MIDWEST IS BEST!
They call it the Windy City and, sure enough, there was a whole lot of good in the air at Good Pitch Chicago two weeks ago. If you were there then you too will have felt the winds of change as 250+ filmmakers, philanthropists, non-profits, community organizers, educators and advocates converged around seven amazing new doc film projects.
Good Pitch, fresh from events in Taipei and Buenos Aires, was brought to Chicago by Team BRITDOC in London and New York, and our partners on the ground in the Midwest.
The day was characterized by both a generosity of spirit and of checkbook: Chaz Ebert – cultural leader and widow of celebrated film critic Roger Ebert – set the tone at the audience mic for film after film, offering her own support and exhorting the audience to get involved.
Other pledges included USD25k to the outreach campaign for Homestretch by the Chicago Community Trust; Jeffrey Pechter pledged USD10k towards the production of The Message which was followed by a PUMA Catalyst Award of Euros5k from BRITDOC; POV delivered important news that Private Violence was recommended for national broadcast, ensuring it would be seen by millions; and ten people came up to the mic for Strong Island with grants totaling USD25k. ITVS and The Richard Driehaus Foundation both committed funding (USD13k and USD5k) to The Dreamcatchers; and Jeffrey Pechter, EP of Becoming Bulletproof committed a further USD75k on top of the time and financial support he had already made; Kat White of KatLei Productions offered 10% of the finishing funds needed for SISTER and a USD15k challenge grant from the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention was reached by the end of the day for Private Violence.
And then there was the real money shot: Danny Glover embracing Sister Jean – star of feminist doc Sister – exclaiming with a kiss, “You are one of my heroes.” Sister Jean’s response? “You should get out more”. Classic.
The men and women featured in the films truly were the heroes of the day (Roque, Sister Jean, Brenda, Kit and AJ), delivering highly personal stories of overcoming adversity whilst keeping the discussions grounded by the reality they all face; the fight for their basic rights: health, safety, a place to call home, freedom to practice faith, freedom from violence, and access to justice.