(Riva Lehrer, photo courtesy of Code of the Freaks production)
The Midwest Film Festival (MFF) first Tuesdays in June event will feature Salome Chasnoffit is Monster Code. This documentary challenges the realism of Hollywood’s portrayals of people with disabilities throughout decades of western cinema.
On June 7, we hope you’ll join us for an important conversation and review. The feature film will be accompanied by the short film, Beyond disability: the stories of Fe Feplus a special tribute to the writer-producer Susan Nussbaum.
The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. for a social hour, following an 8:00 p.m. screening and Q&A with members of the production team.
Excerpt from the director’s statement: We wanted to make a film that would give viewers tools to better understand what they are watching. We called on artists, writers, scholars and activists with disabilities to confront the dilemma of the disabled body on screen and present real-life alternatives to common characters and tired storylines that exoticize, idealize, ridicule or demonize disabled characters. .
Films have the power to shape the beliefs and behaviors of able-bodied people towards disabled people, and of disabled people towards themselves. The movies build amazing fictional worlds where they hold us captive on two-hour journeys, weaving their way into our psyches. They shape our expectations in ways we’re not always aware of – especially in cases where movies provide our only references for unknown experiences. We love movies and it’s a powerful love that can be fascinating. But the consequences can be toxic.
Salome Chasnoff (Director, Producer) is a Chicago-based filmmaker and installation artist who maintains a collaborative social practice and exhibition career that focuses the voices of under-recognized or under-represented communities. Her work has been shown in the United States and abroad at film festivals, galleries, and museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC; Stony Island Arts Bank of Theaster Gates, Chicago; Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco; Creative Time’s Democracy in America; Chicago Humanities Festival; Superfest Best of the Fest, Berkeley CA; Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival; Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival; and the United Nations. Awards include Purpose Prize Fellow, Women’s eNews Ida B Wells Bravery in Journalism Award and 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award and Illinois Humanities Council Towner Award. She was the founder and director of the renowned community media organization, Beyondmedia Education, and a founding member of the PO Box Collective, a multi-generational social practice center.
Chasnoff teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also directs the BFA in Art Education program.
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All activities will take place on Tuesday, June 7 at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois.) American Sign Language and Open Captions will be available.
Start time, 7:00 p.m.:
Attendees are invited to network with fellow filmmakers and peers during the first hour of this event. Vendor/sponsor tables with Midwest Film Festival merchandise will be present and available to all guests.
Screening + Q&A, 8:00 p.m.:
The screening starts at 8:00 p.m. Afterwards, guests can enjoy an interactive Q&A with the filmmaker and talk to the film’s creative team present at the event.
Tickets are $15 for general admission, $7 for Gene Siskel Film Center members. Tickets are available at https://www.midwestfilm.com/get-tickets and on the Gene Siskel Film Center website.
Midwest Film Festival Executive Director Erica Duffy said, “We are honored to be able to host an event and screening that can lend itself to such an important topic regarding the representation of a marginalized community within an industry that we love so much.
Programming Director of the Gene Siskel Film Center, Rebecca Fons declares “We are proud to be a partner of the presentation of the first Tuesday of Monster Code. Salome Chasnoff has been a key voice in documentary filmmaking for many years, and his film presents a powerful and radical perspective on the portrayal of disability in film.
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