Chicago Film Society screens classic 16 & 35mm films

THE CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY, which changed its name from the Northwest Film Society, starts a new season of 15 vintage films Wednesday, Jan. 11, with the 1947 thriller “Nightmare Alley,” at the Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University, one of the series’ screening venues, along with the Music Box Theatre, the Logan Center for the Arts and the University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center.

The new name reflects the nonprofit’s desire to reach a wider audience, says Kyle Westphal, who founded CFS with projectionists and programmers Julian Antos and Becca Hall, of the late Bank of America Cinema.

The Society introduces audiences to rare and classic films in their original 35mm and 16mm film formats. Films are obtained through arrangements with studio vaults, such as Sony Pictures Repertory, film archives and private collections.

Included in the new season are rare films like Frank Capra’s half-talkie, half-silent 1929 drama feature “The Younger Generation.”

CFS showcases a deeper catalog of films not typically revived, says Westphal. “It’s important to remind people that as much as we talk about film being obsolete, there’s a body of work that will not be accessible if we give up on film.”

See the entire screening schedule here

A TV PARTY HOSTED BY SINEMA OBSCURA popup theatre kicks off its 2017 season Monday, Jan. 9 with the screening of a dozen new short films, including Marc Wikinson’s 28-minute comedy pilot, “Autumn Bluffs,” at the Township Restaurant & Bar in Logan Square.

“Autumn Bluffs” is the story of four precocious teens coming of age in a quiet autumnal town, dealing with raging hormones, the upcoming Homecoming dance, and a sudden infestation of mummies.

Produced by Wilkerson’s Chicago-based Suburban Skies Pictures, it shot in November, 2015 in Ottawa, Ill. and editing was completed a year later.

At 2200 N. California, starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Before each screening, the films’ directors will introduce themselves and their work.

MAYA ANGELOU AND STILL I RISE,” the first feature documentary about poet, memorist and activist Maya Angelou, produced by Media Process Group, starts a Jan. 13 week-long run at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Directed by MPG’s Bob Hercules and producer Rita Coburn Whack, the production started in 2011 and took five years to complete.

The directors made three trips to Winston-Salem, N.C. for “three very lengthy interviews” with Angelou before she died in 2014, says Hercules. Over the course of almost three years, they interviewed a slew of friends and family such as Hillary and Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common and Lou Gossett, Jr.

Audiences will be surprised to learn about Angelou’s early years, when she was a singer, actress, dancer and activist, says Hercules. “She’s the only person who worked for both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.”

At 164 N. State St. Click here for the complete schedule.

THE CHICAGO PREMIERE of of Seth McClellan’s award-winning feature documentary, “Little Wound’s Warriors: Voices from the Badlands,” screens Jan. 21, also at the Siskel Film Center.

Set at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, the doc delves into the challenges of extreme poverty, unemployment, and alcoholism. A 2015 suicide epidemic resulted in the deaths of 11 kids, mostly girls as young as 12 from Little Wound High School.

Producer / director McClellan conducted 30 interviews, primarily with kids from Little Wound, in January, 2016. “The inspirational thing I heard from so many students is a reconnection to their Lakota language and traditions,” says McClellan.

“Little Wound’s Warriors” was co-produced by Mark Hetzel, shot by McClellan on a Sony NX Cam FS700 and edited by him. Mikayla Mitzel was consultant. They will attend the screening for Q&A.