Today at the Chicago International Film Festival: ‘The City That Sold America’
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‘The City That Sold America’ (U.S.)
5:45 p.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m. Saturday at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois
Documentary and TV ad director Ky Dickens delivers a peppy lesson on the unique culture industry of Chicago. Her historical narrative inter-threads package goods, mail order catalogs, “Chicago School” television productions and transcontinental trains and jets. Local ad agencies evolved here with national impact. Dickens revisits sea-changing African-American ads that were made in Chicago. Most intriguing is the nexus of new products, new media and new lifestyles. This ambitious, if a bit boosterish, exercise lets copywriters and trade torch-bearers share punchy “mantras” about making good ads. For a moving coda — with melancholy undertones — there’s vintage footage of a Dec. 1, 1967, speech by the iconic Leo Burnett upon retiring from the agency he founded and named. Chicago native Dickens and her producer/co-writer Mary Warlick will appear at both screenings. For more details from the festival, go to chicagofilmfestival.com.