June 2014 Film Updates
This month: '63 Boycott, Almost There, American Arab, Generation Food, Hard Earned, In the Game, Life Itself, Mormon Movie, Murder The Prepositions, On Beauty, Prisoner of Her Past, Raising Bertie, The Homestretch, The Schools Project, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Unbroken Glass.
We are shooting our next interview in June with CPS parent and Boycott organizer Rosie Simpson, who also led a protest in August 1963 against the construction of a school made up entirely of trailer classrooms. Amid our original 16 mm footage from 1963, we actually have found footage of this demonstration, which was correctly identified after we posted it online in April. We expect to head back into the editing room in July.
'63 Boycott continues to fundraise to complete production and editing on the film portion of our project, and continue to be enthused as the web components have real world impact in connecting the past and present struggles over education.
As always, you can help us by
We're in the final finishing process! Please join us on Facebook and Twitter for news about future Almost There-related events, including up-to-date information about where and when our film will be screening in the year ahead.
American Arab has many more screenings coming up in international film festivals all across the globe. We have completed our official website at http://www.americanarabmovie.com and we recently had a favorable film review by the Arabic Al-Jazeera website. The title of the article: The Usama Crisis in the United States, praises the film when it gets into the more personal aspects of people's lives. The link is here in Arabic and will have a translated version up on our website soon: http://doc.aljazeera.net/cinema/2014/05/201452584952392398.html
We have many things in the works at the moment including considering digital/DVD deals, and the actual assembling of our DVD, which will include Alshaibi's first documentary film Nice Bombs, about his 2004 return to Baghdad at the early stages of the United States invasion, as a bonus feature. In addition to the DVD we will also have American Arab available online to stream. Stay tuned!
The film's line producer Gita Saedi Kiely will be representing Generation Food at Sheffield Doc/Fest this month, looking to speak to potential funders, broadcasters and distributors. More filming is planned for later this year.
Hard Earned completed principle photography on June 2nd! With over 250 hours of footage in the can, editing continues on this six-hour series for Al Jazeera America, which follows five American families working low-wage jobs. Final shoots included a shift at a new Silicon Valley restaurant job for Hilton, who has moved up to bar-back and busboy; a basketball game and father-son reunion for DJ, a former drugstore employee turned union organizer; and a stirring public speaking event for Emilia, a waitress on the southside of Chicago.
Editors David Simpson and Liz Kaar continue editing and interweaving these stories into a 6-episode series. Completion is slated for end of 2014, with an early 2015 broadcast on Al Jazeera America.
We are hard at work editing In the Game and fundraising, and applying for grants. We've also been exploring possibilities for the online, interactive outreach around the film for when it is complete, and have some great new ideas we're developing.
Please donate to help with completion funds for the film.
Presenting... the official Life Itself trailer!
The release of the new trailer online in late May generated some amazing reactions!
Following our exciting (to say the least) international premiere at Cannes Film Festival, Magnolia Pictures International has sold distribution rights to distribute the film in several key territories, including England, Australia, Canada, and Italy, plus several pay TV deals we can't yet announce.
Life Itself screened in late May at Documentary Edge Festival, and has dates ahead in Wellington for Documentary Edge, and at Sydney Film Festival, Bologna's Biografilm Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, The Hamptons Film Festival SummerDocs Series, AFI Docs, and Nantucket Film Festival. More international festival dates will also be announced very soon.
There will be lots of press attention and interviews to look out for ahead of July 4th, plus official premieres in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles in late June. It's a very, very busy time for everyone - thank you again for supporting this film!
The Mormon Movie (working title) team have begun editing a fresh work-in-progress piece with Karen Lynn Weinberg (editor, One Night Stand; additional editor, Frozen River). Karen recently worked as an associate editor of Kartemquin's forthcoming Hard Earned series for Al Jazeera America, and edited May Tchao's Spilled Water, which was produced by MM/WT director Xan Aranda. We're delighted to have Karen's keen eyes and flick of the wrist on our film.
Katie Prentiss, the film's Associate Producer, has been working closely with Xan, Karen, and KTQ interns to build infrastructure for the edit, in addition to assisting Xan with a wave of grant applications that will continue through autumn.
Xan recently met with Mormon Movie Advisory Board member Randy Astle (aka "Our Favorite Manhattan Mormon"), who is a film scholar, writer, and director-- and expert on the hundred-year history of LDS cinema who is writing a book about the the subject.
In addition to the month-long edit currently in progress, Xan and the team are preparing to resume production of Mormon Movie in September, if funding momentum can be maintained. The film is slated for release in 2015.
Jerry & Adam are putting the finishing touches on a short piece
featuring the installations of the revered chicago artist, Gerda Meyer-Bernstein
with possibly more on Gerda and her work to come...
Murder the Prepositions is awaiting their return
to assess what's possible
given the untimely death of the main subject, Les Bridges...
Joanna Rudnick has been developing some very exciting partnerships around On Beauty with key partners in the movement to raise awareness and understanding of rare genetics diseases. We are also looking into festivals and distribution options. Stay tuned for the #iambeauty campaign to heat up again as we bring the film to a screen near you.
Prisoner of Her Past will screen at the Tivoli Cinemas on Saturday, June 14th in Kansas City, MO. Howard Reich will be there in person for a discussion on the legacy of trauma.
The film will then air on KCPT in the Missouri/Kansas area on June 27th at 8:00 pm.
The film is now formally in rough-cut stage, with director Margaret Byrne and editor Leslie Simmer hard at work putting it together, while fundraising continues.
Byrne just returned from North Carolina on what may be one of the film's final shoots. It was the high school prom of one of the film's characters, and Margaret and director of photography Jon Stuyvesant were decked out in their finest corsages and boutonnieres. After four years of filming, there are just a couple more shoots this Summer and Fall still ahead on this story of the education of three young men growing up in rural poverty.
The beautiful new Raising Bertie website was designed by Jillian Dudziak, with new music from North Carolina native, Eric Andrew Kuhn. The site, in addition to basic info and contact information, features eight new atmospheric video vignettes from around Bertie County.
Get your tickets for the US and NYC premieres of The Homestretch! The US premiere is at AFI Docs 2014 in Washington, D.C. on June 19th, with a second screening the following day. The film's New York City premiere will also be the next day, June 20th, at Lincoln Center for the 2014 Human Rights Watch Film Festival, with a screening on June 21st at IFC Center. The film's directors and stars will attend all 4 screenings. Get more details and tickets for all screenings.
The Homestretch was announced as one of just 8 projects to receive funding from the Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund, which helps support the impact around documentary films. The selected films receive grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,0000 were selected from more than 130 applications. The funds will allow The Homestretch to mount a campaign of screenings around the country this fall, with events specifically aimed at organizing stakeholders and advocates who can push action around the issue of youth homelessness. We have already started, with co-directors Kirsten and Anne speaking to students at Northwestern University in May, and we have lots of requests for screenings coming in for our bill rollout this fall.
Please email homestretch@kartemquin to get involved or get more information.
Production of The Schools Project is beginning to pick up and we are excited. Bob Hercules and Rachel Dickson have been following up with a few students from Lafayette Elementary, a school that closed last spring. Melissa Sterne and youth from Free Spirit Media have been looking at the standardized testing controversy. Gordon Quinn and Kartemquin Films have been looking into some of the alternatives to top-down reforms that exist in Chicago Public Schools, and Rachel Pikelny and Siskel Jacobs Productions have started interviewing public figures involved in education policy and reform in Chicago over the last thirty years. Production on segments by Media Process Group and Free Spirit Media about charter schools, and the impact of discipline policies in schools is also underway. The Kindling Group is developing, along with our partners at Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW, and WBEZ, a plan to launch the first segments late this year. Stay tuned for more news.
Bill Siegel's award-winning film The Trials of Muhammad Ali is now available on Netflix streaming. Add it to your queue today! The film is also available to purchase on DVD from www.kartemquin.com/store, and is currently available for rent and purchase via video on demand platforms such as iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and Vudu.
In May the film played a string international film festivals, premiering in New Zealand, Poland, and Romania. The film was also broadcast on Danish television, airing on DR2's Dokumania program, and on Australian television's SBS channel. We will be announcing even more international dates soon!
This past month, we celebrated the wedding of Seema Sabu, Dinesh’s sister and one of the main characters in the documentary. Though the edit is far from complete, we’re envisioning this scene to be the end of the documentary, which at it’s heart, is about family. Celebrating Seema's new family is wonderful, optimistic way for Dinesh's journey to end in the film.
We’re also very pleased to invite Chicago-area fans to an event that’s part of the Eye on India Festival. On June 24th at 6:30pm at the Logan Center for the Arts we’ll be screening new clips from the film with a panel of mental health specialists from the Indian American community. RSVP to attend - it's free!
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