Chicago Film Festival 2011:
    The Short Films

Short Film Jury: Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, Nick Davis, Todd Lillethun
HomePrizesProgram #1: ChicagoProgram #2: AnimatedProgram #3: Midnight
Program #4: SpiceProgram #5: WorldsProgram #6: TimeProgram #7: Documentary

Since I am serving on the competition jury for this year's short films, I would like to spotlight that category of this year's Chicago Film Festival even more strongly. Without giving anything away about the jury's conversations (except that, surprise, our responses overlapped more on some selections than on others), I think we all agreed that this year presented a true bumper crop. We each perceived real standouts, if not always the same ones, in the narrative, animated, and documentary modes, and in all seven of the curated Programs listed below, which is how the Festival will exhibit the work. Sometimes, for funding reasons, festivals get stuck incorporating locally-produced works or student efforts that wouldn't otherwise make the grade, but it's my total delight to tell you that the Chicago-based "City & State" program is every bit the magnificent equal of the other six, and that student-produced films comprised many of the most potent entries across a terrific general field. I was truly, deeply impressed, and I really think audiences will respond strongly, so I hope you're all buying tickets!

I won't grade these shorts, but having secured the Festival's blessing, I will offer Tweet-length reactions, plus longer capsules about some of my personal pets... which aren't always the "best" in each group, but may have resonated for other reasons, or captured something about the form that the companion films within its program don't attempt. I'm starting now, while you still have time to scoop up tickets... especially to the City & State screenings, which have already begun selling out the house. So don't delay, but check back in for conversation!

A red denotes a particularly strong recommendation from me. Reviews of individual films coming soon!

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