City So Real Creates Buzz at True/False Film Festival

Steve James' latest project, City So Real enjoyed its first full series premiere at the True/False Film Festival on Saturday, March 7th. After premiering its first two episodes in the Indie Episodic Program at the Sundance Film Festival in January, festival goers were treated the opportunity to watch the full series all together including a brief intermission between episodes 2 and 3. The other screenings split the series in half. 

"The series covers so much ground, social and geographic and narrative, that it seemed to operate almost like a map of the whole program here at True/False; every other movie was like a neighborhood within its grand mosaic," wrote A.A. Dowd for AV Club.

City So Real is an impressionistic, mosaic portrait of current-day Chicago which delivers a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of America’s third-largest city, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral campaign.

"It was really this kind of constant act of discovery making the film, and letting it lead us to people," James told Paste Magazine. "Whether it was the shoeshine guy, or the married couple that worked in the election and voted early, the Black woman and white man who met in the nursing home. All these people we just encountered, it’s what I love about documentary, and I loved about this particular documentary—that everything was fair game. When we went out during the day, we would go out with certain ideas of what we were gonna get, and the rest of it was: ‘Let’s just see what happens.’

Subtitled “The American City at a Crossroads,” City So Real has continued to impress critics and viewers with its gripping juxtaposition of the deep, contentious mayoral race parallel the city-altering trial of the police officer charged with killing Laquan McDonald. 

"The four-hour-plus piece was worth every minute," wrote Ashley Jones for Vox Magazine. "This, at its heart, is the story of Chicago."

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