PBS Series Independent Lens Announces Agreement to Acquire Brett Morgen’s Chicago 10 From Participant Media and River Road Entertainment to Headline New Season

Film explores the buildup to and unraveling of the Chicago conspiracy trial after the 1968 Democratic Convention

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(San Francisco, CA)— The Emmy and Peabody Award–winning PBS series Independent Lens, announced today that it has reached an agreement with Participant Media and River Road Entertainment to acquire the U.S. television broadcast rights for CHICAGO 10 for the upcoming season. The film was theatrically released earlier this year by Roadside Attractions. 

“CHICAGO 10 is a perfect match for Independent Lens,” said series producer Lois Vossen. “Brett Morgen’s innovative film is part documentary, part historical drama, part animation and completely compelling—this film is aimed directly at the younger, more diverse audience that we continue to bring to PBS.” 

Written and directed by Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture), CHICAGO 10 presents contemporary history with a forced perspective, mixing bold and original animation with extraordinary archival footage and an explosive soundtrack that explores the buildup to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. With animated representations of all the key figures of the trial voiced by top independent film talent (Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, Dylan Baker, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Nick Nolte and the late Roy Scheider), CHICAGO 10 brings the events of 1968 to a new generation of audiences. 

“Some may believe that the events of 1968 are ancient history, but in this election year, with a hotly contested race and millions of young voters participating for the first time, this story has never been more relevant,” added Vossen. 

In addition to selecting the title for Independent Lens’s season premiere, ITVS is pulling out all the stops to support CHICAGO 10 with its groundbreaking screening program Community Cinema and its election-year civic engagement campaign Vote Democracy! Through these initiatives, ITVS and its partners will produce more than 60 community outreach screenings around the country during the month of September, leading up to the series launch. The community outreach screenings will include panel discussions and guest speakers and will provide a valuable context for understanding the film’s impact as well as an opportunity for audiences to participate in the conversation. 

“I’m thrilled that CHICAGO 10 will be airing on PBS,” said director Brett Morgen. “The opportunity to be a part of the Independent Lens series and all that it brings is truly fantastic.” 

The acquisition of CHICAGO 10 for the 2008–2009 season of Independent Lens builds on an already strong record of bringing acclaimed festival films and box office hits to PBS. 

ITVS plans to announce the rest of Independent Lens’s new season lineup at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles this July. 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 10 PM on PBS. Hosted this season by Terrence Howard, 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 a unique individual, community or moment in history. Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion websites, and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Further information about the series is available at pbs.org/independentlens. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), 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. 

About Participant Media Participant Media is the leading provider of entertainment that inspires and compels social change. It is a Los Angeles–based production company that focuses on socially relevant, commercially viable feature films and documentaries. Participant Media is headed by CEO Jim Berk and President Ricky Strauss and was founded in 2004 by philanthropist Jeff Skoll, who serves as Chairman. Participant’s 2008 releases include Brett Morgen’s CHICAGO 10, Tom McCarthy’s The Visitor, Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure, which was awarded the coveted Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, and Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker’s Pressure Cooker. Other recent films include Louise Hogarth’s Angels in the Dust, Jonathan Demme’s Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains, Ted Braun’s Darfur Now, Marc Forster’s The Kite Runner, Mike Nichols’s Charlie Wilson’s War, George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck, Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana, Niki Caro’s North Country and Davis Guggenheim’s Academy Award–winning An Inconvenient Truth, one of the highest-grossing documentaries in history. 

About River Road Entertainment In the past five years, River Road Entertainment has emerged as one of the leading independent production companies known for financing and developing unconventional films and documentaries that astonish, inspire, reveal and provoke. Breaking new ground as well as box office records with the Oscar-winning epic Brokeback Mountain, the company has produced an impressive slate of films, with additional promising works on the horizon. Earlier this year, River Road co-financed the Sundance Film Festival opener, CHICAGO 10, Brett Morgen’s documentary about the violent clash between activism and the establishment during the1968 Democratic Convention. The company’s other credits include Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr.; Jonas Åkerlund’s I’m Going to Tell You a Secret, featuring Madonna; and Robert Altman’s final film, A Prairie Home Companion. Formed by Bill Pohlad in 1987, the Minneapolis company initially made its name producing numerous commercial, corporate and documentary film and video projects. In 2001, Pohlad drew on his discerning taste to lead River Road Entertainment back into the feature film business, with a steadfast commitment to producing quality films. Although it still retains an office in the Twin Cities, River Road Entertainment is primarily based in Los Angeles. 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar, ITVS voleine_amilcar@itvs.org or 415-356-8383, ext., 244

Posted on May 12, 2008