The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
October 23, 27-29
In an era when documentary exhibition swerves towards the safe, The Burning Fuse Film Festival shows up with six remarkable documentaries that avoid neither controversy nor entertaining their audience. These movies represent decidedly unexpected views of the world, each revealing an unseen corner of the planet with passion and humor. The Facets Cinémathèque is proud to present these outstanding films that represent the spark of new ideas.
FAUBOURG TREMÉ: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS
Golden Gate Award San Francisco Intl Film Fest
"Charming yet hard-hitting" -Village Voice
"Stirring" -Chicago Reader
Lolis Eric Elie, a New Orleans newspaperman, takes us on a tour of the city – his city – in what becomes a reflection on the relevance of history folded into a love letter to the storied New Orleans neighborhood, Faubourg Tremé. Arguably the oldest black neighborhood in America and the birthplace of jazz, Faubourg Tremé was home to the largest community of free black people in the Deep South during slavery and a hotbed of political ferment. During this time, black and white, free and enslaved, rich and poor cohabitated, collaborated, and clashed to create America's first Civil Rights movement and a unique American culture. Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans is a riveting tale of heartbreak, hope, resiliency and haunting historic parallels. While the Tremé district was damaged when the levees broke, this is not another Katrina documentary. Long before the flood, two native New Orleanians - one black, one white - writer Lolis Eric Elie and filmmaker Dawn Logsdon, began documenting the rich living culture of this historic district. Miraculously, their tapes survived the disaster unscathed and this film is a powerful testament to why New Orleans matters, and why this most un-American of American cities must be saved.
Directed by Dawn Logsdon and Lolis Eric Elie, U.S.A, 2008, 68 mins.
Sliding Liberia follows four young surfers as they travel through the war-torn West African nation of Liberia in search of perfect waves - a journey that soon becomes a quest for understanding. The surfers record the stories of Liberians they meet along the way, people such as Alfred, who became Liberia's first surfer after finding a surfboard while fleeing from rebels. Juxtaposing war-torn urban landscapes with images of tropical paradise, the film explores the tension that exists inside every traveler - a desire to connect with new people and places, and an instinct to insulate oneself from the harsh realities of the surroundings. At first overwhelmed, the surfers ultimately reconcile the simple pleasure of surfing with the violent history and daily challenges faced by the Liberian people.
Directed by Britton Caillouette and Nicholai Lidow, Liberia/U.S.A., 2008, 48 mins.
Heather Veitch is a stripper, sex addict, alcoholic, and a soft-core porn star, who finds religion, marries her boyfriend, trains herself to be a hair stylist, and starts going to church. At first, the suburban congregation at her new church does not accept her, but after she teaches some of the wives how to strip for their husbands, Heather finds herself in demand. When she receives news that an old friend from her stripper days has died of alcoholism, guilt and grief inspires Heather with an idea. If she could start a small ministry at her church to reach out to women in the sex industry, maybe she could save some lives. Her passionate personality persuades the young pastor of her church and a few of the churchwomen to join her. Heather's all-female organization, JC's Girls, goes out to strip clubs and hires strippers for lap dances, but instead of getting a dance, they use their time to talk to the strippers about God. They do not judge the strippers, but just lets them know hat JC's Girls will be there if the dancer ever decides she would like to go to church and check it out. Surprisingly, the sex industry greets JC's Girls with open arms, but at the church, the announcement of this "loving little ministry" encounters hostility. Heather refuses to back down, leading to a Sunday showdown.
Tues., Oct. 27 at 7 pm
Thurs., Oct. 29 at 9 pm
A SNOWMOBILE FOR GEORGE
A Snowmobile for George is a rambunctious road trip that collects the stories of fishermen, cowboys and firemen who have had to face the consequences of environmental deregulation by the Bush Administration. Started by a question about the filmmaker's own used two-stroke snowmobile engine, this trip steadily reveals the political strategy and rationale behind a massive sell-off of public resources. A Snowmobile for George begins modestly as a one-man, one-machine road film that simply asks why rules to clean up a smoky off-road machine got shelved. With no presumption of guilt or blame, filmmaker Todd Darling tows his family snowmobile across the United States and persists in asking that question. The film's humble point of departure gives little hint as to its ultimate destination. What starts off as a personal quest gradually morphs as this journey takes the viewer to the sites of more serious environmental change. The common thread among these stories is deregulation - the notion that common citizens benefit when "the government gets off their back." But the film uncovers how the Bush Administration worked efficiently to match up the goals of select industries with the political demands of the White House at the expense of the average American citizen.
Tues., Oct. 27 at 8:30 pm
Thurs., Oct. 29 at 7 pm
SOLDIERS OF CONSCIENCE
Soldiers of Conscience is a dramatic window on the dilemma of individual U.S. soldiers in the current Iraq War - when their finger is on the trigger and another human being is in their gun-sight. Made with cooperation from the U.S. Army and narrated by Peter Coyote, the film profiles eight American soldiers, including four who decide not to kill, and become conscientious objectors; and four who believe in their duty to kill if necessary. The film reveals all of them wrestling with the morality of killing in war, not as a philosophical problem, but as soldiers experience it - a split-second decision in combat that can never be forgotten or undone. All soldiers interviewed are treated respectfully and speak eloquently about their decisions, but those who choose conscientious objector status - and suffer the consequences - offer an authentic and inspiring example of what it will take to someday achieve a world without war.
Directed by Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan, U.S.A., 2008, 86 mins.
MURDER, SPIES AND VOTING LIES: THE CLINT CURTIS STORY
Best Documentary New Jersey Intl Film Fest
Clint Curtis was an everyday computer programmer in Florida until he was asked by a powerful Republican legislator to create vote-rigging software for electronic voting machines. For the first time, Patty Sharaf's terrifying documentary, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, recounts the full, remarkable tale. Join journalist/blogger Brad Friedman, as he investigates Curtis's hair-raising claims, uncovering a seamy side of American democracy that mainstream media fails to report. Also featuring: Gore Vidal, Bob Fitrakis, Cynthia McKinney, Harry Hursti, Mavis Georgalis and a host of others. Directed by Patty Sharaf, U.S.A., 2008, 68 mins.