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Chicago filmmaker Ky Dickens premieres 'Sole Survivor' at Siskel Film Center

Ky Dickens

In the wake of commercial aviation disasters, we tend to hear far more about those who died than those who lived — and rightly so.

For her documentary “Sole Survivor,” recently acquired by CNN Films, Chicago-based filmmaker Ky Dickens breaks that pattern by training her camera on 13 people of various ages and backgrounds who were (as the film’s title suggests) the only survivors of horrific airplane crashes.

One used pieces of her plane to float until help arrived. Another was only four when hers went down. Dickens explores the physical and emotional aftermath of their ordeals.

Says one survivor, “People don’t understand that it doesn’t go away. It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life.”

“Sole Survivor” screens Saturday Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. and Thursday Sept. 26 at 8:15 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State). Tickets are $11 for general admission, $7 for students, $6 for members and are available at

Dickens and producer Amy McIntyre will be on hand both nights for post-screening audience discussions afterward. On Saturday Sept. 21 only, they’ll be interviewed along with some of the film’s subjects and National Transportation Safety Board investigator Shawn Pruchnicki by Alison Cuddy of WBEZ.