Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres

January 5 - February 1

The Gene Siskel Film Center celebrates the art of the documentary, presenting the Chicago debuts of eight new documentary releases. Twelve different producing nations are represented in films offering perspectives from Chicago to Alaska, and from Israel and Japan to Mexico and Qatar.

The series opens and closes with films by Chicago directors. Director Karen Weinberg will be present for opening week screenings of KEEP TALKING, produced by Chicago’s own internationally renowned Kartemquin Films, and exploring the transformation of a Native American community when women take the initiative to preserve their ancient language. Director Jack C. Newell will be present for discussion of our closing film 42 GRAMS, following the inside story of a critically acclaimed but short-lived Chicago restaurant.

Real-life stories set in the arts world are front and center. BOBBI JENE follows the American former star of Israel’s avant-garde Batsheva Dance Company as she returns home to rethink her career amid personal challenges. BEUYS is a portrait of artist-philosopher Joseph Beuys, including a trove of never before seen material, while SHADOWMAN profiles the rocky career trajectory of Manhattan street artist Richard Hambleton, whose late-life embrace by the art elite proves a mixed blessing.

A struggle for marriage equality in Mexico is woven into a heartwarming and often humorous tale in NO DRESS CODE REQUIRED, while the esoteric leisure activities of oil-rich sheiks are seen in the elegantly dreamy THE CHALLENGE. Check back often for guest appearance updates.

— Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming