A film by
In this deftly directed psychological thriller, diligent medical resident James Hayman transfers to a rural Illinois hospital to escape from the shadow of a traumatic experience at his previous post. But his past catches up with him when he encounters a new patient, 19-year-old Helen, whose asthma attacks and impending lung transplant strike him as suspicious. Chicago filmmaker Alex Thompson offers the same sensitive and delicate approach to character on display in his celebrated feature debut Saint Frances; Sidney Flanigan (Never Rarely Sometimes Always) is subtly enthralling as Helen, while Steppenwolf ensemble member Namir Smallwood delivers a riveting performance as James, a promising doctor increasingly losing his grasp on reality.
THE BIG PAYBACK
A film by
ERIKA ALEXANDER and WHITNEY DOW
In 2021, Evanston, Illinois became the first city in the United States to approve a reparations program for some of its Black residents. How did it get there? Captivating and urgent, The Big Payback follows the dramatic journey of rookie Alderman Robin Rue Simmons as she fights to redress the wrongs of “redlining” and the legacy of slavery. Filmmakers Erika Alexander (John Lewis: Good Trouble) and Whitney Dow (Two Towns of Jaspar) chart Simmons’ emotional and political path from the onset of the pandemic through the racial protests of 2020, as she faces detractors who criticize her legislation for doing too little and supporters who herald the bill as an important first step into the future. An inspiring story of the early signals of seismic change, one citizen and then one city at a time.