January 2014 Film Updates
'63 Boycott is building on the massive success of our work-in-progress screening at the DuSable Museum on October celebrating the 50th anniversary of the CPS Boycott, which 450 people attended and drew over 7,500 visitors to 63boycott.com in subsequent weeks. We are preparing for more shoots in February as well as another screening of our work-in-progress cut at Northwestern University.
You can help us by spreading the word about our project with anyone who may have participated in the 1963 Chicago Public School Boycott.
Happy New Year from Team Almost There! Never has the film's title been more apt than right now as Co-Directors Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden work through the final stages of their editing process before hopefully locking picture within the next month.
2013 ended on a promising note for Almost There when the film was accepted into the IDFA Forum. Dan went to Amsterdam and presented the project alongside Executive Producer Gordon Quinn and ITVS's Claire Agular. He met with several European broadcasters and distributors who expressed interest in showing the film in their territories when it's completed.
Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the premiere of Almost There, which will likely happen this spring or summer.
American Arab has its North American Premiere at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. It screens February 22 at 10am.
Stay on the lookout for more film festival announcements throughout the Spring.
The MacArthur Foundation has awarded grants to eighteen new documentaries, including In the Game, directed by Maria Finitzo, and a collaborative project on the Chicago Public School closings, being made in partnership with our fellow Chicago documentary groups Media Process Group, Siskel/Jacobs, Kindling Group, and Free Spirit Media. The funds should allow Maria to get closer to completing the film with editor Liz Kaar.
LIFE ITSELF has had a very exciting couple months! Our Indiegogo campaign, which launched on November 20th, officially came to a close on January 13th after raising $153,875 to complete post-production costs (nearly $4,000 more than our goal). So, it was very tense, but we made it. Thank you all! More importantly, 1,657 people joined the Ebert community; that number stands as a true testament to Roger and his amazing legacy, and we know that community will now help us guide the film through theatrical distribution and beyond.
The film will have its worldwide premiere on Sunday, January 19 at the Sundance Film Festival, and in an unprecedented move, the film will stream at the same time worldwide to fans who donated to the campaign at or above the $25 level.
Major excitement seems to be building for the film, with a number of press outlets including Life Itself in their festival previews as a hot film to watch.
The news is also out that the film will play at Ebertfest 2014. News on more screenings and the film’s theatrical release is expected soon!
We are working hard on a new website -- www.ebertmovie.com -- and hope to have it up and running in the next month. Follow the film on Twitter at @Ebertmovie and Facebook to be kept up to date on everything. And thanks again for your support so far!
We're actively moving forward on the fictional sequel to Xan's mother's first film, 1964's SUMMER OF DECISION, which explores doubt and inspired this documentary. The creation of the sequel will be an unfolding thread in Mormon Movie as we document the synergetic process between Xan (directing the sequel), her mother Dana (reprising her original role as Nancy), and their Utah-based collaborators.
We believe this thread will weave together past and present, illuminating the process of LDS storytelling as we "check in," fifty years later, with characters featured in the original 1964 film.
Mormon Movie (working title) explores doubt, forms of exile and reconciliation, and how faith matures.
New to the team is former Kartemquin intern Katie Prentiss, who studied journalism and history at Northwestern University. Ms. Prentiss is serving as this documentary's Production Assistant while here at home in Chicago, and Production Coordinator while away on shoots during spring. She is currently transcribing existing footage, conducting research, and aiding Xan with pre-production.
We are also excited to be working with outreach and engagement expert Naomi Walker on an "impact" plan for Mormon Movie, which we hope will actively engage a broad public in a conversation about faith, family, and community.
The team is prepping a new work-in-progress demo, to be completed in March.
Just days away from picture locking, the On Beauty team are ready to take the world by storm with the story of Rick Guidotti, the former fashion photographer challenging doctors and high school students alike to reframe the way they see beauty in difference. The next month will be filled with final graphics, music and our color correct and audio mix. Working with a talented team of collaborators, we are excited to put the final touches on a story that has been 4+ years in the making. The team will be sending out the cut to potential broadcasters and distributors in the coming weeks as well as launching our social media campaign.
How do you see the beauty in difference? Expect to hear a challenge from us soon!
Raising Bertie is finishing a new demo and getting ready to start editing with the wonderful Leslie Simmer next month.
The Homestretch is near the end of editing after a year of incredible collaboration between directors Anne and Kirsten and Kartemquin Staff Editor, Leslie Simmer. With the heart of the film almost solidified, the team will begin post-production on the festival cut in hopes of an April 2014 film festival premiere. Work with composer Greg Kalember of Sonic Highway will start next week in New York.
The Homestretch impact team, including Erin Sorenson of Third Stage Consulting in Chicago and Jen Greenfield of Greenfield & Co in NY, have confirmed their partnerships with The National Network 4 Youth and The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and the True Colors Fund. In March, The Homestretch will begin work with stakeholder and advocacy leaders in Washington DC and Chicago. A series of brain trusts to develop training tools and support for the STLS Program at CPS will begin this February with the support of the Lefkofsky Family Foundation.
January 3, 2014 marked the 3rd anniversary of The Interrupters World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. An interactive screening of the film was held on January 15 to commemorate the event.
Interrupt Violence has been picking up momentum over the holiday season. Just this past week on Wednesday, January 15, OVEE and ITVS hosted a special online screening of The Interrupters as part of the Women and Girls Lead and Diverse Muslim voices campaign. The screening was accompanied by a live chat with interfaith educator Hind Makki, Violence Interrupter Ameena Matthews, and Interrupt Violence Outreach Specialist Anton Seals. Overall, the event was a big success that continued the conversation about how each of us and be peacekeepers and positive role models in our communities. The event also announced the outreach website for the film.
Please check out the site to find ways to connect with the Interrupters online. Interrupt Violence works to become a leading voice on the issues. If you have something to contribute to the conversation, please check out the discussion section on the website or email
Kristen to have your ideas added to the Thought Leaders Blog.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali has had a busy Winter. In December, the team travelled to LA to accept the IDA ABCNEWS VideoSource Award for best use of news archival footage! This was followed by two prestigious nominations for Outstanding Documentary (Black Reel Awards) and Outstanding Independent Motion Picture (NAACP Image Awards), winners for each to be announced in February. In addition, the transcript for the film will be added to the Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. With the theatrical run calming down, we are pleased to add over 50 educational screenings across the US in conjuncture with ITVS Community Cinema (beginning in February).
We’ve had a tremendously productive few months with Unbroken Glass. After working for the better part of 2013, Editor Matt Lauterbach and Director Dinesh Sabu started the New Year with a completed two-hour assembly of the film. Sorting through over 100 hours of footage, and working out a lot of the specifics of the film’s story, an assembly is an important step towards a finished film. We hope to spend the better part of 2014 working towards a rough cut of the film and beyond.
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