The forgotten 1963 Boycott in Chicago Documentary short

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The more times change the more it stays the same. I don’t know who said it first but am saddened how true it is as I look around our country. It’s award season and I came across ’63 Boycott from Kartemquin Films that has been nominated for Best Documentary Short for the 2019 Academy Awards. It’s streaming free until January 14th and after that it’s $.99 on the Kartemquin Films, Public Media’s WORLD Channel and the PBS App. 

The documentary focuses on Chicago’s desegregation protests by children and parents for the inequality of funding after Brown vs Board of Education and the White Flight, openly racist Board of Education and money. The award-winning film is directed by Gordon Quinn, the co-founder of Kartemquin Films and produced by Rachel Dickson and Tracye A. Matthews. It focuses on when 250,000 children (students) boycotted the Chicago Public School System on October 22, 1963 and ties into Mayor Rahm Emanuel shutting down schools in 2003 in predominately Black and Hispanic neighborhoods while funding charter schools to bust teachers unions. It’s a documentary that is looking at Chicago but relates to the inequality of education systems across the USA. The film incorporates interviews with the original protestors from 1963 discussing how the protest affected them, 16mm footage of the march shot by Gordon Quinn when he was 21 years old, and shines a spotlight on a forgotten chapter in the American Civil Rights history aka AMERICAN history.  

PBS WORLD Channel will broadcast ‘63 Boycott nationwide on February 25. I’m very happy to be working with PBS again. I believe it’s essential that a film about the struggle for equality and equity in education be accessible to all,” said Quinn.

‘63 Boycott won the Best Short Documentary Award at the 2018 Nashville Film Festival and the Audience Award at the 2018 Pan African African Film Festival. In 2018 it was an official selection of the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight and earned a place on DOC NYC’s Shorts Short List of 2018. 

The film also won Best Short Documentary at the Berlin Black International Cinema Exhibition, the Roxbury International Film Festival,the Adrian International Film Festival, and the Montreal International Black Film Festival, and the Jury Citation Award at the Black Maria Film Festival.

 ‘63 Boycott is directed by Gordon Quinn and produced by Rachel Dickson and Tracye A. Matthews. Edited by Liz Kaar. Executive produced by Betsy Steinberg, Justine Nagan and Gordon Quinn.



Kartemquin Films is a collaborative community empowering filmmakers who create documentaries that foster a more engaged and just society. For 52 years, Kartemquin has embraced a vision of democracy through documentary, producing over 65 documentaries including the Academy Award-nominated Hoop Dreams, and the 2018 Academy Award-nominees Abacus: Small Enough to Jail and Edith+Eddie, and 2018’s best reviewed documentary Minding the Gap, and 2018’s best reviewed original TV series, America to Me. The organization’s films have also garnered other major prizes, including six Emmys, two Peabody Awards, and multiple Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA, DGA and festival awards, and duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards.

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