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Urban Documentaries and Social Change: Where Are We?

Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 6–7 pm

How do we socially understand urban media and how has the contemporary political landscape impacted documentary filmmaking? This program is organized by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The first panel features Gordon Quinn and Allan Siegel, moderated by Mark Shiel. A second panel features Michelle Citron and Steve James, moderated by B. Ruby Rich. A final roundtable discussion, with all panelists and moderators, is moderated by Brendan Kredell.

Michelle Citron is the chair of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department at Columbia College Chicago and an award-winning media artist whose many works include Daughter Rite (1978), What You Take for Granted (1983), and Queer Feast (2012). She is also the author of Home Movies and Other Necessary Fictions (Minnesota, 1999).

Brendan Kredell is an instructor in the Film Studies program at the University of Calgary, whose research focuses on cities and cinema in the post-industrial era. He is currently co-editing, with Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist, Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice (Routledge, forthcoming).

Steve James is an award-winning filmmaker whose first film, Hoop Dreams (1994), received the Peabody Award for distinguished public service and was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. More recently, his documentary The Interrupters (2011, co-produced with Alex Kotlowitz) received the Best Documentary prize at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. James has been selected to direct a film about the life of Ebert, one of his earliest champions. The film will be executive produced by Martin Scorsese and will be James’s seventh produced with Kartemquin Films.

Gordon Quinn is Artistic Director and founder of Kartemquin Films, a 2007 recipient of the MacArthur award for Creative and Effective Institutions. His 45-year career in documentaries includes such films as Home for Life, The Chicago Maternity Center Story, The Last Pullman Car, and Golub. Quinn has served on several boards including The Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Access Network Television, The Public Square Advisory Committee, and The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He was a lead documentarian in petitioning the copyright office for an exemption to the DMCA, and in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use and frequently speaks to the media, legal, and educational communities about this fundamental right.

B. Ruby Rich is a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz and a recipient of the Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (2006). She has published widely in the popular, alternative, and scholarly press, and is the author of Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement (Duke University Press, 1998) and New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut (Duke University Press, 2013).

Mark Shiel is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. He is the author of Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles (2012) and Italian Neorealism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City (2006) as well as coeditor of Screening the City (2003) and Cinema and City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context (2001). He is currently editing and writing for a collection of essays entitled Architectures of Revolt: The Cinematic City circa 1968 (Temple University Press, forthcoming).

Allan Siegel was born in Brooklyn and is a film and video maker, visual media artist, writer and teacher. In 1968 he was one of the founding members of the documentary film collective Newsreel and later a co-director of Third World Newsreel. His films have been presented at major festivals throughout the world. He taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a visiting artist at Northwestern University, University of Illinois (Chicago) and Hunter College (CUNY). He also worked on the video installations for the Mies in America exhibitions at the Whitney in New York, MCA Chicago, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Siegel has lived in Budapest since 2001, where he teaches at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and has exhibited in Hungary, England, Russia, and Germany.