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Chicago United Film Festival

Franchised indie fest featuring 18 films, including documentaries on Chicago hip-hop, Chicago's Providence St. Mell high school, and Jaws



The first local run of this franchised independent fest ("Different films. Different cities. Same mission") features 18 films screening at the Music Box (3733 N. Southport), most Chicago or world premieres. Among the Chicago-centric fare: Geoff Harkness's I Am Hip Hop: The Chicago Hip Hop Documentary (2008), which draws on 130 interviews and more than 500 videotaped concerts and features performers including Yea Big, Kid Static, and Verbal Kent (Sun 9/20, 8:30 PM); and The Providence Effect, which profiles Chicago private school Providence St. Mel and Paul J. Adams III, the principal who in the 70s fought the Archidiocese of Chicago to take over the west-side school that has since sent every one of its predominantly African-American students to college (Sun 9/20, 6 PM). The festival's kickoff Friday (9/18) culminates at midnight with the 1975 classic Jaws, to preface weekend showings of Eric Hollander's The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws (2006). Narrated by Roy Scheider, it includes interviews with principals like Steven Spielberg and Richard Dreyfuss and filmmakers influenced by the movie, among them M. Night Shyamalan and Kevin Smith (Sat 9/19, 9:30 PM and midnight; Sun 9/20, 1 PM). For a complete schedule see

Related Film


Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Howard Sackler, John Milius and Robert Shaw

Producer: David Brown and Richard Zanuck

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer and Susan Backlinie

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