1/28/21: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: “The End of the Nightstick”

Jan 28: Join Media Burn and the original filmmakers for a screening of The End of the Nightstick, a 1993 film documenting police brutality in Chicago.

On January 28th, Media Burn and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago hosted a screening and discussion of The End of the Nightstick (1993). Produced by the Community TV Network, the film exposed the systemic torture and false imprisonment of hundreds of Black men under Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. Filmmakers Peter Kuttner, Cyndi Moran, and Eric Scholl were joined in conversation by Maggie Sivit from the University of Chicago. Check out the full film on YouTube, as the event only screened an abbreviated version.

Replay of the screening/discussion

America’s eyes were opened to police brutality when officers of the L.A.P.D. were videotaped viciously beating Rodney King. But for 20 years in Chicago, the press and authorities turned deaf ears to allegations of brutal interrogations and torture by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. Was this simply an aberration or an extreme example of a system wide policy of racist abuse?

As victims speak out, The End of the Nightstick investigates charges of institutional racism, violence and cover-up. It also tells the story of a resistance movement, as local activist groups, including the Task Force to Confront Police Violence, refuse to let testimonies of police violence remain buried.

An image of protesters, taken from 1993’s The End of the Nightstick.

“A disturbing exploration of institutionalized racism. It makes one wonder how much we would have heard of Rodney King if a video camera had not been there to capture his beating.” — People Magazine

Peter Kuttner has worked in mainstream and alternative media in Chicago for over 50 years. He started as a stagehand at WTTW in 1965, organized Chicago Newsreel, part of a national radical filmmaking collective, in 1968, and joined Kartemquin Films in 1972. A longtime union member, Kuttner worked from 1975 to 2015 as a technician on major motion pictures — many shot in Chicago. Currently, he is the Special Projects Director and Archivist at CTVN — the Community Television Network — Chicago’s longest-running youth media organization. He also works with the Workers Rights Board of Jobs with Justice, South Side Projections and the [In]Justice for All Film Festival.

Cyndi Moran teaches a variety of media production and cinema studies courses at Northeastern Illinois University.. Her documentary work has been seen on the PBS series P.O.V., and in numerous national and international festivals. She has produced TV segments for WTTW and The Sundance Channel, and she has edited independent documentary productions, television shows, commercials, and programs for artists and not-for-profits.

Eric Scholl is an associate professor in the Cinema and Television Arts Department at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches documentary, production, directing, and television studies courses. He is an independent documentary maker whose work has been seen on local and national television, and in festivals internationally. He received his MFA in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University in 1990.

Maggie Sivit is a fourth-year PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on visual evidence. Previously, she reported on the criminal legal system and police accountability for City Bureau and NPR member stations.

Community TV Network (CTVN) is a non-profit company devoted to empowering youth with the resources and education they need to make digital media! Our network of artists, teachers, and alumni has been promoting the visions and voices of Chicago’s students for over 45 years.



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