August 2014 Film Updates
This month: Almost There, American Arab, Cooked, Hard Earned, In The Game, Keep Talking, Life Itself, Murder the Prepositions, On Beauty, Raising Bertie, Saving Mes Aynak, The Homestretch, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Unbroken Glass.
A special preview, some good press and lots of pierogies only begin to explain what Almost There's summer's been like so far! On August 8th, we wrapped up our Kickstarter campaign with a whopping 370 backers bringing us to our funding goal - by 130%! We're thrilled and grateful - to Kickstarter, too, for making us their Project of the Day - and there's no way of expressing how much these crowdfunds will help us with the rollout of our film in the months ahead. Thanks everybody!
We began the process of thanking everybody at a special sneak preview screening for cast, crew, friends and donors which took place at the restored Hoosier Theatre movie palace at and during Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana on July 26th. Dan was interviewed on NPR/WBEZ Chicago's Morning Shift by Tony Sarabia the day before. And in an article about the screening which appeared in Northwest Indiana's Post-Tribune a week after the screening, Jeff Manes called Almost There "hilarious, heartbreaking and haunting...dark disturbing, thought-provoking, powerful and, at times, simply hard to watch. It's a brilliant piece of work and a must-see." Thanks Jeff!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks when we'll be excited to announce where Almost There will make its public world premiere later this fall. And if you didn't get the chance to back our project yet but would like to get the exclusive VHX streaming link to our film when it does premiere (like hundreds of our Kickstarter backers will), you can still do so by making a $25 tax deductible donation via the PayPal link located on the right side of our KTQ page.
We've been pretty active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook these days, too, so please check out some of the good stuff we're posting - especially some of the choice #almosttherearchive images we've taken over the past eight years.
If you haven't already, feel free to sign up for our newsletter at our website. And most importantly, enjoy the rest of your summer!
American Arab has had positive press highlights including reviews in The Film Yap and The Underground Film Journal. Upcoming local and international screenings are at the Landlocked Film Festival on August 23 in Iowa City, the Sydney Underground Film Festival, and there will be a community screening on 9/11 in Boston part of the Bright Lights Film Series at Emerson College.
The DVD is in the works and will be released on October 7! As a bonus feature, Director Usama Alshaibi's first documentary film Nice Bombs (about his 2004 return to Baghdad at the early stages of the United States invasion) will be included. Here is an important interview where Alshaibi speaks to his cousin in Baghdad this summer about the Islamic State and the situation over in Iraq.
With current events in the Middle East dominating the news as well as a recent poll showing Arab/Muslim American favorability at a low 36%, it is important to continue to educate as well as inform audiences on this contemporary American story. Please follow American Arab on Facebook and email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a screening.
The film is also available for distribution to educational institutions via The Cinema Guild.
In Cooked, filmmaker Judith Helfand sets out on a quest to see if America’s disaster preparedness industry could be used to tackle what might be the deadliest man-made disaster of all – extreme poverty. The film is in post-production, but the funding from Sundance DFP will go towards Declare Home, a mobile phone-based social media app aimed at helping grassroots organizers communicate and collaborate easily to build every-day resilience in their communities.
The Declare Home app was first prototyped in 2013 at Tribeca Hacks Chicago, which Kartemquin co-hosted with the Tribeca Film Institute.
Read Judith Helfand's reaction to the news, and learn more about Cooked and Declare Home. We hope to bring you Cooked and Declare Home in 2015!
Hard Earned continues pushing forward with editing, working towards an end-of-year delivery of the six-episode series to Al Jazeera America. The producers continue to research and collaborate with a team of expert advisers and Al Jazeera America journalists on filling out the economic context that surrounds the personal narratives of the film's subjects.
After 6 years In the Game is almost finished. Our last shoot is this Friday the 22nd where we will film the ground breaking on a new field for Kelly High School. Festivals here we come in 2015!
Keep Talking is the newest film to come on to Kartemquin’s roster. Delving into one Alaskan small town’s endangered language preservation movement from the perspective of the town change-makers, we follow the progress of these few dedicated learner/teachers over the course of a year. It was estimated there were 33 fluent native Elder speakers of Kodiak Alutiiq as of the start of our filming.
Covering the first and second ever language focused camps at remote Afognak Island, we get to know a multi-generational movement and see its progress over time. We root for these young learner/teachers as they are feeling the pressure and racing the clock.
We are given access to their everyday lives and the usually very private “language fishing” and “new word council” sessions which are part of the front lines of language preservation, and do so through the lens of a few people who are fighting to overcome personal and historical struggles and come out on top.
Please like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/keeptalkingthefilm or follow us on Twitter at @keeptalkingfilm for updates. Also you can check out the film’s website at www.keeptalkingthefilm.com to view a short teaser.
The first longer sample from the film will be unveiled at the Kartemquin Gala September 5th, 2014. Director/Producer Karen Lynn Weinberg and Co-Producer Kari Sherod, as well as Native Village of Afognak Tribal Administrator Melissa Borton will be in attendance.
The Life Itself international festival tour continues; the film has played or will play in France, Italy, England, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Russia, Kosovo, and Hong Kong, with many more still to come. First released in theaters on July 4th, the acclaimed documentary is currently still playing in over 20 cities in the US and Canada through Magnolia and Video Services Corp, with many more dates to come, and is available on demand and on iTunes. The film is confirmed for a November 14th release in theaters in the United Kingdom, via Dogwoof, and for 2014 theatrical releases in Australia and Italy. Watch this space for more international theatrical, digital and broadcast release date information to come. In early August the film received a Special Award at the Traverse City Film Festival. Visit the www.ebertmovie.com website for a full list of venues, and catch Life Itself in a theater near you!
On Beauty is complete and we are planning our audience engagement campaign and distribution strategy. We have a lot to tell you and are almost ready to announce our world premiere... soon!
Raising Bertie has had a great summer. We have officially finished filming! We are so proud of Davonte who graduated from Bertie High this June. His nephew came to visit Chicago for the summer and got to see the big city and visit the Kartemquin Headquarters.
We are hard at work on post-production and fundraising. Please visit our website at http://www.raisingbertie.com where you can watch some clips and read more about the film.
Undiscovered for 2,000 years, it survived revolution, invasion and war. Now destruction looms again: this is the story of Saving Mes Aynak.
Director/producer Brent Huffman, a documentary maker and film professor at Northwestern University, has been independently shooting at the Mes Aynak site in Afghanistan since 2011, and has now brought the documentary to Kartemquin Films. Situated in volatile Logar Province, where the Taliban holds considerable power, Mes Aynak is home to one of the world’s largest untapped copper deposits — worth more than $100 billion. Yet the site also houses the astonishing remains of an ancient Buddhist city, which archaeologists are now racing to save. It is likely the total destruction of the site for mining will begin later this year, in a tragedy that echoes the notorious destruction of the Buddhas at Bamiyan in 2001.
“The international team of archaeologists have been racing against time, but they’re only able to save a small fraction of Mes Aynak’s smaller antiquities,” Huffman says. “Its loss is an international tragedy. Being there is like touching history.”
Matt Lauterbach and Zak Piper have joined the team as Post-Production Supervisor and Consulting Producer, respectively. Julia Reichert (A Lion in the House), Gordon Quinn (Kartemquin Founder & Artistic Director) and Justine Nagan also serve as executive producers.
On September 12th, the Gene Siskel Film Center will present the Chicago premiere of The Homestretch, our new documentary about homeless youth in Chicago. The film, produced and directed by Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly, will then have its theatrical premiere run for a week at the venue.
Get tickets here - multiple screenings have already sold out!
Shot over the course of five years with unprecedented access into the Chicago Public Schools, The Night Ministry’s The Crib emergency youth shelter, and Teen Living Programs’ Belfort House, The Homestretch follows three teens—Roque, Kasey and Anthony-- through a complex and haunting Chicago landscape of couch-hopping, emergency shelters, makeshift homes, and a school system that is struggling to cope with this crisis. In one scene, emergency shelter beds are meted out via a lottery.
“It is our hope that, through the deeply personal journeys of Kasey, Anthony and Roque, this film can shine a much needed light on one of the most hidden and exploited populations in America – unaccompanied homeless youth,” said co-directors/producers Anne De Mare and Kirsten Kelly. “As a character says in the the film, we want people to understand that, "[Homelessness is] a situation. It's not who you are."
Many of the screenings at Gene Siskel Film Center will be co-presented by Chicago homeless services organizations at the frontlines of addressing the city’s youth homelessness crisis. The filmmakers have an ambitious audience engagement plan designed to raise local, statewide and national awareness of the situation. The Illinois Board of Education reports that over 54,000 children and youth are currently homeless (20,000 in Chicago) and that number is rising.
The 2014 British Urban Film Festival will screen the UK premiere of The Trials of Muhammad Ali in London's Leicester Square on Thursday 4 September (hosted by Sky Sports boxing pundit & promoter Spencer Fearon). The film will also be screened in London's East End on Sunday 7 September.
The award-winning The Trials of Muhammad Ali is available on DVD and VOD in the USA, and has screened at film festivals across the world to great acclaim. We are delighted to finally bring the film to the UK!
The film recently played at the March on Washington Film Festival. Watch a video discussion at the screening between Tom Krattenmaker, Eugene Robinson and Michele Norris.
Firelight Media has selected Dinesh Sabu, director of Unbroken Glass, as one of two recipients of their Firelight Media Freshman Fund (F3) award, which supports non-fiction filmmakers of color ages 30 and under.
The winners of the F3 award receive a $5,000 grant to support the production of their project and membership in the Firelight Media Producers' Lab.
About being a recipient of the F3 Award Sabu says, "As an emerging filmmaker making a personal documentary, it's a true honor to have the support of Firelight for my project. I'm excited to receive funding, but even more excited to participate in Firelight's Producers Lab with some incredibly talented and well-known people in the documentary community. To me, this support vindicates the long journey of making this documentary so far."
Editing and fundraising continues on Unbroken Glass.
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