March 2014 Film Updates
This month: '63 Boycott, Almost There, American Arab, Generation Food, In the Game, Life Itself, Mormon Movie, Prisoner of Her Past, Raising Bertie, The Homestretch, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Unbroken Glass.
On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Chicago Filmmakers hosted a workshop called Interactive Storytelling: Models for Film and Media Makers, and invited the '63 Boycott team to share our experiences. Associate Producer and Outreach Coordinator Rachel Dickson shared with fellow filmmakers some of the ins and outs of launching an interactive website and outreach campaign before the film itself is finished. To date, we have received more than 40,000 unique visitors to our website and over 50 boycott participants have been tagged. We were joined on the panel by Kartemquin's Dan Rybicky – who spoke about the interactive website for his film Almost There – and three other talented filmmakers.
On Tuesday, March 11th, we presented the '63 Boycott work in progress to the Munch and Learn group at the KAM Isaiah Israel Temple in Hyde Park. Over lunch, the group of more than 30 community members asked questions, gave feedback, and shared their memories of the segregation and protests in their neighborhoods in the '60s. We were happy to be a part of the conversation.
As always, you can help us by
Almost There is online editing, which means the film is almost finished! We're excited to bring it to you later in 2014. One of the last things we did before this final stage was screening a fine cut of our film for Peter at the senior home. We'd discussed the edit at length many times before, but this was his first time seeing more than a few minutes of the movie. After about 8 years of knowing each other, 5 years of filmmaking process, 2 art shows and an unquantifiable amount of Pringles... it all boiled down to 90 minutes on screen. When it was over, Peter took off his headphones and said, "Leave it as is. That's beautiful."
American Arab continues its festival tour and makes its Chicago premiere as the closing film at the Chicago Underground Film Festival at 8 p.m. on April 6. Director Usama Alshaibi - a regular at CUFF with his previous experimental works, such as the 2006 CUFF Best Documentary Feature award-winner Nice Bombs - will return to his former hometown for the screening.
Look for Alshaibi and other filmmakers at various other festivals including the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and Kansas City Film Festival.
Catch the FIRST EVER public sneak peek at Generation Food at the Kartemquin Spring Showcase on May 2nd in Chicago! We've been filming this spring and are excited to present a short clip of footage and get your feedback on it. Get more details.
We are hard at work editing In the Game. But we will also present a work in progress screening at the Belcourt, a nonprofit theater, in Nashville, TN on March 29. The screening is part of a film program that celebrates girls and women in sports. This screening also marks the beginning of a partnership between the Belcourt and Casa Azafrán, a nonprofit collaborative who's mission is to create community among a diverse population.
Immediately following the film, director Maria Finitzo, will participate in a Q&A via Skype. She welcomes the opportunity to hear audience feedback.
In the Game will be one of four in-progress Kartemquin projects included in our Spring Showcase in Chicago on May 2.
You can donate to help with completion funds for the film.
Life Itself director Steve James will attend The 16th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival (EbertFest) where his documentary about the late film critic is set to kick off the festival on April 23rd, 2014 at 7:30pm.
Full festival passes are on sale now and individual tickets will be available starting April 1.
In anticipation to Life Itself premiering at EbertFest, tweet #Ebertchat from any Twitter account and join the conversation between Roger Ebert fans, film critics, movie lovers, and film festival goers alike.
Later this year Magnolia Pictures will distribute the film to U.S. theaters, VOD and home entertainment, while CNN will air it on an exclusive broadcast. We're also lining up festival dates and more for the rest of the world. More details soon!
Director Xan Aranda has been researching styles of animation that might be suited to illustrate key moments in the lives of her Mormon pioneer ancestors, and she hopes to dig into the animation process this summer. These brief animated moments will be woven into the larger documentary film.
The Mormon Movie team is working on a large handful of grant applications and combing through over twenty hours of existing footage in order to edit scenes for a long-form work-in-progress. As well, they are in the process of interviewing potential editors, with an eye toward working together during late spring and through the remainder of the project.
Additional verite shooting, including the creation of a fictional sequel to the 1964 film Xan's mother starred in, is scheduled to resume during mid-Summer and continue through the end of this year. If all of the much-needed funding is raised and momentum is maintained, Mormon Movie is slated for completion during early 2015.
And we have a short film ready to ignite a movement and find a home: On Beauty is DONE! After five years of chasing Rick Guidotti from Las Vegas for our maiden shoot to Kenya and locales such as Oman and Qatar, we have a thirty-minute film starring Sarah Kanney from Upstate New York and Jayne Waithera from Kenya and, of course, Rick Guidotti and his photographs. They will win your hearts and change the way you see. Stay tuned for the #iambeauty campaign to heat up again as we bring the film to a screen near you.
Prisoner of Her Past has been enjoying a new lease of life (see February update). Read a personal recollection of a few recent events by the film's producer and star, Howard Reich:
Insights on the meanings of “Prisoner of Her Past” have come from many sources, and this week they were delivered by some very savvy psychiatrists.
During a Florida tour organized by Dr. Marc Agronin, we presented the film at the annual meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, in Orlando on March 17. After the screening, doctors discussed and debated what could be done for a patient like my mother, whose childhood Holocaust traumas have distorted her perception of reality, leading her to believe that the world once again is conspiring to kill her.
The doctors offered a variety of viewpoints, but I found the comments of Dr. Alessandra Scalmati particularly moving and persuasive. As a psychiatrist who has treated Holocaust survivors for years, Dr. Scalmati argued passionately that doctors should not presume that they can “fix” horrific memories that are so deeply rooted in trauma and in the past. Instead, Dr. Scalmati urged psychiatrists to acknowledge what their survivor patients endured, listen attentively to their stories and respect the ways in which the survivors are attempting to cope with their difficult personal histories.
My mother's current fears and paranoia, in other words, clearly are her means of responding to recurrent traumas. To tell my mother – or people like her – that her delusions are unreal and her behavior in need of modification is not only futile but a mistake. Instead, all of us – doctors
and caregivers – must try to comfort people who suffer like my mother, rather than try to impose upon them a different way of thinking and acting.
The following night we showed the film at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center to an overflow audience that included many Holocaust survivors, their children and grandchildren. Dr. Agronin, medical director for mental health and clinical research at Miami Jewish Health Systems, took the podium to introduce the film. He pointed out that although my mother isn't telling her story in the linear, narrative manner that we might prefer, she surely is doing so in her own way: through her actions, through her delusions and through her re-enactments of her Holocaust experiences. There are no words, after all, to adequately express what she and other survivors endured. But by appearing unflinchingly before the camera, she has assured that her story is heard.
--- Howard Reich
We're writing some grants and cutting some demos.
With hours left on the Kickstarter campaign for The Homestretch there's still time to help fund the film that examines youth homelessness and challenges stereotypes surrounding the issue. Funds will not only help the final stages of making the film, but will also allow filmmakers Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly continue their impact campaigns to combat this national crisis.
The campaign surpassed its goal the same week it was announced that the world premiere will happen at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in April. We're delighted to be sharing the film with you soon, and so grateful for the support we have received!
The U.S. television premiere of The Trials of Muhammad Ali will air on April 14 at 10 p.m. on PBS's Independent Lens. The film will be paired with the program's first-ever live simulcast with director Bill Siegel on the ITVS OVEE site where he will chat LIVE with viewers.
The film is also still screening around the country and abroad!
We’re excited to announce that Unbroken Glass will be a part of the Asian American Showcase at the Gene Siskel Center this Spring. On April 13th, we’ll be showing our new demo and clips from the film and having a discussion about making the film and some of the mental health issues we’re addressing. In addition to the Asian American Showcase, we’re proud to announce that we will be a part of this summer’s Eye on India Festival, a yearly festival of Indian and Indian American cultures. Details forthcoming.
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