News for April 2017

PBS to bring Abacus to theaters nationwide from May 19

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail by acclaimed director Steve James will be theatrically released beginning May 19 at the IFC Center in New York City before spreading nationwide. PBS Distribution has acquired the North American distribution rights to Abacus and has planned a robust spring festival campaign leading into the theatrical release of the film, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival where Abacus is the Opening Night Film tonight, April 6, at 7:30PM. See a full list of upcoming festival and theatrical dates at www.abacusmovie.com/events. Continued

Chicago's film community gathers to honor Roger Ebert; Kartemquin among 21 recipients of Ebert Foundation grant

On Tuesday, April 4, members of Chicago's film community, charity leaders and Chicago figures gathered outside of the Chicago Theatre to honor the late film critic Roger Ebert, who passed away on April 4, 2013. It was in that same spot outside of the Chicago theatre that Ebert delivered his famous quote about movies functioning as machines that generate empathy. Both Kartemquin Artistic Director and co-founder Gordon Quinn and director Steve James (director of the 2014 Life Itself) spoke as tribute to Ebert. Kartemquin was honored to receive one of 21 $1,000 grants awarded by the Ebert Foundation to organizations that are working to improve the lives of Chicagoans and advance the arts. Continued

Abacus wins awards at Sarasota and Ashland!

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, the latest film by director Steve James, enjoyed a triumphant weekend which included taking home the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sarasota Film Festival, and Best Editing: Feature Length Documentary at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. The weekend's highlights also included serving as the sold-out opening night film at the 20th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and screenings at the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Dallas International Film Festival as part of the film's 18-festival run during the month of April. Continued

Watch the new trailer for Raising Bertie, in theaters June 9

Today Variety exclusively premiered the new theatrical trailer for our award-winning Raising Bertie. The film will begin its theatrical run through distributor Gunpowder & Sky on June 9th at the Maysles Cinema in New York City, with following theatrical runs in Chicago, San Francisco, Charlotte and New Orleans already confirmed. Watch the official trailer below and get tickets and information for upcoming screenings. Continued

Prisoner of Her Past broadcasts on WTTW April 23rd; now available to stream, download

Prisoner of Her Past is now available for streaming and download worldwide via iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and VHX. The film tells the haunting story of a secret childhood trauma resurfacing, sixty years later, to unravel the life of Holocaust survivor Sonia Reich. Her son, Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich journeys across the United States and Eastern Europe to uncover why his mother believes the world is conspiring to kill her. Continued

Stranded by the State parts 1 and 2 now available to stream on PBS.org

Stranded by the state, the two-part series chronicling the human impact of the Illinois budget impasse is now available to stream on PBS.org! Part 1 available here. Demonstrating how the Illinois budget impasse affects the availability of resources for young mothers and children in rural Illinois; its impact on Eastern Illinois University in central Illinois; and how the lack of state funding impacts efforts to help the homeless in Chicago. Part 2 available here. Watch how the Illinois budget impasse impacts at-risk youth and the organizations serving them in suburban Chicago; what it means for senior citizens receiving food assistance in southern Illinois; and how decreased state funding affects adult education and literacy programs in Chicago. Continued

Unbroken Glass to broadcast premiere on America ReFramed May 16; comes to Chicago Cultural Center April 15

Unbroken Glass by director Dinesh Sabu will have its U.S. Television Premiere on Tuesday, May 16 at 8PM EST on WORLD Channel as part of the new season of public media's America ReFramed. The film will be available for free streaming following the broadcast at worldchannel.org starting on May 17th. America ReFramed is a documentary series dedicated to highlighting intimate stories by emerging and veteran filmmakers who are chronicling an ever-changing America. Continued

Raising Bertie to broadcast premiere on PBS' POV

Raising Bertie will have its world television broadcast premiere on PBS' POV on August 28th, as part of the prestigious PBS documentary strand's 30th season, announced today. Check local listings here. We are delighted that PBS will bring this compelling story to a national audience. The news comes on the heels of the film's theatrical release announcement, which begins June 9, playing the following theaters, with more to be confirmed soon: Maysles Cinema: New York, NY Pelham Picture House: Pelham, NY Roxie Theatre: San Francisco, CA Continued

Steve James honored with Double Take Vangaurd Award at One Take Film Fest

Steve James will be honored with the One Take Film Festival's Double Take Vangaurd Award on May 21st at 12:00PM, just prior to the fest's screening of James' latest film Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. In honor of James, the fest will also screen Hoop Dreams. The One Take Film Festival's Double Take Vanguard Award is an annual presentation that spotlights both past and contemporary work by a filmmaker. James is the recipient of the fest's inaugural award, characterized by the fest as "A master documentarian with a distinguished career and whose work illuminates humanity with honor, integrity, complexity and courage." Screenings: Abacus - Sunday, May 21 12PM Continued

Media Burn Archive unveils newly digitized Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings

This week Media Burn Archive unveiled a newly digitized collection of 100 tapes from our 1994 film, Bridges and Boundaries: Chicago Crossings. The collection is a result of an 18-month project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts––consisting entirely of materials never before seen by the public. In 1994, the Spertus Institute of Judaica brought together six Black artists and six Jewish artists to create new work for an ambitious art exhibition. The artists were given minimal constraints on what to produce, with only the guiding principle that the work should in some way connect to the exhibition’s overarching theme—the relationship between the Black and Jewish communities in contemporary America. Continued

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