Midwest Film Festival hosts the Midwest Premiere of Code of the Freaks

Code of the Freaks
(Riva Lehrer, photo courtesy of Code of the Freaks production)

Midwest Film Festival‘s (MFF) June First Tuesdays event will feature Salome Chasnoff‘s Code of the Freaks. This documentary challenges the realism of Hollywood’s portrayals of disabled people throughout decades of western filmmaking.

On June 7th we hope you will join us for an important conversation and examination. The feature film will be accompanied by the short, Beyond Disability: The Fe Fe Stories, plus a special tribute to writer-producer Susan Nussbaum.

The event will begin at 7:00 pm for a social hour, following an 8:00 pm screening and Q&A with members of the production team.

Excerpt of Director’s Statement: We wanted to make a movie that would give viewers tools to better understand what they’re watching. We called upon disabled artists, writers, scholars and activists to confront the dilemma of the disabled body onscreen, and present real-life alternatives to the stock characters and tired plots that exoticize, idealize, ridicule or demonize disabled characters.

Movies have the power to shape the beliefs and behaviors of non-disabled people toward people with disabilities, and of disabled people toward themselves. Movies build astonishing fictional worlds where they hold us captive on two-hour journeys, worming their way into our psyches. They shape our expectations in ways we’re not always aware of – especially in cases where the films provide our only references for unfamiliar experiences. We love movies and it’s a powerful love that can be mesmerizing. 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 centers the voices of under-recognized or misrepresented communities. Her work has shown across the US and internationally in film festivals, galleries, and museums including National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC; Theaster Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank, 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 the Illinois Humanities Council Towner Award. She was the founder and director of the celebrated 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.


ALSO READ: FACETS: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Memoria, and Happening


Code of Freaks

All activities will convene on Tuesday, June 7th at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois.) American Sign Language and Open Captions will be available.

Start Time, 7:00pm:
Attendees are invited to network with their fellow filmmakers and peers during the first hour of this event. Vendor/sponsor tables with merchandise from the Midwest Film Festival will be present and available to all guests.

Screening + Q&A, 8:00pm:
The screening starts at 8:00 pm. Afterwards, guests will be able to enjoy an interactive filmmaker Q&A and speak to the film’s creative crew 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 at the Gene Siskel Film Center website.

Midwest Film Festival Executive Director, Erica Duffy states, “We’re 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 we love so much.”

Director of Programming of the Gene Siskel Film Center, Rebecca Fons states “We’re proud to be a partner on the First Tuesday presentation of Code of the Freaks. Salome Chasnoff has been a vital voice in documentary filmmaking for many years, and her film presents a powerful and radical perspective on the representation of disability in film.”


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