Good Pitch Chicago Announces 2013 Film Selections

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Good Pitch Chicago is proud to announce the winning documentary film selections for its inaugural event at the Chicago Cultural Center on October 22, 2013.

Good Pitch Chicago is proud to announce the winning documentary film selections for its inaugural event at the Chicago Cultural Center on October 22nd, 2013. Co-­‐produced by BRITDOC, the Sundance Institute, and a Chicago planning team (list of members attached), Good Pitch Chicago will give seven teams of documentary filmmakers the rare and valuable opportunity to conduct a seven-minute pitch to an invited audience of 300 potential funders and strategic partners.

Conceived in 2009 as a project by BRITDOC, based in the UK, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Good Pitch has already supported 200 filmmakers and created over 600 new partnerships through their events in New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, London, Toronto, and Johannesburg.

The Good Pitch Chicago films were selected from a pool of more than a hundred diverse submissions from around the globe. In keeping with Good Pitch’s mission, each film addresses a topic of social change. The subject matter of the seven films varies widely, ranging from the work of American nuns standing up to the paternalism of the Catholic Church to a portrait of two prostitutes-turned-activists on Chicago’s South Side.

“We were thrilled to receive over a hundred submissions from filmmakers all over the world,” said Planning Board member and filmmaker Danny Alpert. “Good Pitch presents an incredible opportunity for the selected films. We arrived at projects on a wide range of topics that balance bringing world class filmmakers to town and showcasing Chicago’s own strong documentary scene.” (Detailed descriptions of the films are attached.)

  •     Good Pitch Chicago’s 2013 Selections:
  •     Becoming Bulletproof (Dir. Michael Barnett)
  •     The Dreamcatchers (Dir. Lisa Stevens)
  •     The Homestretch (Dir. Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly)
  •     The Message: The (R)evolutionary Power of Climate Change (Dir. Avi Lewis)
  •     Private Violence (Dir. Cynthia Hill)
  •     Sister (Dir. Rebecca Parrish)
  •     Strong Island (Dir. Yance Ford)

Good Pitch Chicago will give the seven filmmaking teams the opportunity to connect with various national and Midwest philanthropists, foundations, social impact enterprises and nonprofit institutions. After the screenings, a moderator will open the floor for a feedback session, encouraging everyone in the room to ask questions, offer advice, and participate in a discussion about how to move the films’ impact forward.

Though the event occurs in just one packed day of pitches and breakout sessions, the impact is far-reaching, with the teams and attendees forging mutually-beneficial partnerships and strengthening the reach and impact of these documentaries.

The Good Pitch Chicago Lineup

Becoming Bulletproof (Dir. Michael Barnett)
Becoming Bulletproof is the story of what happens when a diverse group of people with disabilities leaves their ordinary lives to take on leading roles in a Western movie, shot on location in California. A one-of-a-kind film within a film, Becoming Bulletproof blends a riveting Western film epic with an equally entertaining behind-the-scenes documentary. The lead character is A.J., a 30-year-old African American man from Atlanta who has severe cerebral palsy. Over the course of filming, he learns about film acting, risk taking, and what he really wants in life. Becoming Bulletproof humanizes disabilities and challenges us all to envision a more inclusive and diverse world.

The Dreamcatchers (Dir. Lisa Stevens)
The latest film from acclaimed director Kim Longinotto (Rough Aunties, Sisters in Law, Divorce Iranian Style), The Dreamcatchers follows two ex-prostitutes, Brenda Myers-Powell and Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, as they work tirelessly to help young girls on the South Side of Chicago stand up to pimps who try to recruit them with promises of love and easy money. Featuring an in-depth look at the struggles and triumphs of Myers-Powell and Daniels-Wilson’s determined efforts to help young prostitutes through their Dreamcatcher Foundation, this film offers a completely new perspective on “the world’s oldest profession.”

The Homestretch (Dir. Anne de Mare, Kirsten Kelly)
Four homeless teenagers brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school, and life alone on the streets in The Homestretch. Against all odds, the young adults defy stereotypes and create new, surprising definitions of home in this tale of the extraordinary resiliency of young people struggling to grow up with no home or adult support. Offering an in-depth look at the daily details of growing up homeless and bearing witness to inspiring journeys of hope, The Homestretch challenges viewers to rethink their assumptions about homeless youth.

The Message: The (R)evolutionary Power of Climate Change (Dir. Avi Lewis)
The world doesn’t need another climate film; it needs another kind of climate film. Based on ideas drawn from Naomi Klein’s forthcoming non-fiction book, The Message will illustrate how climate change offers us a chance to solve the ecological and economic crises simultaneously, averting ecological chaos by changing an economic model that’s already in need of serious transformation. The Message offers a hopeful and transformative vision, combining an exploration of big ideas with inspiring front-­‐line stories from communities around the world that are fighting climate change by reclaiming their economies. This film offers a provocative thesis that will change how we take on the climate crisis.

Private Violence (Dir. Cynthia Hill)
Private Violence illuminates a disturbing fact of American life: The most dangerous place for women in America is in their own homes. Every day in the U.S., at least four women are murdered by abusive partners or ex-partners, and the reflexive response to victims is: "Why don't you just leave?" Private Violence follows the story of two survivors: Deanna Walters, who seeks justice for the violence committed against her by her ex-husband; and Kit Gruelle, an advocate through whom we meet other survivors from a cross-section of society. The film depicts the journey of these two women, who escaped their abusers only to face systems that fail, judge, marginalize, and blame them for the violence to which they have been subjected.

Sister (Dir. Rebecca Parrish)
When a Vatican investigation threatens their social justice work, three American nuns confront the institution that they’ve served for their whole lives. From the halls of Congress to Saint Peter’s Square, Sister follows sisters Simone Campbell, Jean Hughes, and Chris Schenk in their tireless quest for justice, during which they become unintentional participants in a culture war that permeates the heart of the Catholic Church and American politics.

Strong Island (Dir. Yance Ford)
Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island is a personal investigation into the violent death of the filmmaker's brother over 20 years ago, and how the collision of silence, fear, and the judiciary allowed his killer to go free.

About Good Pitch Chicago

Born out of the conviction that documentaries are powerful tools for creating social change, Good Pitch Chicago offers a unique opportunity to create coalitions and campaigns around established independent documentary film projects by allowing filmmakers to pitch their films to a select group of potential outreach partners, philanthropists, nonprofits, policy makers, media, and brands. By facilitating these interactions, Good Pitch Chicago will provide the filmmakers an opportunity to build partnerships around creative funding strategies, cause marketing, policy change, issues advocacy, and public engagement, ultimately enabling the films’ powerful stories to have an impact beyond the screening room — in our communities, city, and world.

The Chicago Planning Board includes Steve Cohen, a Chicago lawyer, documentary funder and member of Impact Partners Film Services; Justine Nagan, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films; Danny Alpert, CEO of Kindling Group; Paula Froehle, documentary filmmaker and Dean at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy; John Murray, documentary filmmaker and Associate Dean at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy; and Erin Sorenson of Third Stage Consulting. For more information about the films or to learn how to participate, please visit or contact Carla Broxton at carla(at)goodpitchchicago(dot)com.

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