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Friday, January 19, 2007

CHICAGO 10 AT SUNDANCE

Minneapolis based production company headed by Bill Pohlad, River Road Entertainment, lands in Park City Utah for the annual Sundance Film Festival touting its new film CHICAGO 10. Producers Pohald and Laura Bickford have backed this unique treatment in film of the historical Chicago uprising by writer/director Brett Morgen.

The Chicago 7 trial was a crowning moment of the 1960s anti-war movement, when after the riots in the streets of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, a group of eight went on trial before Judge Julius Hoffman represented by William Kunstler. The two men to emerge from the trial Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin became the Yippie counter-cultural icons of the era.

Morgen explained the originally charged Chicago 8 are joined by two lawyers as defendents in the trial because of the frequency in which they were held for "contempt of court" amounting to years of sentences of their counrtroom antics even though they were never charged in the original counts.

Morgen previous art house success THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE also appealed to a young smart hipster group that might be the audience target of this look back at their counterparts of 40 years ago. The film uses motion-capture rotoscope animation and archival photographs to recreate courtroom antics with voice characterization of Abbie Hoffman (Hank Azaria) and Jerry Rubin (Mark Ruffulo). While Morgen was born in 1968, he does not dwell to heavily on a labored account of history and seeks parallels between the Vietnam era and our war time culture of today.

As Morgen focuses most of his attention on Hoffman and Rubin, the most theatrical of the original eight defendents, he runs the risk of missing the more interesting stories posed in thsi drama by equally infamous defendents Tom Hayden, Bobbie Seale, Rennie Davis and David Dellinger.

The documentary film opened the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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