News for December 2014

Tributes to Jerry Blumenthal

Jerry Blumenthal, a great filmmaker, colleague, and friend, passed away on November 13, 2014. Tributes to Jerry Blumenthal:Rick Kogan in the Chicago Tribune: Jerry Blumenthal left lasting memories on screen and in person. "He was so, so Chicago. He was street-smart, of working-class roots, but also so worldly. You could talk to him about anything. Just a couple of days before he died we had a long talk about the Bears … and about Baudelaire." - Judy Hoffman, Kartemquin associate. Continued

NEA awards grant to Kartemquin's Filmmaker Programs

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded Kartemquin a $25,000 Art Works grant towards our ongoing field-building programs in service of documentary makers. Our Programs include: KTQ Labs, our free monthly service at which filmmakers present their demos and rough cuts to the Kartemquin community in return for constructive critique. KTQ Labs has helped improve over 100 projects in the past decade, including some of the best Midwest-made documentaries in recent years, such as What’s the Matter with Kansas?; Louder Than A Bomb; Andrew Bird: Fever Year; Tony & Janina’s American Wedding; Beneath the Blindfold, Scrappers, Spilled Water, and Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists and many more. Diverse Voices in Docs Continued

Oscar Shortlist, CNN air date and National Board of Review Award for Life Itself

Life Itself has been named on the Academy Awards shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. Today CNN also announced that January 4th, 9pm ET will see the broadcast television premiere of the film, which depicts the life and last days of Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert. Life Itself was also honored today as Best Documentary of the year by the National Board of Review, and was yesterday nominated for Best Documentary of the year by the Producers Guild of America. Continued

Hoop Dreams' 20th anniversary in sweet home Chicago

Chicago audiences will see a new digital restoration of Hoop Dreams this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Saturday December 13th at 7pm and Tuesday December 16th at 6:30pm. Get tickets here: The 1994 documentary, made over seven years by filmmakers Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx, chronicles the lives of two inner-city teenagers who hope of one day playing in the NBA. Star Arthur Agee, now in his early 40s, will attend both screenings with James, Gilbert and Kartemquin's artistic director Gordon Quinn. Continued

Hoop Dreams Blu-ray announced for March 31, 2015

The Criterion Collection today announced that they will release the newly restored Hoop Dreams on Blu-ray disc on March 31st, 2015. The Blu-ray is available now for pre-order. Features on the Criterion Collection Hoop Dreams Blu-Ray will include: New digital restoration, with 4.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray Two audio commentaries: one by filmmakers Peter Gilbert, Steve James, and Frederick Marx, and one by the film’s subjects, Arthur Agee and William Gates "Life After Hoop Dreams", a new documentary catching up with Agee, Gates, and their families Additional scenes, never before released to the public Collection of excerpts from Siskel & Ebert tracking the acclaim for Hoop Dreams Continued

Episode Two of The School Project set for January 22

The second episode of The School Project, a six-part documentary series on public education released in segments over the 2014-2015 school year, will premiere at The University of Chicago's Logan Center at 6:30pm on January 22nd, 2015. The free, public event (RSVP requested) will include a screening of "Chicago Public Schools: Closed,” as well as a presentation on new findings from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research on where the 10,000 students affected by the 2013 closings ended up and why. A subsequent panel discussion moderated by Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times will engage the audience in a conversation about the school closings and what Chicagoans can do moving forward. Continued

More awards for Life Itself!

Life Itself has continued its run of year-end acclaim, garnering a nomination for Best Documentary of 2014 from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and also the following distinctions: Winner: Best Documentary - Chicago Film Critics Association. Winner: Best Documentary - Online Film Critics Association. Winner: Best Documentary - Washington DC Area Film Critics. Winner: Best Documentary - African-American Film Critics Association. Winner: Best Documentary - New York Online Film Critics. Winner: Best Documentary - Boston Online Film Critics. Winner: Best Documentary - Indiana Film Journalists Association. Runner-up: Best Documentary - Los Angeles Film Critics. Nominee: Best Documentary - Detroit Film Critics Society. Nominee: Best Documentary - St. Louis Film Critics. Nominee: Best Documentary - Phoenix Film Critics. Continued