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Q&A With: Award-winning filmmaker, Steve James, Zak Piper and Amara Enyia



In the five-part documentary series City So Real, Oscar®-nominated documentarian Steve James (“America to Me,” “Hoop Dreams”) delivers a fascinating and complex portrait of Chicago, America’s third-largest metropolis and his longtime hometown. The series begins in the haze of mid-summer 2018, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, embroiled in accusations of a cover-up related to the police shooting of an African American teenager, Laquan McDonald, shocks the city by announcing he won’t seek reelection. An unprecedented 21 candidates emerge in a diverse and crowded field as they engage in a no-holds-barred battle for a chance to shape Chicago’s uncertain future. The series’ final episode picks up a year after the mayoral election in 2020, as the city simultaneously grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread social upheaval following the death of George Floyd. An already fractured city is further divided by the economic, political and social fallout, which plays out on the streets as police clash with protesters, bringing rise to a generational moment that promises to change the city forever. In candid interviews with residents throughout the city, the series captures Chicago’s indomitable spirit as well as its seemingly insurmountable challenges. City So Real is a gritty and loving depiction of a quintessentially American city that is at once fiercely unique and a microcosm of the nation—and our world—as a whole.

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    60 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States of America
  • Premiere
    Colorado Premiere
  • Director
    Steve James
  • Producer
    Zak Piper, Steve James
  • Filmmaker
    Presented by National Geographic Documentary Films and Participant, Produced by Kartemquin Films