WTTW honors Black History Month and 50th Anniversary of Kartemquin with broadcast of The Trials of Muhammad Ali

WTTW, Chicago's premier public television station, will broadcast The Trials of Muhammad Ali at 10pm on Thursday, February 25th as part of a year-long series honoring the 50th anniversary of not-for-profit Chicago documentary collective Kartemquin Films.

Winner of Outstanding Historical - Long Form award at the 36th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards in September 2015, The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers Ali’s toughest bout: detailing how the boxing legend fought a potential five year prison sentence for refusing military service in Vietnam, risking his fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience.

Directed by Bill Siegel, the film premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival before gaining widespread critical acclaim upon its theatrical release and original PBS broadcast on Independent Lens.

WTTW’s monthly Kartemquin series will feature films from each decade of their history, including the classic Hoop Dreams (1994), which will air in June 2016, to coincide with a Kartemquin “Milestones” gala celebration at the Harris Theater on June 24, and an exhibition of Kartemquin’s archival materials running May-August at Expo 72 gallery.

On March 12 at 2pm at the Chicago Cultural Center, WTTW, in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Kartemquin Films presents a FREE screening and discussion celebrating 50 years of Kartemquin Films. The event will consist of a screening of three classic 1974 documentaries: Now We Live on Clifton, Winnie Wright, Age 11, and Viva La Causa, which probe issues of gentrification, race, youth, and poverty in Chicago neighborhoods. The original subjects from the film and members of the Kartemquin 1970s filmmaking collective will attend.

Other films in the WTTW monthly broadcast series include Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes (2004), a searing portrait of controversial political painter Leon Golub, airing in April; the devastating Prisoner of Her Past (2009), in which Chicago Tribune journalist Howard Reich investigates a secret childhood trauma resurfacing, sixty years later, to unravel the life of his Holocaust survivor mother, airing in May; and the broadcast premiere of the award-winning Almost There (2015), about two filmmakers’ complicated relationship with a reclusive outsider artist, airing in July.

Kartemquin 50th Anniversary WTTW broadcast schedule
January 21, 10pm - The Homestretch (2014)
February 25, 10pm - The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013)
March 24, 9pm - Now We Live on Clifton (1974) and Winnie Wright, Age 11 (1974).
April 21, 10pm - Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes (2004)
May - Prisoner of Her Past (2009)
June - Hoop Dreams (1994)
July - Almost There (2014)
August - The Chicago Maternity Center Story (1976)
September - The Last Pullman Car (1983)
October - TBA
November - Vietnam, Long Time Coming (1998)
December - TBA

Other highlights of Kartemquin’s 50th anniversary year include several retrospectives and screenings in Chicago and nationwide; an art exhibit; a book; workshops, panels, and master classes; and online streaming of the organization’s entire catalog of award-winning documentaries via http://watch.kartemquin.com. The full calendar, which will be updated throughout the year as new events and partners are added, is available at www.kartemquin.com/KTQ50. Join the conversation on Twitter at @Kartemquin or by using #KTQ50.

The centerpiece event will be a public gala titled “Milestones” to be held at Chicago’s Harris Theater on Friday, June 24th 2016. The event will reunite filmmakers, subjects, and prominent partners, fans, and alumni from across Kartemquin’s five decades for a celebration of the significant moments they have shared in creating over 55 different films since their founding in 1966. Chaz Ebert, President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and Publisher of RogerEbert.com, will serve as the honorary chair of the evening, which will be preceded by a dinner reception at the Chicago Cultural Center.