Stranger Than Fiction:

Documentary Premieres

January 2 – February 3

From January 2 though February 3, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres, our annual January showcase for the new, adventurous, and/or literally stranger than fiction in the documentary world.

A film critic goes in search of the real-life models for the comic book teens who were his childhood idols in ARCHIE’S BETTY, while the tragic tale of the lounge singer whose star-crossed career was burdened by his vocal twinship with Elvis unreels in ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. The filmmaker who became known as “the father of African cinema” is profiled with truthfulness and affection in SEMBENE!, and the innovations and rivalries of the maverick artists who created a movement are detailed in TROUBLEMAKERS: THE STORY OF LAND ART.

Chicago filmmaker Holly De Ruyter appears in person with her delightfully nostalgic road movie documentary OLD-FASHIONED: THE STORY OF THE WISCONSIN SUPPER CLUB. Former Chicagoan Annika Iltis and co-director Tim Kane appear with THE BARKLEY MARATHONS: THE RACE THAT EATS ITS YOUNG, their festival-favorite chronicle of the world’s most eccentric marathon. Another former Chicagoan, director Holly Morris, appears with THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL, a moving account of the grandmothers who tempt fate by refusing to move from the Ukraine’s radiation-poisoned “Dead Zone.”

British standup comic Russell Brand is seen employing Michael Moore-like tactics as a firebrand crusader for income equality in Michael Winterbottom’s THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES. WESTERN explores the threatened friendship of two bicultural towns facing each other across the Rio Grande. ALL THINGS MUST PASS: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOWER RECORDS is sure to resonate with anyone who remembers the fabled music mecca fondly.

Be sure to check back for updates on personal appearances.

– Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming, Gene Siskel Film Center