Brett Morgen’s Chicago 10 to Premiere on Emmy Award-Winning PBS Series Independent Lens as Season Opener

Film explores the buildup to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trail after the 1968 Democratic Convention

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(San Francisco, CA)—The year was 1968. A war in a foreign land was tearing people apart, and the president’s approval rating was at an all-time low. The country was divided. Many felt America was lost, without a moral compass. And young Americans took to the streets to change the world. During the 40th anniversary of this pivotal year in world history, Independent Lens is pleased to announce that CHICAGO 10 will have its broadcast premiere on Wednesday, October 29, at 9pm as the season opener of the Emmy® and Peabody Award–winning PBS series, hosted by Terrence Howard. 

Combining bold original animation with extraordinary archival footage, Brett Morgen’s revolutionary CHICAGO 10 explores the buildup to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, where history played out as both tragedy and farce. Visceral and emotional, the film brings viewers inside the courtroom to experience firsthand the riveting drama, legal wrangling and raucous political theater. During the infamous 1968 Democratic national convention, antiwar protesters—denied permits to march and blocked from the political process—fought for their right to be heard. Arrayed against them were the formidable forces of Mayor Richard Daley’s political machine, backed up by billy clubs and the stinging fog of tear gas. Bloody riots splashed nightly on live television as Americans stared at their screens in disbelief. Eight of the most vocal activists were charged and brought to trial in a courtroom circus that pitted activism against the establishment. 

CHICAGO 10’s characters are the stuff of legend: Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, the eighth defendant, who insisted on representing himself and ended up bound and gagged by an exasperated Judge Julius Hoffman; defense attorney William Kuntsler; SDS defendant Tom Hayden; and Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, who served as court jesters. 

Vividly bringing the players to life are the vocal talents of Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, James Urbaniak, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Nick Nolte and Roy Scheider, among others. Although many know the defendants as the Chicago Seven, Jerry Rubin once said: “Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. You need to call us the Chicago Eight. But really, you should call us the Chicago 10, since our lawyers were each given contempt sentences.” Capturing the idealism, rage and tumult of an era, CHICAGO 10 uses artistry and creative vision to shatter the constraints of the historical documentary and fashion something completely new. 

About the Filmmaker 
Brett Morgen (Director/Writer/Producer) is an Academy Award–nominated producer and director. His credits include the Robert Evans biopic The Kid Stays in the Picture and the critically acclaimed boxing documentary On the Ropes. The Kid Stays in the Picture premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was released nationwide in the summer of 2002 by Focus Features and was named one of the 10 best films of 2002 by more than 50 film critics in the United States. CHICAGO 10 was named Best Documentary of 2002 by the International Press Academy (the Golden Satellite Award), the Boston Film Critics and the Seattle Film Critics and was named runner-up in that category by the National Society of Film Critics. 

On the Ropes premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Award. Later that year, the film was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Feature Documentary), a Directors Guild Award, an Independent Spirit Award and the 2000 International Documentary Association Award (Best Feature Length Documentary). The film won the Directors Guild Award and the International Documentary Association Award, making Morgen one of the youngest recipients to win both of these awards. In 2003, Morgen began directing commercials for Anonymous Content. His first campaign, “Nimrods” for ESPN, became a cult sensation and is the inspiration for his latest television project, Nimrod Nation, an eight-part documentary series that premiered on the Sundance Channel. In addition to the ESPN campaign, Morgen has directed award-winning campaigns for such brands as Budweiser, Southwest Airlines, Kellogg’s and Nike. 

CHICAGO 10 was produced by Brett Morgen and Graydon Carter. The executive producers were Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Peter Schlessel, William Pohlad, Laura Bickford and Ricky Strauss. 

About Independent Lens 
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award–winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities and moments in history. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen. Further information about the series is available at 

About ITVS 
Independent Television Service funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing television audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. For more Information about ITVS, visit 


Voleine Amilcar, ITVS, 415-356-8383 x 244,
Mary Lugo, 770-623-8190,
Cara White, 843-881-1480,

Posted on August 22, 2008