August 2012: Film updates
63 Boycott chronicles the Chicago School boycott of 1963 when more than 200,000 Chicagoans, mostly CPS students, marched to protest the segregationist policies of CPS Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed aluminum mobile school units on vacant lots as a permanent solution to overcrowding in black schools. The film features then and now interviews with organizers and participants of the boycott with never-released 16mm footage of the march and student interviews. 63 Boycott and its companion website will provide a modern perspective on the impact and legacy of this forgotten history 50 years later as it reconnects the participants to each other and the event itself.
The 63 Boycott team continues to move forward with the development of the project website, which should be launched in the early fall of this year. The recent production grant from the IHC will also make possible additional shoot days before the end of the year. The film remains on track for completion before start of the 2013 CPS year, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the boycott.
So far, Outreach Coordinator Naomi Ezquivel's biggest surprise has undoubtedly been the film's wide international appeal. A Good Man has been featured in over 11 countries at both film festivals and community screenings alike. "It focuses on an American artist portraying an American historical figure, so I didn't expect the amount of international success that we've had," she admits, "but clearly that's a testament to the film's ability to harness the creative power and vision of Bill T. Jones and ask pertinent questions about how we interact with history." The film has several upcoming international appearances scheduled, including the New Zealand Film Festival, the Melbourne Arts Festival, and a community screening at the Australian Cinemateque in South Brisbane.
August finds American Arab is back in the edit room where Director Usama Alshaibi is working closely with Editor Leslie Simmer on building a new cut of the film. A special thank you to the Summer 2012 Kartemquin interns, who have just finished an awesome 4 day turnaround of six interview tapes this week.
As Gayle Listenbee, one of the laid-off GM workers in our film says on her first night alone after she leaves her family behind for a job in Fort Wayne's GM plant: here goes!
As Goes Janesville is already an award-winning film, having won best documentary at the Oregon International Film Festival. We'll be screening in film festivals across the country this fall from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Hudson, Ohio to Shreveport, Louisiana. And we couldn't be more excited to be part of ITVS's Community Cinema program this October, which will bring the film to 100 cities. No place is more important to us than home, though. The Milwaukee Film Festival will screen our movie three times at the end of September and early October. Watch for panels featuring us and people who are part of our project. And we are going to be screening in Janesville! That's right, what could be more appropriate than showing the film this October in the eponymous city at the local high school, Parker High?
We are glad, too, to have nabbed a perfect broadcast night on PBS' Independent Lens. November 5th! The night before the election! But making and screening films is never the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal of every Kartemquin and 371 film is to use it to positively impact the world. Just yesterday we had an outreach and engagement confab at Kartemquin headquarters to discuss our plan to use the movie as a tool to help bring business and labor together, to overcome our partisan differences and help communities improve their local economies free from the rancor that currently impede progress not just at the national level, but in every community in America. To this end, we are developing a viewing guide and other resources designed to improve the way that communities solve their economic problems.
Finally, watch for the launch of "bizVizz", our mobile corporate accountability app. It will provide users with an easy way to scan a logo or enter a company name, then find out instantly whether that company has paid its income tax, how much, and how much tax subsidy that company has received.
We've been keeping busy. As Goes Janesville, so goes the country.
For me, making Cooked this summer has been a period of extreme heat, revelation and concentrated creativity. Compelled by the temperatures, we’ve been shooting more than just the planned “story pick-ups.” The intense heat has brought us into direct contact with present-day drama, extreme disparity and subjects whose lives underscore the lessons of the 1995 heat disaster.
With confidence I can say the new footage we’ve shot in just the last month is inspiring our newly hired award-winning editor, David E. Simpson (Milking the Rhino, A Good Man), to turn the story of the 1995 heat disaster into the ever-resonant precautionary tale we’ve always known it could be.
The story strands we’ve been pursuing -- survival by zip-code (a growing social movement that recognizes how where you live shapes your health), health care disparity (and the on-the-ground community health workers addressing the disparity one treatable illness at a time), the impact of our ever-warming world on poor communities in the U.S. (aka “the climate gap”) and the possibility of a paradigm shift led by the government-inspired “disaster preparedness” infrastructure itself -- are also coming together in ways that even I could not have imagined.
-- Judith Helfand.
July 29th marked the one-year anniversary of The Interrupters theatrical premiere, but we’re as “fresh” as ever! In fact, the top on-line film review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, has corrected a previously mis-labeled negative review into a positive review and that makes The Interrupters the site's best-reviewed film of 2011, and the 4th highest of all time!!!
To see some other highlights of The Interrupters’ past year, check out this great graphic created by Kartemquin intern Ryan Buckley – One Year of Impact.
With one year under our belt, The Interrupters can still pack them in, as over 200 people came out to Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art for a July 6th screening of the film and a youth art exhibit that examined community violence through art. Violence interrupter and art mentor Eddie Bocanegra was on hand for an in depth conversation about violence and the impact of art saying, "I think art is a way in which we can bear witness to what [at-risk youth] have gone through.” The ‘Stop The Violence With Art’ Exhibit continues at the National Museum of Mexican Art through August 30th, when the participating teens will be honored with a special closing ceremony. Meanwhile, last month we previewed The Interrupters being honored at a special Capitol Hill screening presented on behalf of the ACLU, well our friends at the ACLU followed up with this great article about the event – Interrupting the Violence.
And for our international fans, The Interrupters has been doing quite a bit of globetrotting of late, having premiered in Macedonia, Ecuador and making a return trip to Australia. Coming up on August 19th will be the film’s Irish premiere at Dublin’s ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ film series and the film’s producers recently struck deals for television broadcasts in New Zealand (10 broadcasts on Rialto Channel in 2013), Israel (broadcasts on NOGA from September 2012 – August 2015) and Spain (broadcasts on Canal+ from June 2012 – August 31st 2013).
It's been an active summer so far for The Trials of Muhammad Ali, with the rough cut getting stronger each day. We've incorporated our most recently shot interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan - a powerful addition - as well as tons of new, rare archival material.
The film's structure gets clearer and tighter with each pass, though as editor Aaron Wickenden puts it, "We have the educational version, but we haven't yet reached cinematic." In the next couple months, Aaron and director Bill Siegel will work on shaping the film's narrative, while paying close attention to tone and pacing.
Meanwhile, producer Rachel Pikelny has been sorting and pricing 1,426 cues in the rough cut. Tracking down all the archival sources has taken some detective work, but we now know which sources to contact when the film reaches Picture Lock later this year.
Looking ahead, we plan to shoot the final few interviews in late summer or early autumn. We are also still aggressively fundraising in order to license all the wonderful archival footage and photos in the film. You can help us in this effort by making a tax-deductible donation today. Thanks for your support!
Typeface enjoyed a great Providence premiere at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in July. Stay tuned for upcoming events in Istanbul, Zurich and elsewhere. The film also recently became available to UK, Canadian and Australian audiences on Itunes. Check it out!
After locating Dr. Oliver Manuel, old friend and research partner of Dwarka Sabu, we spent part of June shooting in Missouri, retracing the path that Dinesh's dad took in graduate school. What emerged was a striking story of the Sabu family's initial years in the United States, and the emergence of Susheela's Sabu's schizophrenia. Dr. Manuel's son suffers from a similar condition, and the time we spent with him provided a stark counterpoint to Susheela's story as well as addressed the current state of the mental health system in the US.
Dinesh's Uncle Vitthal Maheshwari is visiting Washington DC later in August, and filmmakers are excited for a rare opportunity to reconnect with him and his sister Madhu to continue to document Susheela's story. We hope to address the time the Sabu family spent back in India in the 1980s, when Susheela's condition was apparent, but perhaps unaddressed by the mental health system in India at the time.
We'd also like to welcome associate producer Patrick Lile to the team. He's been invaluable in preparing grants as well as organizing forthcoming fundraisers in the Chicago area. More on that as it develops!
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