WTTW honors Black History Month and 50th Anniversary of Kartemquin with broadcast of The Trials of Muhammad Ali at 10pm on February 25th


WTTW, Chicago’s premier public television station, will broadcast The Trials of Muhammad Ali at 10pm on Thursday, February 25th as part of a year-long series honoring the 50th anniversary of not-for-profit Chicago documentary collective Kartemquin Films.

Winner of Outstanding Historical – Long Form award at the 36th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards in September 2015, The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers Ali’s toughest bout: detailing how the boxing legend fought a potential five year prison sentence for refusing military service in Vietnam, risking his fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience.

Directed by Bill Siegel, the film premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival before gaining widespread critical acclaim upon its theatrical release and original PBS broadcast on Independent Lens.

WTTW’s monthly Kartemquin series will feature films from each decade of their history, including the classic Hoop Dreams (1994), which will air in June 2016, to coincide with a Kartemquin “Milestones” gala celebration at the Harris Theater on June 24, and an exhibition of Kartemquin’s archival materials running May-August at Expo 72 gallery.

On March 12 at 2pm at the Chicago Cultural Center, WTTW, in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Kartemquin Films presents a FREE screening and discussion celebrating 50 years of Kartemquin Films. The event will consist of a screening of three classic 1974 documentaries: Now We Live on Clifton, Winnie Wright, Age 11, and Viva La Causa, which probe issues of gentrification, race, youth, and poverty in Chicago neighborhoods. The original subjects from the film and members of the Kartemquin 1970s filmmaking collective will attend.

Other films in the WTTW monthly broadcast series include Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes(2004), a searing portrait of controversial political painter Leon Golub, airing in April; the devastatingPrisoner of Her Past (2009), in which Chicago Tribune journalist Howard Reich investigates a secret childhood trauma resurfacing, sixty years later, to unravel the life of his Holocaust survivor mother, airing in May; and the broadcast premiere of the award-winning Almost There (2015), about two filmmakers’ complicated relationship with a reclusive outsider artist, airing in July.

Kartemquin 50th Anniversary WTTW broadcast schedule

  • January 21, 10pm – The Homestretch (2014)

  • February 25, 10pm – The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013)

  • March 24, 9pm – Now We Live on Clifton (1974) and Winnie Wright, Age 11 (1974), plus free screening March 12, 2pm at Chicago Cultural Center with filmmakers & subjects, and plus The Homestretch live screening (details TBA).

  • April 21, 10pm – Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes (2004)

  • May – Prisoner of Her Past (2009)

  • June – Hoop Dreams (1994)

  • July – Almost There (2014)

  • August – The Chicago Maternity Center Story (1976)

  • September – The Last Pullman Car (1983)

  • October – TBA

  • November – Vietnam, Long Time Coming (1998)

  • December – TBA

Other highlights of Kartemquin’s 50th anniversary year include several retrospectives and screenings in Chicago and nationwide; an art exhibition; workshops, panels, and master classes; and online streaming of the organization’s entire catalog of award-winning documentaries via http://watch.kartemquin.com. The full calendar, which will be updated throughout the year as new events and partners are added, is available at www.kartemquin.com/KTQ50. Join the conversation on Twitter at @Kartemquin or by using#KTQ50.

The centerpiece event will be a public gala titled “Milestones” to be held at Chicago’s Harris Theater onFriday, June 24th 2016. The event will reunite filmmakers, subjects, and prominent partners, fans, and alumni from across Kartemquin’s five decades for a celebration of the significant moments they have shared in creating over 55 different films since their founding in 1966. Chaz Ebert, President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and Publisher of RogerEbert.com, will serve as the honorary chair of the evening, which will be preceded by a dinner reception at the Chicago Cultural Center.

About Kartemquin Films

Kartemquin is a collaborative center for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society. In 2016, Kartemquin will celebrate 50 years of sparking democracy through documentary.

Best known for producing Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters among over 50 other documentaries that examine and critique society through the lives of ordinary people, Kartemquin’s most recent films include Steve James’ Life Itself; Usama Alshaibi’s American Arab; Bill Siegel’s The Trials of Muhammad Ali; Aaron Wickenden and Dan Rybicky’s Almost There; Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare’s The Homestretch; Joanna Rudnick’s On Beauty; Maria Finitzo’s In the Game; Brent Huffman’s Saving Mes Aynak; and Hard Earned, a duPont Award-winning six-hour series made for Al Jazeera America.

A revered resource on issues of ethics and storytelling, Kartemquin is internationally recognized for crafting quality documentaries backed by comprehensive audience engagement, and for its innovative programs and advocacy designed to elevate the documentary community. The organization has won every major critical and journalistic prize, including multiple Emmy, Peabody, duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and an Oscar nomination.

Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago. www.kartemquin.com

About WTTW

WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW Vme, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on wttw.com. Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!,and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming to 2 million weekly viewers across a four state area. Visitors to wttw.com can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites dedicated to WTTW and PBS series and specials. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.