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Tag Archives: Clare Cooney

Clare Cooney’s RUNNER at the Chicago Critics Film Festival

The following review of Clare Cooney’s Runner, which receives its Chicago Premiere at the Music Box this Sunday, was published at Time Out Chicago today. 

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The Chicago Critics Film Festival returns to the Music Box Theater this Friday, May 4 and runs through Thursday, May 10, bringing a typically impressive and diverse slate of acclaimed new independent and foreign films, many of which are fresh off of their World Premieres at Sundance and South By Southwest and all of which are making their local premieres. A welcome new twist to this year’s edition is the inclusion of two short film programs, which are comprised of works by universally acknowledged masters of the form like animator Don Herzfeldt (World of Tomorrow Episode 2: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts) as well as first-time filmmakers like Chicago’s own Clare Cooney (Runner). The latter film, screening as part of the “CCFF Shorts Program #1” block, is an extremely auspicious directorial debut for Cooney, who is better known for her work as an actress. Although it clocks in at only 12 minutes, it is one of the must-see events of the festival, especially considering that the whip-smart Cooney will be present for a post-screening Q&A.

Runner tells the story of a young woman named Becca (Cooney) who witnesses a violent altercation between a couple while jogging through an alley near her Chicago apartment. Becca’s subsequent knowledge of what happened, and an unexpected re-encounter with one of the participants, causes her to face an ethical dilemma. As a director, Cooney knows how to get the most out of herself as an actress (she’s a performer of uncommon depth) but she also wisely eschews the melodramatic approach that even more seasoned filmmakers might have taken – cutting the sound entirely from the film’s most intense moment and thereby increasing its effectiveness via counterpoint. But what impresses most in this pungent drama is the way Cooney is able to seamlessly enfold her ideas into a naturalistic narrative framework. In the “Me Too” era, the powerful tracking shots of Becca literally running away from physical danger conjure the notion of a desire to transcend an entire culture of harassment and assault. It’s a haunting movie – and one that chimes with our times.

For more information about the screening of Runner, visit the Music Box’s website.

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New Year, New Film: RENDEZVOUS IN CHICAGO

I’m excited to announce I will be directing a new feature film this summer based on a new original screenplay. Full production announcement/summary below!

RENDEZVOUS IN CHICAGO: Three Tales of Love in the Windy City
by Michael Glover Smith

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Artwork by Loren Greenblatt

RENDEZVOUS IN CHICAGO is a short comedic feature film comprised of three vignettes corresponding to the beginning, middle and end stages of a relationship:

Part 1: THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. Paul, a charming young man, attempts to pick up Delaney, a bookish grad student, in an otherwise empty wine bar. She turns the tables on him in a most unexpected manner.

Part 2: CATS AND DOGS. Rob and Andy are enjoying the bliss of newly formed couplehood. Rob has planned to propose marriage as they walk from their apartment to the lakeshore nearby, but has he made the right decision?

Part 3: THE END IS THE BEGINNING. Julie comes home from work early to find her boyfriend, Wyatt, in bed with another woman. After violently ejecting them from her apartment, Julie begins to fall in love with . . . you the viewer!

Written and directed by Michael Glover Smith

Starring: Clare Cooney, Chelsea David, Nina Ganet, Kevin Wehby, Sophie the Shih Tzu and more talented thespians to be announced soon.

Produced by: Layne Marie Williams for Women of the Now.

Filming in 2018.

 


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