WATCH the official trailer for COOKED; Chicago theatrical premiere July 12-25

Kartemquin is excited to share official trailer for COOKED: Survival by Zip Code, marking the upcoming release of the searing documentary on the politics of “disaster” that blends investigative reporting and humor to make a potent argument that the best preparation for a disaster may start with actually redefining the terms“disaster”, “preparedness” and “resilience.”

The film embarks on a two-week theatrical run at the Gene Siskel Film Center running July 12-25. Tickets are now available HERE.

The film is directed and produced by Peabody Award-winning director Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl, A Healthy Baby Girl, Everything’s Cool) and produced by Fenell Doremus (co-producer of Academy Award-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail). The film is adapted from Eric Klinenberg’s ground-breaking book ‘HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.’

In Helfand’s signature serious-yet-quirky connect-the-dots style, COOKED: Survival by Zip Code takes audiences from the deadly 1995 Chicago heat disaster - in which 739 people died, mostly black and in the poorest neighborhoods of the city, and ties it back to the underlying manmade disaster of systemic structural racism and then goes deep into one of our nation’s biggest growth industries - Disaster Preparedness. Along the way she forges inextricable links between extreme weather, extreme wealth disparity and the politics of “disaster,” daring to ask: What if with a slight torque of the system and a reframe of the terms disaster, preparedness and resilience we could invest in the most “vulnerable communities” now - instead of waiting for the next “natural disaster”?

Watch the Official Trailer

The film had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2018 and has since embarked on an award-winning festival run, recently winning the Jury Award for Best Feature Film at the 2019 EarthxFilm Festival and the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Environmental Film Festival at Yale.

COOKED will make its Chicago premiere in a 2-week theatrical run beginning July 12th at the Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute, 24 years-to-the-day of the 1995 Chicago heat wave. The film is slated for a broadcast premiere on the PBS strand Independent Lens in their upcoming 2020 season.

COOKED is a co-production of Kartemquin Films, Judith Helfand Productions and the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Major funding was provided by the Dobkin Family Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, Leo S. Guthman Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Fledgling Fund, Fork Films, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.


COOKED: Survival by Zip Code is Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand's searing investigation into the politics of “disaster” – by way of the deadly 1995 Chicago heat wave, in which 739 residents perished (mostly Black and living in the city’s poorest neighborhoods).

Asking open-ended questions that push people to deeply consider what it might mean to redefine the term “disaster” and reframe the concept of “resilience,” Helfand forges inextricable connections between the cataclysmic natural disasters we’re willing to see and prepare for and the slow-motion disasters we’re not – that is until an extreme weather event hits and they are made exponentially more deadly and visible. Using a combination of chutzpah, humor and candor, Helfand delves deep into one of our nation’s biggest growth industries: disaster preparedness.

Whether it’s a deadly heat wave in Chicago or Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey or Maria, these disasters reveal the ways in which class, race, and zip code predetermine who lives and dies everyday, regardless of the weather and who gets hurt the worst and first in the wake of an “official disaster.” In COOKED Helfand challenges herself and ultimately all of us to respond to the man-made disasters taking place in towns and cities across the country before the next unprecedented “natural” disaster hits.