the sequel: Critics expand second Chicago film fest". Daily Herald. May 5, 2014. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d Sims, Amanda (April 3, 2013). "What You'll See at the First Chicago Film Critics Association Festival". Chicago. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.