Accolade-winning “Ali” doc opens here Nov. 8-14

The audience’s emotional response and outbursts of applause to the recent sneak preview of Kartemquin’s The Trials of Muhammad Ali” should serve as an indicator of the reception the feature-length doc can expect when it officially opens multiple Chicago theatres Nov. 8.

A second preview at the DuSable Museum Oct. 29 will include  a panel discussion with the doc director, Oscar-nominated Bill Siegel (“The Weather Underground”) and Ali contemporaries Salim Muwakkil and Dr. Carol Adams, before the week-long engagement begins here.

“Trials” has opened in major cities in and won his praise, such as The Nation’s review, saying it’s “the best Muhammad Ali documentary ever made.”

“Trials” covers the explosive crossroads of Ali’s life. When Cassius Clay becomes Muhammad Ali, converts to Islam and refuses to serve in Vietnam, he is banned from boxing and faces a 5-year prison sentence.

Ali’s choice of conscience over fame and fortune resonates far beyond the boxing ring, striking issues of race, faith and identity that continue to confront us all today.

The Supreme Court eventually overturned rulings made by lower courts and restored Ali’s title.

Kartemquin’s Gordon Quinn and Justine Nagan was executive producer and Kartemquin-affiliate Rachel Pikelny produced.  She is co-producer on two docs currently in postproduction. Editor was Aaron Wickenden, currently completing production on his doc; Joshua Abrams completed the soundtrack.

The filmmakers on Oct. 4 attended the premiere in Louisville, the champion’s home town, at the Muhammad Ali Center, with members of the Ali family present.

The film has the full blessing of the family, with Ali giving his approval to an early rough cut at a personal screening late in 2012.

The DuSable screening is free and open to all. RSVP:

Other Chicago playdates, Nov. 8-14, at the Music Box Theatre, Bill Siegel attending opening night, and ICE Lawndale, with additional theatres TBA.