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Out of the Vault 2008 – Year of Confrontation

Friday, May 16, 2008 ,  7PM

The Chicago Cultural Center - Claudia Cassidy Theater
78 East Washington
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Admissions: Free (All donations welcome!)

Out Of The Vault – Year Of Confrontation revisits the turbulent week in August 1968 when the Democratic National Convention turned Chicago into the frontlines of a larger political and social conflict. The world had already experienced the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the May uprisings in Paris, the brutal quelling of the Prague Spring and intensifying bloodshed in Viet Nam. Occurring under the watchful cameras of the news media, the protests and riots in Chicago shocked the nation and further polarized the opposing forces of authority and protest.

Chicago Film Archives is honored to present the premiere exhibition of three newly preserved prints from the Film Groups’ Urban Crisis series. Many thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation and Colorlab for supporting the preservation of these films.

The Right To Dissent: A Press Conference
The Film Group, 1969, 16mm preservation print, sound, b/w, 9 minutes
This film examines the struggle between citizens’ right to express their political views and the limits regulated by the City of Chicago. As the right to dissent collides with the suppression of political expression to preserve order, the violence that erupts becomes inescapable.

Social Confrontation: The Battle Of Michigan Avenue
The Film Group, 1969, 16mm preservation print, sound, b/w, 11 minutes
On Wednesday afternoon the legal gathering of demonstrators at Grant Park turns into an unruly scene of teargas and swinging nightsticks when a line of police officers charge the crowd. Social Confrontation further captures the hostile clashes in front of the Conrad Hilton and the ensuing war of words on the Convention floor.

Law And Order Vs. Dissent
The Film Group, 1969, 16mm preservation print, sound, b/w, 11 minutes
At a press conference on Thursday, August 29th a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department attempts to influence the media coverage of the previous night’s violence. Incorporating interviews with Mayor Daley and various representatives of the police, this film closely examines methods of propaganda and political spin.

The DVD of What Trees Do They Plant is mastered from an original broadcast tape shown in 1968, and therefore has a lower image quality from the preserved films from the Urban Crisis series.

What Trees Do They Plant?
Henry Ushijima Productions for the City of Chicago, 1968, 60 minutes, DVD from original broadcast 2” tape
In response to a perceived imbalance of the media’s coverage, the City of Chicago hired Henry Usijima, an industrial filmmaker in Park Ridge, to make this film for television distribution in a hurried 5 days. Barely two weeks after the end of the convention the program screened on 140 stations across the nation. Appealing to the moderate middle of the road viewer shocked by the images of the convention, it focuses on the violent intentions of the protestors and ties them to international communist forces through interviews with police officers harmed in the disturbances, news footage intended to indict protesters with their own words, and secret police surveillance films.

Special Guests: Bill Cottle, producer of the Urban Crisis series, Ruth Ratney, writer of What Trees Do They Plant? and artist/filmmaker/reporter Franklin McMahon will be present for discussion after the films.

Audio presentation from the Franklin McMahon Collection.

For more information, please call (773) 478-3799

The Chicago Cultural Center - Claudia Cassidy Theater
78 East Washington
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Admissions:Free (All donations welcome!)