Saving Mes Aynak and On Beauty Chicago doubleheader

Two great new Kartemquin films screen in our home town tonight, June 2. We hope you can join us for one of them!

At 7:30pm the historic Music Box Theatre hosts the Chicago premiere of Saving Mes Aynak. Also at 7:30pm, Midwest Independent Film Festival at the Landmark Theater simultaneously hosts the return of On Beauty, in its first Chicago screening since winning the Audience Award at its Chicago International Film Festival world premiere last October.

The Saving Mes Aynak screening is a special presentation kicking off the Music Box's Docs at the Box summer documentary series, programmed by Anthony Kaufman. Saving Mes Aynak Director Brent E. Huffman and producer Zak Piper will attend, with panelists including archeologist Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago; Lawrence Rothfield, University of Chicago Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Faculty Director, Cultural Policy Center, and an expert on the ways in which looting and geopolitics affects antiquities and museums, particularly in the Middle East; and Dr. Morag Kersel, archaeologist and Assistant Professor in Anthropology at DePaul University. The panel will be introduced by Elspeth Revere of the MacArthur Foundation.

To honor this hometown premiere, we are unveiling a new limited edition Chicago premiere perk on the film's Indiegogo campaign. You can also grab regular admission tickets here.

Our award-winning film Saving Mes Aynak follows archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save this 5,000-year-old Buddhist archeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition. IndieWIRE called it a "a doc of crucial immediacy... simply required viewing." In a new interview with Cine-File, Brent E. Huffman states: "Worst case scenario, Saving Mes Aynak is like that, a time capsule that’s trying to capture this story of people risking everything to save this ancient site. And it may be the only visual record of the site that will live on. We’re fighting so that’s not the case, but that was part of my thinking, that my film might be the only evidence of Mes Aynak that’s left."

On Beauty will be part of the Female Filmmakers night on June 2 at Midwest Independent Film Festival’s monthly program First Tuesdays, which highlights films and filmmakers from the Midwest. The film will be part of a shorts program that includes the films “A Million Miles Away,” “Baby Mary,” “Flat Chested,” “The After Party” and “Power(less).” Grab tickets.

The film follows fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who left the fashion world when he grew tired of the industry’s rigid standards. After a chance encounter with a young woman who had the genetic condition albinism, Rick re-focused his lens on those too often relegated to the shadows to change the way we see and experience beauty. At the center of On Beauty are two of Rick’s photo subjects: Sarah, who left public school for home school after being bullied so harshly for the Sturge-Weber birthmark on her face and brain; and Jayne, who lives in Southern Africa where witch doctors hunt people with albinism to sell theirbody parts and the society is blind to their unique health and safety needs. Rick’s photos challenge both mainstream media’s narrow scope of beauty and the dehumanizing black-bar convention of medical textbooks.

The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and a pre-screening panel, which includes On Beauty editor Liz Kaar, and executive producer and executive director of Kartemquin, Justine Nagan. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m.

Attend the event and receive $10 off and free shipping of the official On Beauty posters, which can be purchased at the theater on the night of the screening or at our store.