October 2013 Film Updates
This month: '63 Boycott, Almost There, American Arab, In the Family, Life Itself, Mormon Movie, Mossadegh & Me, Murder the Prepositions, Raising Bertie, The Homestretch, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Unbroken Glass.
’63 Boycott has continued to find and interview participants in the 1963 Boycott, while also securing educational outreach partners and planning an event for the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Boycott.
Lessons from the 1963 Boycott: The Struggle for Quality Education in Chicago Then and Now, our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Day Boycott, was a wild success. Check out our blog for previously unseen footage of the the Boycott, news updates, and coverage of our event “Lessons from the ’63 Boycott” at the DuSable Museum on October 22, 2013.
You can help us by spreading the word about our project with anyone who may have participated in the 1963 Chicago Public School Boycott.
We are busy editing, and applying to festivals for 2014. You'll see us soon!
We're most excited about being selected to pitch our project to international broadcasters at IDFA Forum in November.
In the meantime, check out some stunning photography from photographer, filmmaker and sociologist David Schalliol. He's been shooting environmental video and photos in Northwestern Indiana for Almost There since January. You'll get to see a lot more of his wonderful work when our film premieres in 2014.
American Arab will have its World Premiere at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), the world's largest documentary film festival. Usama will be going to IDFA with the film.
We also have a new poster design and a trailer on the way. We are so excited to be able to finally share this film with the world! We are applying to more festivals and people in the US will have the chance to see the film in 2014.
In the Family will screen at the Virginia Film Festival on Thursday, November 7 - opening night - to coincide with Joanna's second visit to the campus. The trip is sponsored by the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities and in addition to the screening at the VFF, Joanna will be speaking at the Medical Center Hour on Wednesday, November 6, discussing the outcome of the Myriad Patent case, Free the Data, as well as other questions of ethics and practice in BRCA testing. Finally, she will be a guest speaker at Professor George Sampson's Art Administration class on the role of the producer.
On October 27th, Joanna will take part in Pink Ribbon Day at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City, CA, in support The Pink Ribbon program, an innovative exercise program for breast cancer survivors. Joanna will host a meet and greet and show the film. Find out more here: http://www.pjcc.org/pink.
The Life Itself team has completed shooting! In tribute to Roger Ebert, we celebrated by going to Steak 'n Shake! Our editor David E. Simpson has put together a rough cut of the film, and we are now applying to festivals for 2014. Watch this space for big news next month - we are going to give you a chance to be among the first to watch the film while also helping us get to the finish line!
Invigorated by successful shoots during late spring, the team spent summer carefully puzzling out and incorporating an important new thread we've considered for over a year.
Director/Producer Xan Aranda is finessing plans to co-create and direct a short sequel to Summer of Decision (the first film her mother starred in, made by the LDS church) during early 2014, fifty years after it was created. Mormon Movie, among its existing storylines, will follow mother and daughter as they work with collaborators in Utah to bring the fiction sequel to life.
We expect this new thread to weave together past and present, illuminate the quiet evolution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and provide a compelling backdrop for our film's exploration of doubt, exile, and reconciliation.
We hope that Mormon Movie will engage a broad public in a conversation about faith, identity, and ancestry.
Production of Mormon Movie during the past year has been made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Sage Foundation, as well as the project's highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which wrapped during late 2012. We're deeply grateful to have recently received a second grant from Sage Foundation, equal to the first.
The team is actively building infrastructure for the overall film and sequel, transcribing and editing recent footage, interviewing music composers and other collaborators, pre-producing shoots, writing grants and proposals, and prepping a fresh demo with which to fundraise during Winter.
We're terribly excited about what 2014 will bring.
ITVS had also previously supported the film with $15,000 grant through their Diversity Development Fund (DDF).
Gita previously worked with us as the Series Producer on our International Documentary Association award-winning series The New Americans (2004). We are excited for her to continue developing this film, which is an intimate revisiting of an unprecedented politically free time in Iran's history. The project description:
Mossadegh & Me is a film about how we remember the 1950s in Iran, and the CIA coup that ousted then Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. In 1979, the Iranian Hostage Crisis shocked the world. The crisis received more non-stop press coverage than any other event since World War II. Americans, for the first time, asked, "Why do they hate us?" As an Iranian-American kid, director Gita Saedi Kiely asked that question, too. That’s when her father told her about Mohammed Mossadegh. The story of Mossadegh (1882-1967) is woven into the fabric of every Iranian family. As Prime Minister of Iran, Mossadegh initiated democracy in the Middle East half a century before the United States declared the ideology a justification for war in the region. He became a symbol of independence and hope for a people. And the story of his rise and fall has as much to do with American history as it does Iranian history. His tenure came to an abrupt halt when the newly-formed C.I.A. implemented its first covert coup d’etat. In August of 1953, Mossadegh was ousted, arrested for treason, and replaced by the Western-endorsed Shah of Iran. Iranians hold onto this complicated history no matter where they reside.
Mossadegh & Me will follow Saedi Kiely’s father and his peers as they remember this moment in Iran – as students, activists and dreamers. By examining the subjectivity of perception and recollection (the "Rashomon effect"), Mossadegh & Me will explore how we remember the past as it fits into our own cultural narrative. Attaching personal memories to this tumultuous time, Mossadegh & Me spins a cautionary tale of historic importance while ruminating on ideas of homeland and history.
Adam & I are still working on a stringout/rough cut of Murder the Prepositions
finally doing scratch narration & figuring out how to use footage from 1995
soon we'll start showing some clips & start seeking funding
…we're also close to beginning funded work on a project
about the Chicago installation artist, Gerda Meyer Bernstein
Joanna Rudnick and Liz Kaar are bringing On Beauty back into the editing room with the goal of finishing the film by the end of the year and planning the film's rollout in 2014. We now have the final funding to finish the film! Exciting times ahead! Meanwhile, excerpts from the film continue to be used to promote the work of Rick Guidotti and Positive Exposure. Our trailer and a scene featuring motocross racer Sarah Kanney will be seen as part of a Positive Exposure exhibition at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio later this month.
As we gear up for editing, our team is expanding! We are very excited to welcome graphic designer Basia G to Team Bertie who will be working on developing new poster designs and creative elements for the film and website. We also welcome the incredibly talented Carlos Ricketts as our new Musical Director!
Our Director of Photography Jon Stuyvesant, a Brooklyn native, will be traveling to Chicago later this month to meet the Kartemquin team and get some good Chicago pizza.
The Homestretch team has been busy preparing their soon-to-be-released new trailer, which premiered at Good Pitch Chicago on Tuesday, October 22nd. It was an amazing event for the film: we received pledges of support and enthusiasm from the CPB, MacArthur foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Ford Foundation, POV, Facing History and Ourselves, the Chaz and Roger Ebert foundation, True Colors Fund and more. The highlight was seeing Roque speak in front of 300 people. He was brilliant, and the support from the day has left us honored, and inspired to finish the film for 2014.
Directors Anne and Kirsten have officially welcomed two new team members aboard. Erin Sorenson of Third Stage Consulting is working to develop the film's Impact Campaign to be ready for a 2014 release. And Jennifer Greenfield of Greenfield&Co is joining the team to build philanthropic support and partners to launch the film and Impact Campaign. Meanwhile, the Avid has been running almost non-stop as KTQ Editor Leslie Simmer works towards a final rough cut with Anne and Kirsten at the end of October. We are filming some final Chicago landscape B-roll. Look for our Kickstarter campaign to support our final finishing funds coming later this fall!
On November 13, the film could add one final award to its many distinctions, as it is a finalist for the PUMA Creative Impact Awards.
As we reported last month, the stars of the film are also winning awards for their social work, in part due to the raised profile the film has given them.
Ameena Matthews will receive the 2013 "Freedom from Fear" Medal at the 2013 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards on October 16th in New York City.
Eddie Bocanegra will receive the the Ed Marciniak Bright Star Award from the Bright Promises Foundation on October 30th in Chicago. We are overjoyed for Eddie to receive this deserved recognition of his important social work for children.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali is getting rave reviews as it heads across the country in theaters. This is a big screen film that "makes you feel Ali's radicalism all over again" (Wesley Morris, Grantland), so grab your chance to see it in theaters now.
The film had a remarkable of run of screenings in early October. ESPN's Robert Lipsyte and athlete and civil rights hero Dr. John Carlos discussed the film at a sold out Ford Foundation event in New York; at Muhammad Ali Center in Lousiville, the filmmakers met with Rahman Ali (brother), Lonnie Ali (wife), and other close family members and friends of the champ to watch the film (photos); Thomas Krattenmaker, the Supreme Court clerk who was crucial to Muhammad Ali's victory in his draft case, discussed the film in Washington, DC; and director Bill Siegel brought the film home to Chicago for a rousing sneak preview.
Special screenings and panels like this are being organized throughout this fall. Upcoming cities include Minneapolis, San Diego, Boston, Cleveland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Chicago, Seattle, Columbus, Milwaukee, and Detroit. We hope you see the film, spread the word, and get in touch if you'd like to host a screening or get involved!
We could still use your help to help this film make the impact it deserves. Please donate to our outreach campaign if you can.
It’s been an exciting and productive month for Unbroken Glass. Last month we hosted “Drinks in Progress,” and were excited to show supporters of the film new work and talk about how the project has progressed. Soul music was played, dancing occurred, raffle prizes won. If you weren’t able to make it, it’s not too late to get your own “Unbroken Glass” with a contribution.
Last month Dinesh visited Professor Rooshey Hasnain’s class at University of Illinois at Chicago and screened some work and led a discussion about the film. Students talked about mental health in the Asian American community, the process of making the film, and the best way to engage communities with the film’s story. View photos.
We also sat down with our executive producers Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan and Leslie Simmer to show for the first time a large amount of work that we’ve been putting together since the beginning of the year. We got some incredible and productive comments, and are looking forward to incorporating feedback as we move forward towards a rough cut of the film.
Dinesh has been blogging about the process of making a personal doc. As the film has progressed and we’ve hosted more public events, Dinesh sat down to reflect on the process so far: emerging as filmmaker, as well as exploring his identity throughout making the film. Aptly titled “Some Thoughts on Making the Doc So Far” he reflected, “I think it will take finishing the film for me to look back at this moment and realize how significant this moment is.”
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