Raising Bertie, the latest award-winning documentary from Kartemquin comes to the Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from November 18-23 for its first theatrical run.
An intimate, six-year portrait of three boys growing into adulthood in rural North Carolina, Raising Bertie is the debut feature of Margaret Byrne. A winner of three festival awards, the film showcases people usually invisible in the media: African-American boys grappling with the precarious school-to-work transition in an impoverished and isolated rural community.
Byrne, a graduate of University of Illinois in Chicago, will be joined by Ian Robertson Kibbe (producer), Leslie Simmer (editor), and Gordon Quinn and Betsy Steinberg (executive producers), at screenings on Friday November 18 at 8pm; Saturday, November 19, 8pm; and Sunday November 20th at 5:30pm. For a complete list of showtimes and to purchase tickets, please visit: http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/raisingbertie
Set in Bertie County, located in Eastern North Carolina, RAISING BERTIE offers viewers a respectful and tender insight into the emotional lives of Reginald “Junior” Askew, David “Bud” Perry, and Davonte “Dada” Harrell. This raw and starkly poetic cinéma vérité film weaves their stories together as they navigate school, unemployment, violence, first love, fatherhood, and estrangement from family members and mentors, subtly exploring the complex relationships between generational poverty, economic isolation, and educational inequity.
Director's Statement from Margaret Byrne:
“This film has been a labor of love. As a single mother on public aid, I’m not a typical documentary director. My daughter stayed with me in Bertie and came with us on shoots, sometimes strapped to my back. She was two when I started this film and has grown up with these families, who are now like family to us. Over the last seven years, we have maintained close, trusting relationships with each family in the film. I love them and am honored that they trusted me, gave me an unfiltered window into their lives, and believed what we were doing was important.
In editing this story, there were competing pressures: to fight against stereotypes, to tell an exciting story, to tell a story of unexpected success, and to prove that a filmmaker can communicate an honest story about a culture that is not her own. The truth is, I made a film about three kids that I met and cared about. I knew their story needed telling. The individuals in this story are representative of their community and they matter.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on more than 50 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.
Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Guidestar
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