Lee Shoquist is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and leads over 20 film discussion groups in the Chicago area. As a critic and lecturer, he conducts film discussions at private member clubs and organizations including The Fortnightly of Chicago, Woman’s Athletic Club, The Casino Club, The Cliff Dwellers, Google HQ, Cinema Chicago, After Hours Film Society, Aspen in Chicago as well as local bookstores, theaters and private residences in Chicago and its suburbs, and periodically in New York and Los Angeles. He has spoken at Chicago’s Facets, served as a programmer for the Reeling Film Festival and as a juror for the Chicago International Film Festival. He was recently profiled in Classic Chicago.
Lee’s film discussion groups provide broad, contextual examinations of a film’s origins, intent and execution, and deconstruct the film’s formal elements in full. They also explore themes, social context, production anecdotes and the artistic teams’ influences and bodies of work. Importantly and where possible, Lee contextualizes films in the zeitgeist of current global culture and trends.
The group discussions look at films through lenses of history, genre and industry. Often, he selects films for discussion that reflect cultural immersion, human relationships and the world; assigned films commonly (but not exclusively) come from the independent and international scenes. In addition to contemporary films, he frequently looks back at classics, periods, genres and directors. Each year at Oscar time, across various locations, he does a presentation/session on the nominees, trends, potential winners and cultural winds as they factor into what films ultimately take home the gold.
Embracing subjective reactions, the collaborative discussions encourage sharing of personal observations, histories and life anecdotes; group members often see elements and truths from “real” life reflected back to them in the films, generating robust community sharing. Often, Lee will share his perspectives as a member of the press and his interactions industry actors and directors from the vantage point of press junket interviews.
Sessions typically begin with an introduction to a given session’s topic followed by a series of guided questions over the course of 90-120 minutes.