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OUT OF THE VAULT 2011 — Family Firsts: 3 Tales of Immigration

Tuesday, May 24 ,  6:30PM-9PM

78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Admissions: Free (Donations always welcome!)

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. They are well-defined, rich in both ethnic and cultural heritage, and struggling for their own piece of the greater Chicago puzzle. This film program tells the stories of three first-generation families finding their place within the City of the Big Shoulders.

After the screening a panel discussion led by Fred Tsao (Policy Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights), Virginia Martinez (former Policy Analyst at the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund) and Ngoan Le (from the Chicago Community Trust) will be held. Filmmakers Susan Stechnij (MI RAZA) and John Sanner (DO FAMILY) will also take part in the panel.

Film program curated by Anne Wells. Panel organized by Nancy Watrous.

MI RAZA: PORTRAIT OF A FAMILY (From the Paul Hockings Collection), Susan Stechnij, 1972, B&W, Sound, 16mm. preservation print, 30 minutes

Mi Raza is a documentary film about a working class Mexican-American family living in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago during the early 1970s. Three generations of the Navarro family respond differently to the pressures of assimilation and acculturation, dealing with the stresses of maintaining their cultural heritage in the face of the dominant Anglo society. Along with the charged relations with the outside world, the film captures the personal details of the Navarro family life, bringing an extraordinary intimacy to the film. This screening will be the premier of a new 16mm preservation print, which was made possible by the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF). Previously the only remaining print of the film suffered form a technical problem in which the sound and image were out of sync. The grant provided by the NFPF allowed for the creation of a new print and video copy, restoring the film and making this piece of living history available again for the first time in over 30 years.

KALI NIKTA, SOCRATES (GOOD NIGHT, SOCRATES) (From the Chicago Public Library Collection), Stuart Hagmann & Maria Moraites, 1962, B&W, Sound, 16mm., 34 minutes

Kali Nikta, Socrates is a story-documentary film about the destruction of a small Greek community in Chicago to make way for urban renewal. As the film was being shot, the neighborhood was being razed to make space for the Kennedy Expressway and the new campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. It captures the real-life destruction of buildings and culture as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy of Greek descent. Northwestern University theatre students Stuart Hagmann and Maria Moraites made the film with a grant from the North Shore Film Society. It went on to win the Golden Lion, or first prize, at the 1962 Venice International Film Festival. Apparently Jean Renoir “liked the film very much,” while John Houseman found the narration “egregious.” We’ll let you judge for yourself!

THE DO FAMILY: NEW AMERICANS FOR THE ’80s (From the John Sanner Collection), John Sanner, 1980, Color, Sound, Super 8mm (projected in video), 17 minutes

The Do Family is an amateur documentary film shot on Super 8mm about the arrival of a Chinese-Vietnamese family to Deerfield, Illinois, by way of a refugee camp in Hong Kong. The Zion Lutheran Church of Deerfield sponsored the family’s arrival. The filmmaker John Sanner was a member of this church, as well as a member of the local amateur film club Metro Movie Club during its later years (approximately 1972-1987). Margaret Conneely, amateur filmmaker and CFA collection namesake, was also part of this club during its early formative years. John informed CFA that he shot this particular film more as a family history for the Do family, rather than a Metro Movie Club or Amateur Cinema League production. John and his wife are currently members of the South Side Cinema and Video Club, and have been lifelong friends of the Do family ever since their 1980 O’Hare arrival. The entire Do family currently lives in and around the Los Angeles area and is honored to share this personal portrait with a CFA audience.

Many thanks to Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway (of Brodsky & Treadway) for donating the transfer of this Super 8mm sound film to CFA!


78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Admissions:Free (Donations always welcome!)