"Kartemquin at its Best" - In the Game opens in Chicago

On Saturday, the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago will host the U.S. premiere of In the Game, a new documentary film by Peabody award-winning filmmaker Maria Finitzo (5 Girls and Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita).

There are still tickets available for select showings across this premiere run, during which Maria Finitzo will attend several screenings alongside the film's participants. Grab your tickets here: http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/inthegame.

Ahead of the opening, early reviews have been effusive in their praise, placing it among our strongest works.

In the Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs wrote: "this doesn't feel like a sports movie so much as a lament for America's beleaguered working class. The coach teaches the girls valuable lessons about hard work and self-discipline, and the players Finitzo follows grow as individuals, but once they graduate, they find it nearly impossible to stay above the poverty line, let alone pay for college. This inspires warm admiration for the subjects while stirring up rousing anger at our city's social inequality—Kartemquin at its best."

Maria Finitzo also spoke to Ben Sachs about the issues in the film: "we hope the film shows that when you have a team, you can withstand setbacks. It's when you're on you're own and have no team that it becomes a lot harder. And that's what you see, how the girls struggle. There has to be a way of helping kids figure out who's on their team when they get out of high school. I hope the film illustrates that we have this huge need, that there's a population of kids who need more support." Read the full interview.

We are delighted to see the Hispanic press pick up interest in the film, as it was described as "a thoughtful reflection on race, gender, and poverty" by Remezcla, and teleSUR stated that it "possesses a rare grit and honesty in its portrayal of the poverty faced by many of the subjects."

Writing for Community Media Workshop's Chicago is the World blog, Stephen Franklin praised the film as "powerful, humane and compelling."

At Chicagolandsoccer.org, veteran film critic and sport expert Patrick McGavin spoke to the participants and stated the film was "loaded with moments of heartbreak and wonder," "a deeply empowering work," and "an intimate labor of love and a poignant and often powerful study of hope and ambition in overcoming severe social disadvantages."

Brian Tallerico at RogerEbert.com writes: "“In the Game” doesn’t position itself as a “statement film.” There are no statistics emblazoned on the screen. It is a study of one school athletic program and its players. And yet it feels more important than that. It feels empowering, even inspirational. You will lose some games. In life, you will play some games that you never had a chance of winning. But the important thing is that you keep playing."

Ray Pride of New City calls the film: "Wondrous... gentle, assured, compassionate, left me softly thunderstruck."

We're delighted with these reviews - and can't wait to hear what you think of the film after seeing it this week at Siskel Center. Buy tickets.

In the Game - Official Trailer (2015 Documentary) from Kartemquin Films on Vimeo.

“In life you deal with what’s dealt your way. When you get knocked down, just get up right away. Never give up.” – Stan Mietus • Coach, Kelly High School

IN THE GAME is a Kartemquin documentary film directed by Peabody award-winner Maria Finitzo (Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita, and 5 Girls) that follows the ups and downs of a girls’ soccer team to reveal the very real obstacles that low-income students confront in their quest for higher education. Set in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood, Kelly High School on Chicago’s south side is an inner city public school struggling to provide the basics for their students, many of whom do not make it to college, either because they cannot compete academically or because their families do not have the financial resources to send them to college. The girls face an uneven playing field - or in the case of the girls at Kelly High School, no soccer field at all - little or no support, problems at home, uncertain futures, discrimination, and poverty, but remain undaunted thanks to their teammates and the dedicated mentoring of their coach.


Bring In the Game to your town by visiting https://www.kartemquin.com/films/in-the-game/events/request.