‘No Small Matter’ back by popular demand

'No Small Matter'

‘No Small Matter’

doc about
childhood education
returns to the
Gene Siskel
Film Center
September 6

Following up on its sold-out June premiere, the acclaimed early childhood education documentary No Small Matter returns to Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center for an encore week of screenings beginning Friday, September 6. The film’s encore run coincides with the start of the new school year, and comes just the city embarks on a major push to recruit new teachers for universal pre-K.

No Small Matter confronts America’s most pressing problems with an unlikely but powerful weapon: babies and young children. From home to childcare to preschool, high-quality early care and education has far-reaching impacts, and groundbreaking science to back it up. With a healthy dose of humor (including a cameo from Cookie Monster) and a surprising edge, No Small Matter reveals the tragic cost of getting this wrong, and the huge payoff—for our kids, our families, and our country—of getting it right.



In June, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois rallied around the film and the importance of making progress on early education. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot officially declared the film’s premiere date — June 20th — No Small Matter Day in the city, highlighting her commitment to implementing universal pre-k and recruiting 1500 new early educators to the field.

Governor J.B. Pritzker introduced the film that evening at the Gene Siskel Film Center, stating: “I want Illinois to lead the nation in early childhood education and child care and I won’t stop until we get there.”

“Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have found the time to act as film critics and they give an enthusiastic version of the noted Siskel-and-Ebert thumbs up to an important movie titled No Small Matter,” wrote The Chicago Tribune.

No Small Matter’s premiere kicked off a series of screenings at theaters and organizations across the state, aimed at building public will to support high quality early education for all children in Illinois.


Behind the scenes
The first feature-length documentary to tackle the issue of early education in America, No Small Matter is a unique collaboration between two of Chicago’s leading documentary production companies, Kindling Group (Radical Grace, @Home) and Siskel/Jacobs Productions (Louder Than a Bomb, 102 Minutes That Changed America).

Co-directed by Danny Alpert, Greg Jacobs, and Jon Siskel, it was produced over the course of four years, and is accompanied by a creative and far-reaching impact campaign. The film has now screened more than 350 times around the country, helping energize and accelerate early childhood education advocacy nationally in the run-up to a presidential campaign where the issue is certain to be featured more prominently than at any time in American history.

No Small Matter is a movie for anyone who has, knows, or was a child,” said Greg Jacobs, the film’s writer and co-director. “It’s not just for parents, and not just about kids. It’s about what our country does—and doesn’t do—to support families with young children. And that, it turns out, affects everyone.”

Among the stories included in the film is that of a Chicago-area preschool class, whose extraordinary teachers work their everyday magic while trying to make ends meet in one of the lowest-paid professions in America. One of those teachers, Logan Square-based Rachel Giannini, has since become a leading advocate for early childhood educators nationwide.

No Small Matter intends to mobilize Illinois citizens to take action by encouraging them to learn more, host a screening, and join the conversation.

The film’s encore run begins Friday, September 6th at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. in Chicago, and continues through Thursday, September 12th.

About No Small Matter
No Small Matter is the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated and powerful force for change in America today: early childhood education. The film has screened for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, has helped move legislation supporting early learning from Alabama to Vermont to Washington, and has reached more than 60,000 Americans at grassroots events nationwide. For more information, click here.

Send your indie updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.