Ashley O’Shay’s Award-Winning Documentary UNAPOLOGETIC Announces Its Theatrical Distribution Starting August 20
Award Winning Documentary UNAPOLOGETIC Announces U.S. Theatrical Release
Ashley O’Shay’s Powerful Film Begins Its Rollout On August 20 in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Then Opens in New York City August 27, and In Los Angeles September 3, and the Nationwide Release to Follow
Kartemquin Films and The Film Collaborative announced today the U.S. theatrical release for Ashley O’Shay’s award-winning documentary UNAPOLOGETIC. The film will begin its release August 20 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago as part of the programming for the re-opening of the beloved theater. It will then open in New York the following week on August 27 and in Los Angeles on September 3, with a nationwide release in theaters and in virtual cinema.
UNAPOLOGETIC, produced in collaboration with Kartemquin Films, is the directorial debut of Ashley O’Shay and opens following an outstanding film festival run that included a World Premiere at BlackStar Film Festival, Heartland, Frameline, Outfest, DOC NYC and other festivals. The film was also shortlisted by the International Documentary Association for Best Documentary Feature in 2020.
“After a historical summer of Black uprising last year, we are elated to share this story with a theatrical release,” exclaims director O’Shay. “This Chicago story resonates with communities throughout the world, as more and more citizens organize for Black liberation. We must continue to uplift Black feminist leaders like Janaé and Bella, and we look forward to engaging with the people, organizations and partners through our screenings, talkbacks, and panels.”
After two police killings, Black millennial organizers challenge a Chicago administration complicit in state violence against its Black residents. Told through the lens of Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionist leaders, UNAPOLOGETIC is a deep look into the Movement for Black Lives, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The film hits theaters exactly a year after its World Premiere at the BlackStar Film Festival. The release also serves as a nod to Black August, an annual commemoration to remember Black freedom fights and political prisoners, highlighting Black resistance against racial oppression. Notable historical moments include the March on Washington (1963), the Haitian Revolution (1791), and Nat Turner’s Rebellion (1831).
UNAPOLOGETIC has received support through the Ford Foundation, the Field Foundation of IL, Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs program, the Sage Fund, Firelight Media, Tribeca Industry Network, Film Independent, Bay Area Video Coalition, UC Berkeley's Investigative Reporting Workshop, Cucalorus Film Festival, Hedgebrook, Sisters in Cinema, Working Films, Perspective Fund, the True/False & Catapult Rough Cut Retreat and Chicago DCASE Individual Artists Program.
For more information on UNAPOLOGETIC and a list of theaters and showings please visit the website.
Janaé leads a chant at a joint rally of Fight for 15 & Say Her Name in 2015 in a scene from the film UNAPOLOGETIC – directed by Ashley O’Shay
Photo Credit: Christine Irvine
Bella after performing at a Laquan McDonald rally, 2015 in a scene from the film UNAPOLOGETIC – directed by Ashley O’Shay
Photo Credit: Chan C. Smith
Janaé confronts city officials at a 2015 Chicago Police Board hearing, organizing against the cop who killed Rekia Boyd in a scene from the film UNAPOLOGETIC – directed by Ashley O’Shay
Photo Credit: Tom Callahan