LOADING DOC: Harold Washington, Skateboarders Crashing Adulthood and Life Lessons

LOADING DOC: Harold Washington, Skateboarders Crashing Adulthood and Life Lessons

Documentary director and editor Joe Winston (WHATS THE MATTER WITH KANSAS) recently appeared on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight to discuss his feature doc work in progress titled: PUNCH 9: HAROLD WASHINGTON FOR CHICAGO. Joe grew up in Hyde Park and attended high school a few blocks from where Washington lived while serving as mayor. Washington had always been a hero to Winston, but it was the recent backlash to the Obama presidency that inspired him to make the documentary. “When Obama was first elected there was a lot of talk of a post-racial America,” Winston says. “Are you kidding me?” he adds, “don’t you remember Harold Washington?” His new documentary has been awarded a prestigious Art Works grant by the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funding from the Baskin Family Foundation, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Catapult Film Fund, and Illinois Humanities Council. Winston has a diverse and experienced team behind the project including producers Raymond Lambert, Julie Englander and Sonya Jackson and Executive Producers Bob Hercules and Robin Robinson, former WFLD-TV news anchor. Watch Winston and Robinson on WTTW and learn about Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American Mayor who died suddenly at his desk on the fifth floor of City Hall on Thanksgiving, 1987.

MINDING THE GAP by director Bing Liu and producer Dian Quon, is a feature documentary evolving from the Diverse Voices In Documentary program at Kartemquin. A recipient of the Sundance Institute’s prestigious Documentary Fund grant, the film focuses on Liu and two close friends as they transition to manhood after long years spent skateboarding away from abusive families. Liu started filming the skateboard scene in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois as a young boy and has discovered disturbing intergenerational problems that his documentary is bringing to light. Liu recently received the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival’s Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant. Liu and Quon have also gained acceptance to the 2017 Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellows program. Ironically, when Liu applied to the KTQ program for emerging documentary makers of color he did not see himself as a potential character in the film he wanted to make. Documentary comes with some life lessons.

Doc Talk Show #9: Life Lessons is coming up this Thursday, November 30 (7pm – 9:30pm) at Uncommon Ground (3800 N. Clark St.). Click here to reserve your seats on Eventbrite. The free program offers a curated variety of filmmakers and their short non-fiction films. The line up includes work-in-progress by Bob Hercules (AB MIKVA: DEMOCRACY IS A VERB) and Cam Be (BUILDING HOPE) along with award-winning shorts: PRISON TERMINAL, Oscar-nominated documentary short by Edgar Barens; THE STREETS ARE OURS: TWO LIVES CROSS IN KARACHI by Michelle Fiordaliso (Director) and Fawzia Mirza and Nabeela Rasheed (producers), and TITA TURNS 100 by Elio Leturia, winner of Chicago’s Peter Lisagor Award for Best Short Documentary. Contact me if you would like to submit your short film or a work-in-progress demo-teaser under 10 minutes.

JEFF SPITZ is a Chicago-based Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Sundance Film Festival honoree and Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago. Jeff curates and hosts THE DOC TALK SHOW – a monthly non-fiction showcase with filmmakers, food and drink presented by Groundswell Films.