In the lead-up to the November 11th national television broadcast on PBS's American Masters, the buzz surrounding A Good Man continues to grow! We've had a successful, hometown premiere at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center on September 23rd, followed by a week-long run at the Siskel featuring Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and members of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
The month of October has so far boasted screenings at the Milwaukee Film Festival, Oklahoma Dance Films Festival, and the New Orleans Film Festival. On November 5th, the film will make its New York premiere at the IFC Center as part of the DOC NYC Festival; tickets are available for purchase here. After New York, the film will screen at the Virginia Film Festival before heading to Europe as an official selection of the prestigious IDFA Festival in Amsterdam. Screenings are also planned for Scotland's DANCE:FILM Festival (UK Premiere) and the EDIT:International Dance Film Festival of Budapest. Europe, here we come!
The film continues to be met with wide acclaim. Read some of the excellent reviews and check our calendar for upcoming screenings around the world. And don't miss the national broadcast of A Good Man on 11/11/11 on PBS's American Masters series as part of the inaugural PBS Fall Arts Festival.
Co-directors Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden are thrilled to be officially in development with Kartemquin Films! The project, which is 80% complete with production, was recently selected for the "Spotlight on Documentaries" section of IFP New York's Independent Film Week. The directors met with industry professionals - including executives from HBO, PBS and the Tribeca Film Institute - who expressed interest in the film. They are currently fundraising and have recently applied to the Graham Foundation and the NEA. If you would like to donate to the finishing of this project, please visit this link.
Director Usama Alshaibi's sneak peek of American Arab was a great success on September 26th last month. Palestinian student, Affnan Mohammed, and Arab-American studies expert, Dr. Louise Cainkar from Marquette University, joined Usama for a lively panel discussion after the film which screened as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival's tribute to Kartemquin Films.
At Marquette, Usama joined Dr. Cainkar for "Soup with Substance", a noon-time event that brought people together around an issue related to peacemaking and social justice over a simple meal of soup and bread. Usama was also a guest speaker in a class of Dr. Cainkar's, as well as a guest speaker at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in Dr. Jeffrey A. Smith's courses, including his Senior Seminar, "War News, Entertainment, and Persuasion".
In other news, Usama has completed a rough cut of the film that the whole team is reviewing, including Executive Producers Gordon Quinn and Justine Nagan. Tristin Steinfeld has joined the project as the Associate Producer and is working closely with Usama on applying for additional post-production funding.
Earlier this fall Director/Producer Maria Finitzo scouted locations on a pre-production trip to Bolivia for her in-development project that seeks to examine the transition from a subsistence life style to the modern ways of life through the lives of the the indigenous Tsimane people. Read details from Maria's scouting trip.
More recently, this past Monday, Maria along with Liz Kaar, Rich Pooler and Jason Longo headed off to Bolivia to spend a week in San Borja, covering the local Tsimane festival before heading up the Amazon river on an 8 hour dugout canoe ride which will eventually land them in the village of Cocincho. We wish them the best of luck on this adventure!
In The Game producer Mary Morrissette is continuing to lead the team for shoots while Maria Finitzo is away in Bolivia. The next shoot will be with 3 of the Fair Shot Media Institute girls as they tour Juarez High School and get to see their athletic facilities and speak with one of the coaches there. We are very excited about our three stories.
In The Game continues to build great relationships in the community, raising awareness around issues related to gender equality in sports. Two lucky teens from Cabrini Connections on a summer filmmaking internship run by Associate Producer Shuling Yong had that opportunity to have lunch with the In The Game team. The girls had spent the previous 8 weeks exploring girls' participation in sports in their own communities and documenting their findings, so it was an eye-opening experience getting to ask questions and gain valuable insights directly from Maria, Mary and Justine. They later had the chance to screen their first short documentary to everyone at Kartemquin. Their finished piece, Girls in Action, will be made available as a companion web video for In The Game in the future.
In The Game Associate Producer Krisitina Eschmeye has moved to Boulder, CO. We're all very excited for her and thankful for her hard work on the team. While we'll miss her in-person presence at our weekly production meetings, Kristina will continue to work closely with us through digital means. Here's to the early beginnings of our In The Game Boulder Production Office!
Having already become the all-time box office champion of Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center, The Interrupters returned to the downtown theatre as the film continues a run of eight consecutive weeks playing in Chicago. The film was aided by the recent television review by Roger Ebert on the nationally syndicated PBS program Ebert Presents: At the Movies. The big thumb up by Ebert is best summed up with his closing remark, "This is a great film". This great review comes as The Interrupters closes in on 100 cities booked theatrically worldwide.
Meanwhile, the honors keep pouring in as The Interrupters has been named one of the inaugural recipients of the Tribeca Film Festival Institute's New Media Fund. The $75,000 award has been earmarked for an interactive web campaign that features digital "shrines" to victims of violent crime. On the heels of this award The Interrupters team traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area to further develop its online campaign with a workshop sponsored by ITVS and Mozilla called The Living Docs Project. The two-day workshop pairs filmmakers with Mozilla web developers and aims to innovate the documentary experience on the web.
Most recently, the film was honored with the Best Documentary award at The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago's Black Excellence Awards!
Summer brought much activity for the team - with shoots in Utah, California, and the Midwest. The film cracked open during August, after producer/director Xan Aranda gained an ever-elusive copy of the second film her mother starred in, which re-creates historic events affecting the Mormon colonies in Mexico - where her father grew up. Xan and co-producer Rachel Pikelny (A Good Man) are working with editor Aaron Wickenden (The Interrupters) to shape a demo for the film this autumn. Development of Mormons has been partially supported by a grant from the ITVS Diversity Development Fund.
On Beauty is back in production! Joanna Rudnick will leave her beautiful baby at home for a 2-day shoot at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey this week. The school has been running a pilot program to combat bullying through Positive Exposure's PEARLS project in which five teachers from different disciplines (Philosophy, Biology, Dance, Writing, Digital Photo & Graphic Arts) worked collaboratively to address the theme “What is Beauty?” while concurrently employing the use of the PEARLS interactive tool into their respective units of study. Read more about the program in The New York Times.
Joanna will film a visit to the school from Positive Exposure's founder Rick Guidotti and On Beauty subject Sarah Kanney to kick off the new year-long PEARLS project at Ridgewood. Here is a link to an On Beauty webisode about Sarah: http://www.youtube.com/
During its broadcast this past spring, POHP screened over 500 times in 46 of the United States and played theatrically from Montana to Greece, Poland, Utah, Canada, New Orleans, and beyond. We've presented the film at museums, community centers, public schools, private schools, libraries and other easily accessible places, in most cases for no admission fee.
We're actively seeking funding in support of the film's next incarnation - in the realm of educational outreach and distribution. This will allow us to raise awareness of mental health issues and contribute unparalleled vibrancy to Holocaust education everywhere.
Earlier this year, co-producer Howard Reich presented POHP at middle and high schools in New Orleans, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas. His exchanges with students were eye opening: Many of these students had been affected by natural or manmade disasters and political unrest; many experience the upheaval of sudden migration from their home countries. Those who had not experienced such events were actively engaged in Sonia Reich's story and were ignited by classroom discussion of circumstances related to Hurricane Katrina.
Prisoner of Her Past screens in Kansas this weekend at the Tallgrass Film Festival, paired with Incident in New Baghdad, a piece awarded "Best Short Film" at the Tribeca Film Festival. See the films on Friday, October 21 at 4pm and Saturday, October 22 at 1:45pm.
On October 30 at 2pm, POHP screens as part of the Holocaust Film Series presented by the Tallahassee International Film Festival.
Howard and Gordon Quinn will present POHP at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies on November 4, after which Howard will take the film to the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival on November 7.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali received generous funding from ITVS, enabling the film to go into full production! Thank you ITVS! Read more about the film and ITVS' involvement here.
Currently, director Bill Siegel and co-producer Rachel Pikelny are amassing an incredible colleciton of rare and unseen footage of Ali during the exile years and working this fall to complete key interviews. Aaron Wickenden, editor of Kartemquin's The Interrupters, has joined the Trials team as editor and the project is moving full steam ahead.
We've loved the response from viewers nationwide following the PBS Typeface broadcasts over the past few months. Thank you for your kind words and your interest in purchasing the DVD! The film will continue to be aired sporadically on PBS stations across the country and in countries around the world on the Sundance Channel International, as well as BSkyB (UK), SVT (Sweden) and ABC (Australia). If you don't catch the film on TV, it's still available on Itunes, Amazon VOD and DVD. Remember to save it to your netflix queue as well!
Additionally, fall screening events are in the works for Missouri, Chicago and Beijing- stay tuned!