WBEZ | Steve James http://www.wbez.org/tags/steve-james Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Celebrating Chicago's indie filmmakers http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/celebrating-chicagos-indie-filmmakers-108771 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Cyclicity%2C%20Jason%20Knade.png" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="Still from the 2011 short film &quot;Cyclicity,&quot; dir. Jason Knade. (Vimeo)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">As October approaches, so does the promise of more movies and film events in Chicago.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The 49th Annual <a href="http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com" target="_blank">Chicago International Film Festival</a> runs October 10-24, the Music Box Theatre&#39;s week of <a href="http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/collections/docs-at-the-box" target="_blank">Docs at the Box</a>&nbsp;is October 4-10, and the first crop of Hollywood&#39;s Oscar hopefuls (like the space thriller &quot;Gravity&quot; and the film festival <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/sep/15/12-years-a-slave-toronto-film-festival-people-s-choice-winner" target="_blank">stunner</a> &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;) will hit Chicago theaters in early to mid-October as well.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>One of the films that will be screened for Docs at the Box is &quot;The Trials of Muhammad Ali,&quot; a documentary about the legendary boxer from Chicago&#39;s <a href="http://www.kartemquin.com/about" target="_blank">Kartemquin Films</a>.&nbsp;As a home for independent filmmakers, many of whom are based in the Chicago area, Kartemquin has fostered the talents of now well-known directors like Steve James (&quot;Hoop Dreams,&quot; &quot;The Interrupters&quot;) and continues to open the door for many others just getting their start.&nbsp;</p><p>The Second City is bursting with cinematic talent, particularly among the rising stars at Kartemquin and two of the <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130801/loop/chicago-film-schools-among-top-nation-says-hollywood-reporter" target="_blank">top-rated film schools</a> in the country, DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago. Many more filmmakers have fine-tuned their craft independently, garnering national and international acclaim.</p><p>Here are just a few of the soon-to-be-famous filmmakers with Chicago ties:</p><p><strong>Jason Knade</strong></p><p>Knade is multi-talented writer/director, producer and cinematographer. He has won a dozen film festival awards (Audience, Jury, Best Film, Screenwriting); had 50+ festival screenings in cities like Amsterdam, Torino, Mumbai, Milan, Dublin, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York; and provided videography for organizations ranging from The Joffrey Ballet to Lacuna Artist Lofts. Currently, Knade is in post-production on a feature film called &quot;Searching for Venice,&quot; and in pre-production for another film to shoot this fall.</p><p><strong>Fun fact: </strong>Wonjung Bae, a Columbia College graduate who won a Student Academy Award in 2011 for her film &quot;Vera Klement: Blunt Edge,&quot; was Knade&#39;s cinematographer on &quot;Searching for Venice.&quot; <a href="http://www.jasonknade.com" target="_blank">jasonknade.com</a></p><p><b>Stephanie Tisza</b></p><p>Tisza grew up in a working class neighborhood on the Southwest Side of Chicago, studied experimental filmmaking under James Benning at the California Institute of the Arts, and received her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011. As a media artist and educator, Tisza&#39;s films are motivated by an interest in voyeurism, fantasy, and the intersection between reality and fiction. Her work been shown internationally at galleries and festivals including SKIN TIGHT at New Capital in Chicago,&nbsp;International House Philadelphia,&nbsp;P1xels at an Exhibition in Berlin,&nbsp;Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Tisza&#39;s exhibit at the MCA earned her a write-up in VICE Magazine. <a href="http://www.stephanietisza.com" target="_blank">stephanietisza.com</a></p><p><b>Ted Tremper</b></p><p>Tremper is an improviser, filmmaker and writer hailing from Seattle and currently living in Chicago. His short film series, &quot;Break-Ups: The Series,&quot; won the inaugural Vimeo Award for &quot;Best Original Series&quot; in 2010, and went on to win numerous awards at film festivals across the globe. His latest web series, &quot;Shrink,&quot; follows the stories of a young psychiatrist performing his state-mandated 1750 hours of supervised clinical therapy.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Complex Magazine listed Tremper as one of the &quot;25 Funny People Who Should Get Their Own TV Shows&quot; in 2013.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/02/25-funny-people-who-should-get-their-own-tv-shows/ted-tremper" target="_blank">complex.com</a></p><p><strong>Fawzia Mirza</strong></p><p>Mirza is an accomplished actor, producer and writer/director. She has appeared in numerous films as an actor, including &quot;Silhouettes,&quot; &quot;Promise Land&quot; and the award-winning&nbsp;<a href="http://jamieandjessie.com" target="_blank">&quot;Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together,&quot;</a> directed by fellow Chicago indie dynamo Wendy Jo Carlton. In 2012, Mirza wrote, directed, and produced her own documentary short, &quot;The Queen of my Dreams.&quot; Currently, Mirza is the creator and star of the popular Chicago-based web series &quot;Kam Kardashian,&quot; which chronicles the day-to-day adventures of a fictional, long-lost lesbian sister of a very famous family.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Prior to her career in show business, Mirza went to law school and worked as a litigator in Chicago. <a href="http://fawziamirza.com" target="_blank">fawziamirza.com</a></p><p><b>Brian Keller</b></p><p>Keller is a visual artist, cinematographer and producer who received his BFA from Columbia College in 2001. Since then, he has produced for the cable network G4, created the comic book review franchise &quot;Fresh Ink,&quot; and worked on the original team of the critically acclaimed daily live series, &quot;Attack of the Show.&quot; Now, Keller is back in Chicago, directing on-air spots for Vimby and creating a wide array of innovative projects under the brand Brain Killer.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Keller was named &quot;Best Local Filmmaker&quot; by the Chicago Reader in their 2013 &quot;Best of Chicago&quot; issue. <a href="http://vimeo.com/briankellerreel" target="_blank">vimeo.com/brainkellerreel</a></p><p>Who are your favorite Chicago-based filmmakers?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/celebrating-chicagos-indie-filmmakers-108771 Film profiles interrupters of street violence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-01/film-profiles-interrupters-street-violence-89894 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-01/Interruptors.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Quelling violence on the streets is not just about guns; even petty arguments can push people over the edge. So, some local people, such as <a href="http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/" target="_blank">CeaseFire's</a> violence interruptors, insert themselves into the midst of altercations to prevent dangerous reactions. Filmmaker <a href="http://www.kartemquin.com/about/steve-james" target="_blank">Steve James</a> and writer <a href="http://www.alexkotlowitz.com/" target="_blank">Alex Kotlowitz</a> profiled three such persons in their new film <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/" target="_blank"><em>The Interrupters</em></a>. The film follows Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra at work.</p><p><em>The Interrupters</em> begins screening next week at the <a href="http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/interrupters" target="_blank">Gene Siskel Film Center,</a> and Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz will be at some of the screenings.</p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-28/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-works-youth-interrupt-violence-84343" target="_blank">spoke with interrupter Ameena Matthews</a> earlier this spring.</p><p><em>Music Button: Grace Jones, "This Is Dub", from the CD Hurricane, (Pias America)</em></p></p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-01/film-profiles-interrupters-street-violence-89894 Debut post: Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz talk 'The Interrupters,' and limes finally explained http://www.wbez.org/blog/2011-07-10/notes-debut-post-steve-james-and-alex-kotlowitz-talk-interrupters-and-limes-finally- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-11/thumb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hello! And thank you for checking out my debut post on WBEZ.org.</p><p>It’s an honor to be part of an organization that I’ve enjoyed for so long as a reader and listener, even that year they decided to broadcast a show every night about what was going on in Canada.</p><p>When site producer Justin Kaufmann asked me to be a blogger, my answer was a no-brainer: “Can I immediately post something positive about Springsteen after every time DeRogatis insults him?”</p><p>Honestly, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of WBEZ.org — though I was (and still am) intimidated by the lineup Justin had already built.</p><p>Along with DeRogatis (my all-time favorite writer about music, Springsteen notwithstanding), there was also Amy Krouse Rosenthal! And Lee Bey! And Achy Obejas! And Steve Dolinsky, before he quit because, rumor has it, the WBEZ lunchroom refused to put his headshot up in the window. ("The best vending machine in the city. Thanks for the Beech-Nut gum! — Steve")</p><p>So, I hope my blog measures up. I’ll be brief in my description of what this space will be about: For the last eight years or so, I’ve written a humor column, and for the last three I’ve hosted <em>The Interview Show</em>, a talk show at <a href="http://www.hideoutchicago.com">The Hideout</a>. This blog is a chance for me to bring those worlds together.</p><p>Today, let me start with something from <em>The Interview Show</em>.</p><p>We recently had <a href="http://www.kartemquin.com/about/steve-james">Steve James</a> and <a href="http://www.alexkotlowitz.com/">Alex Kotlowitz</a> on to talk about their new documentary, <em>The Interrupters</em>. It’s the story of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/">CeaseFire</a> —&nbsp;in particular, three people who work for the organization trying to mediate disputes, help individuals turn away from violence and, in general, be a support system for Chicagoans hoping to build more peaceful communities.</p><p>Steve (<em>Hoop Dreams</em>, <em>Stevie, At the Death House Door</em>) and Alex (<em>There Are No Children Here</em>, <em>Never a City So Real</em>) collaborating on a project has me as excited as, well, when my 6-year-old son found out there was a movie in which Batman and Superman team up. And they don’t disappoint. Steve and Alex, that is. <em>The Batman and Superman Movie&nbsp;</em>is kind of a dud.</p><p>Here’s our interview below. (The film opens its run at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Aug. 12. More info can be found <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com/">here</a>.)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3_Unc7tom1c" frameborder="0" height="314" width="503"></iframe></p><p><em>“Even though we may share many universalities and hopes and desires, I think one of the things that films can do, and books can do, is make people understand the extraordinary obstacles some people face in trying to realize those.” —&nbsp;Steve James</em></p><h3 style="color: red;">IN OTHER NEWS . . .</h3><p>I was at Whole Foods the other day because I like buying cookies and chips there and thinking they're healthy. Anyhow…do the folks at Whole Foods really think they need to include a description of what limes are?</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-11/Limes.jpg" title="" height="373" width="500"></p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 01:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/2011-07-10/notes-debut-post-steve-james-and-alex-kotlowitz-talk-interrupters-and-limes-finally- CeaseFire's Ameena Matthews stands on the other side of the violence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-29/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-stands-other-side-violence-84409 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-29/Ameena-and-Alison.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Monday, <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy sat down for part one of her conversation with Ameena Matthews. Matthews is a violence interrupter with the group <a href="http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/" target="_blank">CeaseFire</a>. Their work is the subject of <a href="http://www.kartemquin.com/films/the-interrupters" target="_blank"><em>The Interrupters</em></a>, the new documentary by Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz.<br /><br />In her early life, Matthews was involved in gang life, but now she stands on the other side-working to stop the violence.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s obvious that Matthews&rsquo; job is not your usual 9 to 5. The film captures scenes of fighting and escalating tension that offer a glimpse of what it&rsquo;s like to spend your day surrounded by violence. Alison Cuddy started the second part of her conversation with Matthews by asking what it takes to be in the midst of violence &ndash; day in and day out.</p><p><em>Music Button: Ocote Soul Sounds &amp; Adrian Quesada, &quot;Tres Ratas&quot;, from the CD Coconut Rock, (ESL)</em></p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 13:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-29/ceasefires-ameena-matthews-stands-other-side-violence-84409