Almost There Chicago Premiere announced for January

On Saturday January 10th at 7:45pm and Sunday, Jan 11th at 3:00pm, Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute will host the Chicago Premiere of Almost There.

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Almost There is a coming-of-(old)-age story about 83-year-old Peter Anton, an “outsider” artist living in isolated and crippling conditions whose world changes when two filmmakers discover his work and storied past. Shot over eight years, Almost There documents Anton’s first major exhibition, held in 2010 at Chicago’s INTUIT: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, and how the controversy it generates forces him to leave his childhood home. Each layer revealed reflects on the intersections of social norms, elder care, and artistic expression.

The film is co-directed by Dan Rybicky (a film professor at Columbia College Chicago) and Aaron Wickenden (editor of 2015 Academy Award Best Documentary-shortlisted film Finding Vivian Maier and Sundance Film Festival 2015 selection Best of Enemies). The subject of the film, Peter Anton, will join Wickenden and Rybicky at Siskel Center at what will be just the fourth and fifth ever public screenings of this documentary.

Ahead of Almost There’s November 2014 world premiere at DOC NYC, the USA’s largest documentary film festival, it was selected by the Huffington Post as one of the 16 Documentaries To Watch Out For This Year and then by IndieWire's Eric Kohn as one of his five "must-see" films. Following this advance preview the film will continue to play multiple festivals in 2015 before a wider release.

Almost There began production in 2006, when co-directors Wickenden and Rybicky met Peter Anton at Whiting, Indiana’s annual Pierogifest, where he had a stand painting pastel portraits. The documentary delves into Anton’s beguiling life - which he has spent decades obsessively chronicling in a massive, illustrated autobiography titled Almost There - and explores the issues that arise when the filmmakers befriend Anton, try to help him share his story with the world, and get him adequate medical care and housing after years of living as a recluse in neglect of all but his prolific art practice.

Almost There Official Trailer (2014 Documentary HD) from Kartemquin Films on Vimeo.

Despite the film only just beginning its run on the festival circuit, Gene Siskel Film Center programmer Barbara Scharres personally reached out to the filmmakers for consideration in their January Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres series after hearing buzz about the film. She writes, “This chronicle of a near-decade in the life of East Chicago, Indiana, outsider artist Peter Anton, now 83, boasts as many layers, permutations, and interpretations as the pages of one of his profusely illustrated scrapbook journals.”

“We jumped at the opportunity to screen the film in Chicago so soon after its world premiere, and are delighted to be able to bring Peter Anton up from Indiana to share this with us,” said Rybicky and Wickenden. “Given the complexity of the film, we know all of our screenings are going to be emotional experiences, but having him here and our friends, peers, and potentially those people who saw the original exhibition at Intuit in the audience ensures this will be even more emotional than usual.”

View the full press kit for Almost There

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