Local documentarians promote social change
Kartemquin Films has some big plans for 2013.
Director Steve James helmed both of these projects, and won a Director’s Guild of America Award for his work on Hoop Dreams. James’ next film in development with Kartemquin is Life Itself, based on Roger Ebert's memoir of the same name. Generation Food, a documentary about the innovative efforts and obstacles to fixing the global food crisis, is scheduled for 2014.
While Kartemquin is the documentary film giant in Chicago, other local filmmakers also deserve praise for their raw talent and tireless dedication to social change.
During Chicago Ideas Week last October, video journalist Jigar Mehta introduced the idea of "Crowdsourced Documentary Filmmaking" as the means for creating his latest project 18 Days in Egypt.
He and interaction designer Yasmin Elayet enabled participants to chronicle the Egyptian Revolution through their own voices: uploading real-life footage, tweets and Facebook status updates. This collaborative method not only inspires filmmakers to work together en tandem, but also encourages audiences to take a more active role in collectively re-examining their connections to the world and to each other.
For those wishing to get more involved in our city's thriving documentary film scene, Chicago Filmmakers is a great place to start. This 37-year-old media arts organization holds workshops, screenings and seminars to foster our ever-growing independent film community, and sponsors networking events for like-minded cinephiles as well.
The next filmmaker meet up is tonight from 7 to 9 p.m., with director Dinesh Sabu discussing his first feature-length documentary Unbroken Glass. If you want to learn more about the industry, connect with other filmmakers or find inspiration for your own work-in-progress, opportunities like this one should not be missed.
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