One of the marks of a true film city is the awards presented each year by local film critics associations. Film studios not only covet such nominations and awards, but proactively court each association’s members by providing them with marketing materials hyping many of their top films and performances.

Each year, as Christmas draws near, entertainment headlines abound with the names of winners chosen by groups from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and many more. Commercials quickly sprout up proudly proclaiming each selection. Oddly, Philadelphia was absent from the list of such cities.

Philadelphia has always boasted some of the best critics in the business including several Philadelphia icons. Steven Rea, Carrie Rickey, Bill Wine, Patrick Stoner and James Berardinelli are just a few of the talented writers to call the Philadelphia area their home, and yet they just weren’t represented come awards time. Then, a couple of local critics, Rich Heimlich (of and Stephen Silver (of decided it was time to finally give Philly a proper film critics group. Together they formed the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle (PFCC) and recruited most of the aforementioned writers, along with several others, to round out the group’s initial membership (Rea retired just as the PFCC was getting started).

The organization is more than just a group looking to vote once a year. Right out of the gate they created Filmscribes, a semi-weekly podcast recorded most Sunday afternoons at the Red Owl Tavern on 5th and Chestnut. The show covers the latest releases, industry news and interviews with top Hollywood talent. They also headline several popular interactive events each year including a few hosted by Greater Philadelphia Film Office. We look forward to continuing the tradition. The group also plans to do what they can to help spread the word about Philadelphia’s various film festivals and even has a mentorship program for those seriously considering a career in film criticism.

Those are just a few of the goals the group has brought to life in the short period since their founding. Many more are planned. They also hope to gain support from the local community to help them with their efforts. If you’re interested in finding out more, send your comments or questions to