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  • Back By Popular Demand: Erwin Helfer and Mama Yancey Screening at Old Town School of Folk Music

    Back By Popular Demand: Erwin Helfer and Mama Yancey Screening at Old Town School of Folk Music

    After a sold out event in January, Media Burn presents a second showing of archival video featuring legendary pianist Erwin Helfer and the late blues singer Estelle “Mama” Yancey on Saturday, April 27, as part of a celebratory evening of live gospel and blues music at Old Town School of Folk Music in Ravenswood.  In 1982, future Chicago Blues Festival Coordinator Barry Dolins filmed an intimate performance and conversation between Erwin Helfer and an 86 year-old Mama Yancey at the … Continue reading

  • Telling the People’s History From the Cutting Room Floor

    Telling the People’s History From the Cutting Room Floor

    We strongly believe that camera original documentary footage (or “outtakes”) is the most significant untapped historical resource available today. It offers viewers the chance for an in-depth first person experience of past people, places, and events, as well as the potential to craft new stories. In a unique collaboration between Media Burn, Skidmore College, and documentary filmmakers Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller, students were given the opportunity to be the first to review and use the 85 hours of source footage shot for the 2004 feature … Continue reading

  • Don’t Miss Our Documentary: WE ARE COLUMBINE

    Don’t Miss Our Documentary: WE ARE COLUMBINE

    Laura Farber’s powerful film, WE ARE COLUMBINE is finally available for pre-order on iTunes. Her (and my) work on it began 17 years ago when she was a student of mine in a Columbia College documentary class. She was a freshman at Columbine High School in 1999 when the shootings happened. The film focuses on four of her classmates who reenact and reflect on that insane day 20 years ago, then reveal the drama and stories of their lives since. They are fascinating … Continue reading

  • Jane Byrne and Harold Washington: Two ‘Firsts’ for Chicago

    Jane Byrne and Harold Washington: Two ‘Firsts’ for Chicago

    Lori Lightfoot’s election as Chicago’s mayor marks the first time that a black woman, and openly gay person, has held the position in Chicago’s history. In honor of this historic event, look back at two of the city’s mayoral firsts: Jane Byrne, Chicago’s first female mayor, and Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor. Jane Byrne Not only was Byrne the first female mayor of Chicago, but she was also the first female mayor of a major city. Before becoming mayor, she served as … Continue reading

  • We Have Runoff Elections Because of the 1983 Mayoral Race

    We Have Runoff Elections Because of the 1983 Mayoral Race

    Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle are posed to make Chicago history as one of them will become Chicago’s second elected African American mayor, second woman mayor, and first African American woman mayor. The two candidates will face off in a runoff election on April 2. If Lightfoot wins, she will also be Chicago’s first openly gay mayor. In 1983, reluctant outsider candidate Harold Washington achieved the impossible when he defeated incumbent mayor Jane Byrne in the Democratic primary, a victory … Continue reading

  • Announcing the filmmakers selected for Media Burn’s Russia-US project

    Announcing the filmmakers selected for Media Burn’s Russia-US project

    In December, we announced our project, Countering Fake News in Russia and the US, funded by your contributions and a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. This project will bring together a group of four Russian and American filmmakers, each creating an approximately 15 minute-long found-footage film which will then be assembled into an anthology film. The film will be screened in Chicago and St. Petersburg this summer. The project is a statement about the power of archives to safeguard truth in an era … Continue reading

  • “Radicalized By A Video Archive” By Andrew Seeder

    “Radicalized By A Video Archive” By Andrew Seeder

    I was radicalized by watching hundreds of hours of camera original video tape at the Media Burn Independent Video Archive. Like any true convert, I believe that watching Media Burn’s tapes changed my life and think that watching their tapes can change your life, too. When I first came to Media Burn, I thought that being well-informed meant reading as many high quality news outlets as I could. Yet as I watched more unedited documentary video, I realized that, informative … Continue reading

  • Screening: Historic Social Justice Videos

    Screening: Historic Social Justice Videos

    Premiere screenings with Q&ASaturday Feb 23 and Sun Feb 24 NANCY BUCHANAN, whose breakthrough videos on art and politics are recognized worldwide, will be screening two Chicago premieres on February 23 at 7pm at Uri-Eichen Gallery and Feb 24 at 2pm at the National Public Housing Museum. The videos are from the Message to the Grassroots TV series, produced by Michael Zinzun (1949-2006), a former Black Panther, tireless community organizer, and architect of the 1992 Watts gang truce. Nancy Buchanan, a Los Angeles artist who uses … Continue reading