Gene Siskel Film Center to premiere critically acclaimed documentaries American Promise, November 22-27 and Lenny Cooke, November 29 – December 5

Filmmaker appearances scheduled for both movies; Lenny Cooke executive-produced by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah who is tentatively scheduled to appear at one of the screenings in the run

American Promise

“Yielding belly laughs, big salty tears, and cultural critique in

equal measure…an intimate American docu-epic unlike anything that’s

come before it.”–Jordan M. Smith,

American Promise is a bold, unflinching 12-year movie diary of two African American families seeking to give their kids their best shot at the American dream, and is an intimate look at growing up under unique pressure. Offering diverging takes on the multicultural experience, the film follows the families starting with the enrollment of their five-year-old sons in an elite Manhattan prep school and continuing through high school graduation. The enormous hopes of eager parents weigh on young Idris and Seun, complicating a childhood already impacted by racism, classism, and the cultural disconnect of schooling in a largely white milieu. 2013, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, USA, 132 min., DCP digital.

Co-directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson will be present for audience discussion at all shows on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23, and at the 2:00 pm show on Sunday, November 24.

One week only, Friday, November 22-Wednesday, November 27

Friday (11/22) at 5:00 and 8:00 pm;

Saturday (11/23) at 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 pm;

Sunday (11/24) at 2:00 and 5:00 pm;

Monday (11/25) at 6:30 pm;

Tuesday (11/26) at 6:00 and 8:30 pm;

Wednesday (11/27) at 6:00 and 8:30 pm.

Lenny Cooke: “A penetrating and ultimately heartbreaking inventory of

hard lessons learned on and off the court.”–Scott Foundas, Variety

“Sadly real-life basketball version of ‘Friday Night Lights’ crossed

with ‘Blind Side.’”–Nora Lee Mandel,

In 2001, Lenny Cooke was one young basketball prodigy seemed destined

for NBA greatness, but his career crashed and burned before it even started, due to bad advice, bad timing, and youthful arrogance. The star-crossed history of Lenny Cooke, who was ranked the number-one high school basketball player in the U.S. (ahead of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony), but who fumbled his shot at the 2002 draft, plays out as a gripping human-interest story that critics have likened to HOOP DREAMS in its pathos. Fans will be delighted by on-court footage of Cooke, James, Anthony, and other up-and-coming hoopsters as teen novices. 2012, Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie, USA, 88 min., DCP digital.

Co-directors Ben and Joshua Safdie and producer Adam Shopkorn will be present for audience discussion on Friday, November 29.  Executive producer Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls team member and 2013 NBA All-Star, will be present for discussion at one screening: check for updates at

One week only, Friday, November 29-Thursday, December 5

Friday (11/29) at 7:45 pm;

Saturday (11/30) at 8:00 pm;

Sunday (12/1) at 7:15 pm;

Monday (12/2) at 8:00 pm;

Tuesday (12/3) at 8:30 pm;

Wednesday (12/4) at 6:15 pm;

Thursday, (12/5) at 8:30 pm.

All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St.

Tickets to each screening–unless stated otherwise–are $11/general admission, $7/students, and $6/Film Center members. All tickets may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are available through Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787,, and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Film Center and its box office are open 5:00 to 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday; 2:00 to 8:30 pm Saturday; and 2:00 to 5:30 pm Sunday.

Tickets for groups of 20+ are available at $8 each. Call 312-846-2600 for more information.

A Gene Siskel Film Center membership is a year-round ticket to great movies for only $6 per screening. Memberships are $50 (Individual) and $80 (Dual). For more information, call 312-846-2600 or visit

Discounted parking is available for $16 for 10 hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office.

The Film Center is located near CTA trains and buses. Nearest CTA L stations are Lake (Red line); State/Lake (Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple lines); and Washington (Blue line). CTA bus lines serving State St.: 2, 6, 10, 29, 36, 62, 144, and 146.

For more information about the Film Center, call 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9:00 am-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), or visit

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates 41 years of presenting cutting edge programs, independent and international cinema, premieres, retrospectives, and classic films. Internationally recognized for its original film programming, the Film Center is a vibrant cultural destination in Chicago that attracts a diverse and creative annual audience of over 80,000.

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC’s resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit