July 2014 Film Updates
Happy July from the Almost There team! Guess what? We really are ALMOST THERE!
In fact, we're having the first, sneak preview screening of our finished film on July 26th in the beautifully restored and fully digital Hoosier Theatre movie palace at and during Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana - which is where we met Almost There's 82-year-old star Peter Anton doing pastel portraits exactly eight years ago this month. A "full circle" moment for sure!
Following the screening, we'll be doing a Q&A with Peter on the Hoosier Theatre's main stage - where Peter actually performed with his Talent Club in 1951. We're psyched.
Although this special event was put together primarily for our film's cast and crew, one of the many sweet rewards we're offering as part of our recently-launched Kickstarter campaign is VIP tickets to the screening. Please donate if you can! Our film is finished but we really need help rolling it out: http://kck.st/1rPgXtE
To learn more about Almost There - including what Steve James and other acclaimed doc filmmakers are saying about the film - please visit our
Kickstarter page and share the link with your art- and film-loving friends, too: http://kck.st/1rPgXtE
Because of all that's happening, now would be the perfect time to stay in touch with us for updates, including announcements about where we'll have our festival premieres in the coming months, and when our film will be broadcast on PBS next year.
Please follow us and please start kicking if you haven't already! We can't wait to share our finished film with you!
We're pleased to announce that we will soon be bringing the film to VOD and DVD via Passion River Films.
A specialist in bringing arthouse films and documentaries to major platforms such as iTunes, Hulu and Netflix, Passion River will announce a consumer release date for American Arab in late 2014. We'll also be selling the film directly from our website!
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.
Positive reviews and added screenings are piling up in the days and weeks after Life Itself's July 4th release in US theaters, On Demand, and on iTunes. Steve James' latest film, about the late film critic Roger Ebert, is expected to be showing on 100 screens nationwide by July 18. Initial reviews and box office numbers all indicate that the film is well on its way to being a hit. Visit the www.ebertmovie.com website for a full list of venues, and catch Life Itself in a theater near you!
Jerry & Adam have just finished work on an 11 minute demo, "Gerda Meyer-Bernstein Installations". Gerda is a world-renowned installation artist, 92 years old but still working, once mentored by Leon Golub. Her installations most often tackle critical social & historical issues (see www.gerdameyerbernstein.com). The video uses her work to begin exploring the special problem of preserving installations for future generations. The hope is to go on from here with a longer piece, deeper into the problems of preservation and exhibition, as well as deeper into Meyer-Bernstein's work. We recently arranged for two additional shoots, both visits to Gerda's studio, one with a curator from the Illinois Holocaust Museum, the other with curators from the Smithsonian.
Our other current project, "Murder the Prepositions", has been on hiatus since the recent death of its major subject, Les Bridges. We hope to resume work on it in the near future.
On Beauty is complete and we are planning our audience engagement campaign and distribution strategy. We have a lot to tell you... soon!
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.
During its back-to-back US premiere weekend last month, The Homestretch was featured at AFI Docs 2014 in Washington, D.C., and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City. These festivals allowed our team and our audience to look at the issue of youth homelessness first, as a policy issue, and second, as a human rights issue - while also getting stunning audience feedback that really brought home how ready people are to embrace this documentary.
The team is now hard at work preparing for more screenings, including our big Chicago Premiere in September! Look for our theatrical premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center from September 12th - 18th!
Excited to announce that one of the film’s subjects, Kasey White, was honored by the Windy City Times as one of their 30 Under 30 that have taken bold activism for the LGBT Community in Chicago! Since launching the film, many folks have asked how they could specifically help Kasey, Roque and Anthony with their next steps in building their futures, so now a site has been set up to help them with some costs towards their education and vocational skills as a thank you to them for the courage in sharing their stories. Please support them if you can!
The film is honored to announce the addition of Picture Motion to our advocacy team. They will join us and Third Stage Consulting to plan the film’s National Impact Campaign, beginning with the launch in Chicago. Picture Motion comes with a wealth of experience working on social issue films like “American Promise”, “The Soloist” and ‘God Loves Uganda”. Events, policy discussions and advocacy work are being planned for the fall with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, National Runaway Safeline and the three organizations featured in the film, The Chicago Public Schools Student in Temporary Living Situations Program, The Night Ministry and Teen Living Programs. The film will help bring much needed empathy, awareness and support to the rising crisis of youth homelessness and highlight the incredible work (and hopefully bring additional, much needed support for) these organizations are doing to support kids in crisis.
The Homestretch Associate Producer Elizabeth Hemmerdinger of Providence Productions teamed up with Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to sponsor a Senate Breakfast on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the U.S. Premiere at AFI Doc Fest. The breakfast hosted over 50 federal policymakers as directors Anne, Kirsten and the film’s subjects Kasey, Anthony, Roque and Maria spoke about the need to support homeless youth in crisis. Barbara Duffield of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and Darla Bardine of the National Network for Youth brought forth the urgent need to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and bring more support to schools and organizations dealing with this crisis.
And we are honored to announce that The Homestretch was selected to be a part of the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival in 2014 - 2015, bringing the issue of youth homelessness to discussions about human rights across the country. More information can be found at https://ff.hrw.org/traveling-festival.
The film's next screening will be in Chicago in September. After that, we roll the film out across the country - with your help. Follow the film on Facebook and Twitter for more information and please email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about setting up upcoming screenings and events.
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!
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