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Chicago documentary ‘City So Real’ to debut on TV Oct. 29 after festival screenings

The National Geographic series from Steve James, focusing on Lightfoot’s election, has expanded to five hours.

A woman talks to a police officer during a protest seen in “City So Real.”
Chicago Story Film, LLC

“City So Real,” the long-awaited documentary series about the election of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other local issues from “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James, will screen in expanded form next month at the Chicago International Film Festival before premiering Oct. 29 on National Geographic.

The first four hours of the project had their world premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. At the Chicago fest, viewers will be able to stream the full series starting Oct. 20, marking the world premiere of a fifth hour that follows the COVID-19 pandemic and social uprising following George Floyd’s death.

The TV premiere on Nat Geo will be a marathon five-hour event with no commercials. The episodes will be available the next day on Hulu.

The series is billed as “a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of a quintessentially American city, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral election.”

An educational campaign will offer virtual screenings to schools.

Here’s the trailer: