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'Illuminating The Shadows: Film Criticism In Focus'

Block Cinema to present three-day conference on the state of film criticism April 21 to 23

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April 12, 2011 | by Judy Moore
ATTENBERG (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010, Greece, 35mm, 95 min.) Showing Friday, April 22, 8 pm 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Chicago Tribune chief film reviewer Michael Phillips, New York Times DVD columnist Dave Kehr and Self-Styled Siren film blogger Farran Smith Nehme are among the leading local and national movie critics participating in a three-day film conference on the state of film criticism April 21 through 23 on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

Free and open to the public, “Illuminating the Shadows: Film Criticism in Focus” is presented by Block Cinema at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at 40 Arts Circle Drive. The conference will feature four panel discussions and four guest-curated film screenings, including a 7:30 p.m. opening night showing of “Tabloid,” a new documentary by acclaimed director Errol Morris. For a complete schedule, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/blockcinema.

Exploring film criticism at a potentially transformative moment, some of the nation’s and Chicago’s leading film critics will discuss the current state of the field, its connections to past critics and practices, and future trends and opportunities.

Panel discussions will be interspersed with screenings of critically acclaimed contemporary and archival films selected and introduced by Phillips, Kehr, LA Weekly film editor Karina Longworth and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. 

Among the visiting critics sharing their expertise and opinions are Kehr; Scott Foundas, associate program director for the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York; Longworth, co-founder and former editor of the blog Cinematical; Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris; blogger Nehme; and Rosenbaum, former principal film critic at the Chicago Reader, who established and maintains a film-related website in addition to writing, lecturing and teaching. 

Chicago area conference participants will include freelance and online film critic Fred Camper; WBEZ 91.5 FM’s “Eight Forty-Eight” program host Alison Cuddy; Nick Davis, assistant professor of English and gender studies at Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Chicago Reader and Movie City News freelance critic Andrea Gronvall; Chicago Reader lead film reviewer J.R. Jones; TimeOut Chicago film critic Ben Kenigsberg; film critic Gabe Klinger, an assistant professor at National-Louis University; freelance writer Ed M. Koziarski; and “Eight Forty-Eight” contributor and Nightingale Theatre director Christy LeMaster.

Also participating are Phillips; Ray Pride, film editor of Newcity and news editor of Movie City News; Ben Sachs, a contributor to the Chicago Reader and the local website Cine-File; TimeOut Chicago senior editor Hank Sartin; Chicago Sun-Times and Newcity freelance reviewer Bill Stamets; The Onion’s A.V. Club film editor Scott Tobias; and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, co-host of “Ebert Presents At The Movies,” a new weekly film review program on public television produced by Chaz and Roger Ebert. 

Special support for this program is provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Rubens Family Foundation and Northwestern University’s Office of the Provost.