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Three win ‘Looking for Democracy’ contest

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A short film examining the issues of free speech while chronicling a veteran’s protest to a flag hung upside down, won the grand prize in the 2010 Illinois Humanities Council’s second annual “Looking for Democracy” contest.

Theophilus Jamal an actor, filmmaker and master’s candidate at DePaul’s Digital Cinema program, creatively answered the contest’s question: “Where do you see democracy in your life?”

Jamal’s top prize entry, “American Flag,” and the two other winners will screen at a May 3 awards presentation and panel discussion at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema.

Free Spirit Media, a youth filmmaking program, won for its short “Hungry for Change,” which examines the impact of living in a “food desert,” where grocery stores and fresh food are not easily accessible.

“Democracy 2” produced by members of The Theatre of Social Justice Project, a collaborative project between Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy and Francis Parker students, won for their look at the challenges and opportunities for democracy in their student community experience.

The awards screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers and a panel discussion about the power of independent art and media in a democracy.

Touring poet Robbie Q. Teller will MC the panel: filmmaker and founder Xan Aranda of Short Film Brigade; photographer and program director Tara Malik of Beyondmedia Education and A. Zell Williams, playwright and recipient of a Steppenwolf Theatre Company fellowship.

Co-sponsors: ITVS; Kartemquin Films; IFP/Chicago; Columbia College Television & Film Departments; Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV); Chicago Short Film Brigade; Critical Encounters: Fact & Faith; Reeltime Independent Film and Video Forum and WBEZ Chicago Public Radio.

At Film Row Cinema 1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor, 5 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. screening. Free and open to all. Reservations required: phone 312/422-5580 or Email