IDFA to honor Steve James

Dutch festival IDFA will this year honor American filmmaker Steve James (pictured), screening a retrospective of his work as well as his 10 favorite docs, which include Barbara Kopple's Fallen Champ and Robert Epstein's The Times of Harvey Milk.
September 24, 2011

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) will this year honor American filmmaker Steve James (pictured), screening a retrospective of his work as well as his 10 favorite documentaries, which include Barbara Kopple’s Fallen Champ and Robert Epstein’s The Times of Harvey Milk.

The festival, which takes place in Holland from November 16-27, will host the Dutch premiere of the filmmaker’s latest effort, The Interrupters, as well as past efforts including Hoop Dreams, At the Death House Door, No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson and Stevie, the latter of which won the IDFA award for Best Feature-Length Documentary in 2002.

James will attend the fest and will also present his ‘documentary top 10,’ which consists of Michael Apted’s 28 Up, Chris Smith’s American Movie, Barbara Kopple’s Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson, Jerry Blumenthal¬†and Gordon Quinn’s Golub: Late Works Are the Catastrophes, the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens, Chris Marker’s Le Joli Mai, Peter Kubelka’s Our Trip to Africa, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s The Staircase, Robert Epstein’s The Times of Harvey Milk and Marlon Riggs’s Tongues Untied.

In a statement, the festival said: “Steve James’ work often deals with people on the margins of American society, trying to realize their dreams in the face of an often intractable reality. His style is characterized by his great social and personal commitment to his characters, whom he often follows for long periods of time.”

The news comes as Kartemquin Films, the Chicago-based production collective at which James is a producer, this autumn celebrates its 45th anniversary with a range of events across North America.

Among the highlights are retrospectives at the Milwaukee Film Festival; the University of Chicago’s Doc Films; Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox cinema; and the Virginia Film Festival, in addition to an ongoing monthly showcase on Chicago’s WTTW11 PBS station.

Kartemquin titles A Good Man and Hoop Dreams will both screen as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s retrospective, along with a preview of forthcoming 2012 Kartemquin release American Arab. The indie will also host panels on social engagement at the festival, which runs from September 22 to October 2.

From October 2, the University of Chicago’s Doc Films will screen 19 Kartemquin films from across every decade of the indie’s history as part of a 10-week retrospective, taking place on Sunday nights; while in Canada, Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox will run a retrospective from October 3-9, playing James’s The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams and Stevie.

Finally, The Virginia Film Festival retrospective, entitled ‘Then and Now, 45 Years of Kartemquin Films,’ will run November 3-6, with Kartemquin artistic director and A Good Man co-director Gordon Quinn attending the festival to discuss the making of his latest film.


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Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.