Indie Caucus: Our Open Letter to WETA

The following is an open letter to WETA from the Indie Caucus: February 17, 2014 Dear WETA: We are writing in support of Dawn Porter’s letter to Jeff Bieber and to WETA regarding the programming of her film Spies of Mississippi and the rest of the films that several series offer for Black History month. It is frankly disturbing to note the spate of excellent and important films that are being displaced out of your prime time schedule and replaced with re-runs and Antiques Roadshow. Continued

’63 Boycott Celebrates Anniversary of "Freedom Day II"

February 25th marks the 50th anniversary of "Freedom Day II," a Chicago school boycott that was part of a protest movement eventually leading to the early "retirement" of CPS Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who was perceived as hostile to the interests of the black community. The demonstration followed the original massive school boycott in October 1963 that is the heart of our transmedia documentary ’63 Boycott. ’63 Boycott is a film and website that tells the story of the 1963 Chicago Public School Boycott, when more than 200,000 people protested the segregationist policies of Superintendent Benjamin Willis on October 22, 1963. Freedom Day II, which took place on February 25th, 1964, saw 175,000 students skip school, another highly successful demonstration confirming that the community had a voice in school politics and that Willis’ days were numbered. Continued

Full Frame to honor Steve James with retrospective

We are thrilled to report that the work of Steve James will be honored at the 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. "Full Frame has always been one of my absolute favorite festivals because of its devotion to artistic and challenging documentaries and to making filmmakers feel loved and appreciated,” says Steve James, “That love extends from the passionate festivalgoers to Full Frame’s incredible staff and programmers. It is both thrilling and humbling to attend this year and receive this tribute.” In addition to having screened many of his films over the years, Full Frame previously invited Steve James to curate the festival's thematic program in 2009, where he showcased a series on sports documentaries. Continued

Remembering Joe Agee, featured in Hoop Dreams

Kartemquin Films, home to Hoop Dreams, is saddened to learn of the passing of Arthur Agee's younger brother, Joe. In the film, young Joe goes by the nickname, "Sweety" and the two brothers remained very close throughout their lives. Joe died over the weekend of heart failure related to a longtime battle with diabetes. His and Arthur's mother Shiela, says that Joe was in quite a bit of pain late in his life and now he has joined his father, Bo, in a better place. The Agee family would sincerely appreciate any donations towards the funeral costs. Those willing to do so, can make donations at http://www.gofundme.com/6hyaxo. Continued

LIFE ITSELF Premieres at Sundance to a Worldwide Audience

On Sunday, January 19, Life Itself world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Playing in the MARC Theater to a packed house, Life Itself also streamed worldwide to over 1,600 Ebert fans who contributed to the film’s recent Indiegogo campaign. “Roger was all about community, the democratization of film, film viewing, and the film experience,” director Steve James recently said, and to stream the film to Ebert fans worldwide was a way for the filmmakers to honor Ebert’s egalitarian beliefs. Continued

Life Itself crowdfunding campaign is "game-changing for the entire film industry"

Our Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself will world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival this Sunday, with over 1,500 Indiegogo supporters exclusively able to simultaneously stream the film via VHX at http://www.Ebertmovie.com. After the screening, those lucky viewers will all share in the q&a from Park City, live streamed via YouTube, and anyone in the world can track and participate in the conversation by following the #Ebertchat and #LifeItself hashtags on Twitter. Continued

Big Sky to host North American premiere of American Arab

American Arab will have its North American premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Festival in Missoula, Montana on February 22nd. Director Usama Alshaibi will attend the screening. American Arab is a "Coming of Arab" story in which Iraqi-American filmmaker Usama Alshaibi shares his own story of experiencing racism in post-9/11 America. Showcasing the diversity of Arabs living in the United States, American Arab sparks a frank conversation about identity and perception, and argues for giving people "the space to be complicated." The film is also confirmed for the 32nd Annual CAAMFest (March 13-23, 2014), in California's Bay Area. Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a funder of the film. Continued

When Billy Broke His Head... Now Available to Watch Online

David E. Simpson's classic documentary When Billy Broke His Head... is now available to watch online for the first time via several VOD platforms. One of 11 digital premieres launched this week through the Sundance Institute's creative self-distribution and funding initiative, Artist Services, When Billy Broke His Head... can be streamed from iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Xbox Video and YouTube. The film is already available on DVD. Continued

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