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329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

September 13, 2013

8 FLAGS Restoration Premiere

Last night I was reminded of why we do what we do. Over forty people packed into a small Garfield Ridge Public Library meeting room to view and discuss the 1970 Chicago-made doc, 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS. The film, made by Chuck Olin & Joel Katz, provided a space for Garfield Ridge residents to express their opinions on the Vietnam War. To the filmmakers surprise, the interviewees’ responses were nuanced, thoughtful and almost unanimously anti-war.

The audience at last night’s screening consisted of past and present Garfield Ridge residents, or more specifically, interviewees from the film, Vietnam vets and family members connected to participants in the film. Using our tabletop Eiki, we projected the fresh 16mm restoration print (made possible thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation!) onto a screen sandwiched between colorful reading club displays. The entire film was shot within a 5 block radius of the library, adding special meaning to our little screening space (this was also the library’s first film screening ever!).

As the back-of-the-room projectionist last night, I had the pleasure of watching everyone’s reactions to the film. Audience members would start whispering and raising fingers whenever they recognized a familiar face on the screen. In a typical movie theater setting this type of behavior would annoy me, but here it just made sense and added a whole new dimension to my personal viewing experience (it also gave us much-needed clues as to “who knew who” for the post-screening discussion).

Like the film itself, the discussion following the screening provided a space for those in and connected with the film to simply talk and be listened to. Dialogue was lively and justifiably emotional. CFA colleague and friend, Andy Uhrich, moderated the discussion, while CFA friend, Alicia Healy, filmed it. In cased you missed it, a transfer of 8 FLAGS FOR 99 CENTS is now available for streaming on our Collections Portal and Youtube Channel. We also plan to edit footage from the post-screening discussion…and here’s a sneak peek. This excerpt features Paul Aubin, a former Garfield Ridge resident and interviewee in the film.

Many thank-yous to our accommodating hosts, the Garfield Ridge Public Library. And more thanks to the Southwest Chicago Post and our co-presenter Clear-Ridge Historical Society for their assistance in spreading the word about the screening.