DAY SEVEN: Podtalk with Neal Sáles Griffin, for ‘City So Real’ at 56th Chicago International Film Fest

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CHICAGO – One of the most influential documentary makers in film history is Chicagoan Steve James of Kartemquin Films. His lens has commented upon not only the seminal “Hoop Dreams” (1994), but “Stevie” (2002), “The Interrupters” (2011), the Roger Ebert bio doc “Life Itself” (2014) and the recent “America to Me.” His latest, debuting at the 56th Chicago International Film Festival (and October 29th on the National Geographic Channel), is “City So Real,” a searing inside look at the 2018 Chicago mayoral campaign. One of the subjects of that doc was the young and dynamic outlier candidate Neal Sáles Griffin, who talked issues within the film with

Bound to become a defining miniseries (in five parts) on the continuing mystery that is the City of Chicago, director Steve James and Chicago’s Kartemquin Films explores the 2018-19 mayoral campaign during the upheaval of Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to seek another term. Exploring the nuance of the candidates involved – including eventual winner Lori Lightfoot – James puts his perceptive eye on not only the personalities, but the ongoing issues that define this strange and magical City on the Lake (click here).

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival Celebrates DAY SEVEN of the movie extravaganza, with films available for 2020 virtually and online. Click here for a complete how-to guide on navigating the 2020 CIFF.

City So Neal: Neal Sáles Griffin in ’City So Real,’ directed by Steve James
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

Neal Sáles Griffin was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. He is an entrepreneur, focusing on apps and other businesses. Currently he is the Managing Director of Techstars Chicago, an annual mentorship program that allows entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies to participate in a forum that teaches them how to improve and execute their business ideas.

In Part ONE of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of, Neal Sáles Griffin talks about running for mayor of Chicago and his interaction with “City So Real”

In Part TWO, Sáles-Griffin reflects on law enforcement and people of color in Chicago, as well as the difficulties and joy of running for mayor.

APPEARANCES OF THE DAY: 11:00am: “Coffee Talk: ‘Dreams from the Diaspora: Black Perspectives” … Livestream panel discussion with three black directors. 2:00pm: “’Til Kingdom Come” … Livestream Q&A with director Maya Zinshtein, producer Able Troen and activist Yael Eckstein. Suggested streaming start time, 12:25pm. 4:00pm: “Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds” … Appointment Screening, available TODAY (Oct. 20) from 4pm, with a 6-hour viewing window 7:00pm: Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer … Livestream Q&A for “Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds. Suggested streaming start time, 5:10pm. 9:00pm: “The Special” … Livestream Q&A with director Ignacio Márquez. Suggested Streaming Start Time, 7:15pm.

FILM OF THE DAY: “Kubrick by Kubrick” – Stanley Kubrick (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Shining”) remains one of the most audacious and misunderstood directors in film history, mostly because of his perceived reclusiveness. Through an amazing cache of interview tapes from film scholar Michel Ciment, Kubrick himself goes over his career, and illuminates many of the thought processes and filmmaker methods that have thrilled and challenged audiences for three generations. Director Monro has created a visual symphony to go along with Kubrick’s own words, in a remarkable 75 minute package. (click here).

“City So Real” is available to stream at the Festival (click here). Directed by Steve James. Director Steve James, producer Zak Piper and film subject Neal Sáles Griffin will appear in a live Q&A on October 23th at 2pm. The 56th Chicago International Film Festival takes place through October 25th, 2020. Click here for digital film schedules and ticket information. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald,

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