Four decades after its initial debut, the film that gave Kartemquin its start is finally accessible to filmmakers, students and the general public alike thanks to an extensive restoration project supported by the National Film Preservation Foundation. Please join us for the unveiling of our newly restored first film, Home for Life, in a premiere screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago on Saturday, November 10th, 8:00pm. Tickets are available for only $9 on Ticketmaster.com. The award-winning Home for Life depicts the experiences of two elderly people in their first month at a home for the aged- a man, isolated from the world he knew, and a woman, uprooted from her family setting. The documentary focuses on the feelings and reactions of the two residents as they adjust to their new surroundings and other residents, medical staff, social workers, psychiatrists and family.
The documentary won the Chicago award for "Best American Film" at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1968 and was also featured at both the New York Film Festival and the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland.
Home for Life stands as an early and successful example of cinema verite, but for all its accolades and historical significance, the film was extremely vulnerable to being lost forever. The majority of the source material was destroyed in 1972 in a fire at Kartemquinís old studio and as of last year there existed only three known prints of the documentary.
In recent years portions of the film have been shown in a handful of special screenings, but until now the complete film was unavailable to the general public in any form.
Last year, through an old contact at the Drexel Home, we located with great excitement a print of the film at the Spertus Museum. The print was donated to the museum by the Drexel Home when it closed and had rarely been screened. An assessment revealed the print was mildly damaged, but thankfully restorable.
With hope on the horizon, and help from the Chicago Film Archives (CFA), we applied to the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) for preservation assistance. We were honored to be the recipients of the National Film Preservation Foundation Laboratory-Archive Partnership Grant, with partnership from Chace Productions and Film Technology. Thanks to this support, soon Home for Life will be available to professionals, students and the public on DVD.
Please join us for the premier screening in November and stay tuned to the KTQ website for the announcement of an additional screening to be held in spring 2008 in collaboration with the University of Chicago.