Sommer Filmworks' new documentary COUNT ME IN highlights an innovative experiment in direct democracy called "participatory budgeting" that gives ordinary Chicagoans direct say over local public projects and monies. COUNT ME IN aired on PBS stations across the nation as well as the PBS WORLD channel in late 2016 and is now available for screenings by community groups, agencies, non-profit groups, public libraries and for the educational market. Contact us for more info at: firstname.lastname@example.org
COUNT ME IN offers an inspiring way to start a dialogue about civic engagement, community development and planning and is ideal for courses in: government • political science • sociology • urban planning
"Count Me In is an insightful and engaging look at how committed residents stepped up to bring real democracy to underserved neighborhoods in Chicago. It is sure to spark debate about the weaknesses of our present governmental system and inspire discussion about the possibilities for more public participation..."
– Dr. Michael Menser, Asst. Professor, Brooklyn College
August 31, 2016 by Todd Lillethun
Just in time for election season, director and DP Ines Sommer is finishing a documentary about participatory budgeting titled COUNT ME IN, which is scheduled to air on PBS in late October. As a resident of Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, Sommer became intrigued by Alderman Joe Moore’s push to let residents vote on how money was spent in his district. Each ward in Chicago receives $1.3 million per year to spend on infrastructure and development, which can include everything from filling potholes to planting gardens in vacant lots. Decisions on how to spend that money has traditionally been left up to aldermen, but participatory budgeting gives residents the power to make those decisions instead. The film shows community members on the north, south, and west sides of the city driving the process in efforts to improve their neighborhoods: they write proposals, pitch their positions, and submit everything for a vote to their neighbors. It’s an empowering, but also labor intensive, and occasionally messy undertaking, and has been adopted by seven wards across the city, plus 1,500 other cities in the U.S. and Latin America. Sommer began shooting in 2013, and editor Susanne Suffredin (of the Kindling Group) was brought on last year. In 2014 the MacArthur Foundation awarded Sommer a grant to finish the film and connected the project to WTTW for distribution.
WTTW Chicago and UIC Great Cities Institute present COUNT ME IN at the
CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER
Claudia Cassidy Theater
78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Saturday, October 15, 2pm
Film screening followed by a panel discussion. Meet filmmaker Ines Sommer, PB Chicago organizers, and some of the participants! Free and open to the public!
More info at: www.countmeinmovie.com
RSVP here: interactive.wttw.com/events/2016-10-15-190000/free-premiere-screening-discussion-%E2%80%93-count-me
Journalist Lori Rotenberk, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, grist, and the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote about our documentary-in-progress "A Season of Change on Henry's Farm" in ReelChicago. The documentary is co-produced by Sommer Filmworks' Ines Sommer and author Terra Brockman. http://www.reelchicago.com/article/sommer-s-doc-focuses-illinois-organic-farm-family150423
We're excited to be part of the City of Chicago’s FREE #LakeFX Summit + Expo presented by Google on April 16 - 19, 2015!
LakeFX Summit + Expo is the largest FREE conference in the Midwest for artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs. With program tracks related to music, film, fashion, culinary and visual & performing arts, this inaugural event presents professional development opportunities, an Expo resource fair and a marketplace. Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) + other locations.
More info and event registration here: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/lakefx.html
Please stop by Sommer Filmworks' table at the Expo resource fair and catch Ines Sommer speak at the following panels:
Fiscal Sponsorship for Filmmakers
1:30pm, Fri, April 17, Gene Siskel Film Center
Video 101 for Artists and Arts Organizations
Panel organized and moderated by Ines Sommer
3pm, Fri, April 17, Chicago Cultural Center