Kartemquin’s doc sells out for Jan. 29 premiere

It goes without saying that Kartemquin docs always attract an enthusiastic audience, but it is a rarity when one of them sells out two weeks in advance of the screening date.

“Typeface” did just that — largely to graphic designers and the online font community — for its Jan. 29 Chicago premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Kartemquin’s executive director Justine Nagan began production of the hourlong doc about four years, when she was visiting Two Rivers, Wisconsin and casually took a tour of the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, which blew her away.

The museum, home to 1.5 million pieces of wood type, is operated by the Two Rivers Historical Society. It is built around the artisanship of Hamilton Manufacturing that began producing wood type in 1880 and within 20 years became the largest provider in the U.S.

Nagan follows a group of young Chicago graphic art students, who formed The Post Family design studio, and highlights how the young generation looks at — and is fascinated by — the way modern design meets traditional technique.

The production team of Nagan and freelance DP Thomas Bailey, who shot 46 hours of footage using DV Cam with DSR 500, shot at Columbia College’s letter press classes.

At the Hamilton Museum, they captured the volume of the collection, which Nagan describes as “physically breathtaking, inspiring,” and interviewed the museum founder, director, staff, and frequent artisans.

“I really hope people connect with the characters that are in the film. I hope they feel inspired to support institutions and organizations that mean a lot to them — old people, old ways of doing things. If we don’t work to preserve them, they will all disappear,” Nagan said.

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