Film News: 2021 Chicago Doc10 Opens June 17 with ‘Summer of Soul’

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CHICAGO –The City of Chicago’s influence as a Film Town is one of its greatest strengths. Doc10, a ten documentary film fest mostly at the Northside’s Davis Theater, opens Thursday, June 17th, 2021. For information on the line-up and tickets, click here.

The opening film will be at the ChiTown drive-in, and will be the Sundance Festival sensation “The Summer of Soul” (capsule review below). Click on any title, either in the capsules or in this paragraph, for ticket and description information. The line up includes ”In the Same Breath”, ”Ailey”, ”My Name is Pauli Murray”, ”Pray Away”, ”Sabaya” and the CLOSING NIGHT film, ”Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain”.

Summer of Soul
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The Doc10 Film Festival launched in 2016 to bring premieres of ten highly curated documentary films to Chicago in a neighborhood setting, as an extension of the work of Chicago Media Project (CMP). CMP’s goal is to bring Chicago cinematically powerful non-fiction films to illustrate the power of great storytelling in media to entertain, ignite, inspire and activate audiences.


Click the title for Doc information and screening status … Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

”Summer of Soul” – Truly a miracle of a film, and the Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. Documentary at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Subtitled “(… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the director is Ahmir Khalib “Questlove” Thompson (of “The Roots” band), who put together footage from the 52 year old (1969) Harlem Cultural Festival, AKA the “Black Woodstock,” which hasn’t seen the light of screen since it was filmed. He essentially combined these amazing musical acts – including 19-year-old Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, The Fifth Dimension, young Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Staple Singers – with reminisces from the artists and attendees. This is an important document of the transition between Dr. King and the Black Empowerment the evolved from that era. A must see for music fans, history buffs, black sociologists and everyone else. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

”Dear Mr. Brody” – Some phenomenons fly under the radar in our information obsessed world. Way back in January of 1970, a lone hippie kept the world enthralled with a vision. 21-year-old Michael Brody was the heir to a food fortune, and announced to the world that he was going to give away that fortune to anyone that needed it. In the space of ten days, he appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” got a music deal and was deluged by over a 100,000 letters and solicitations. This multi-layered film expounds upon the “15 minutes of fame,” greed, desperation and sanity-in-celebrity. Besides being a “lost story” of the flower power era, this is definitely a screen analysis that reflects right back to us. Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

”All These Sons” – Filmmaker Bing Liu – who was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar for his debut “Minding the Gap, – co-directs with Joshua Altman in this exceptional overview of Chicago organizations that are working in the toughest “shooting gallery” neighborhoods to mitigate the root causes of the anger and depression (both economic and physical) that ignites the violence. The emotional depth that was evident in Liu’s first film is in place here, as one of the counselors is Billy Moore, who in 1984 perpetuated one of the most notorious shootings in Chicago history. The connective thread from there to here, plus the emphasis on the lack of nurturing love and mental balance, pushes this documentary into important territory. Hopefully influential people will be watching. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

”Users” – An extraordinary piece of cinema art by director Natalia Almada. Basically a treatise on how technology has changed our world, our water and our perceptions, Almada paints a portrait of today through her young son, the various tech screen lights and (interestingly) the thin underwater cables that keep this connection. There are many thrilling images that are highly emotional, and this needs to be experienced on the Big Screen. Natalie Almada won the Best Directing Award at Sundance for this film. “We are stardustWe are golden/We are billion year old carbon/And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

Here is Questlove accepting the Sundance Audience Award for “Summer of Soul” …

The 2021 Doc10 fest opens with “Summer of Soul” on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 (8:30p), at the ChiTown Drive-In, 2343 S Throop Street, Chicago, and takes place through June 20th. The Davis Theater is located at 4614 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. For tickets, events schedule and all information click on senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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