IFP/Chicago and Amnesty International USA Present Beneath the Blindfold

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Named “Best Political Documentary of 2012” by the Chicago Reader; Post-Screening Q & A with Filmmakers Ines Sommer and Kathy Berger and survivors Matilde de la Sierra and Mario Venegas

CHICAGO, April 15, 2014 – IFP/Chicago (www.ifpchicago.org) and Amnesty International USA present a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, Beneath the Blindfold, on Monday, April 21, 7:00PM, at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602). Matilde de la Sierra, whose story is featured in the film, along with Chilean human rights activist and survivor Mario Venegas and Chicago-based filmmakers Ines Sommer and Kathy Berger, will be present for a post-screening Q & A. Doors open at 6:30PM, with the film beginning at 7:00PM and the discussion immediately following. The event is free and open to the public.

Beneath the Blindfold tells the stories of four torture survivors who are among the more than 500,000 survivors who live in the United States. The documentary was heavily lauded in its initial release, with Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader calling it “The Best Political Documentary of 2012.” Sommer says the timing of the April 21st screening coincides with the

Amnesty International USA Conference, which was held in Chicago on April 4 – 6, and the film bears echoes of this year’s conference theme. “The Amnesty International USA conference theme was ‘Bringing Human Rights Home’, which ties in with Beneath the Blindfold as a homegrown human rights film,” says Sommer. "‘Bringing human rights home’ also means that the film includes the story of a US Navy vet and whistleblower, who was tortured by the US military. Chicago has seen its own share of torture under Police Commander Jon Burge – we applaud Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Howard Brookins for introducing an ordinance in City Council that seeks reparations for Chicago's police torture victims. So to screen Beneath the Blindfold in Chicago at this time makes perfect sense.”

Sommer, an IFP/Chicago board member, says the IFP’s presentation of the screening also illustrates the kind of support the organization provides for its membership. “In my documentary work, I’m interested in showing people regain agency. Films can have a powerful impact on the viewer and help influence the dialogue we have about important contemporary issues. I hope that Beneath the Blindfold makes a contribution to that end and offers a rarely seen perspective in our national discourse about torture. IFP/Chicago’s mission and philosophy is to promote independent film as an important and powerful voice, and their support of this screening, and other programming like this, makes it possible for these kinds of stories to be told.”

For more information about Beneath the Blindfold, visit the film’s website, www.beneaththeblindfold.com.