'City So Real': Release date, plot, trailer and all you need to know about Nat Geo's Chicago docuseries
Documentarian Steve James delivers a fascinating and complex portrait of Chicago, America's third-largest metropolis and his longtime hometown
What makes up the soul of the city? The obvious answer is its people. New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles — these cities are known the world over for their glamorous facade, but for its people, these cities are home, with less than glamorous histories and ongoing struggles.
In a new five-part docuseries from Academy Award-nominated Steve James coming to National Geographic, 'City So Real' offers a fascinating and complex portrait of contemporary Chicago through a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of a quintessentially American city, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral election, and the tumultuous 2020 summer of Covid-19 and social upheaval following the police killing of George Floyd.
Read on to know more about the docuseries.
All five parts of 'City So Real' will air consecutively and commercial-free on National Geographic on Thursday, October 29, at 7/8c. The episodes will be available on Hulu on Friday, October 30.
In the five-part documentary series, 'City So Real', documentarian Steve James delivers a fascinating and complex portrait of Chicago, America's third-largest metropolis and his longtime hometown.
The series begins in the haze of mid-summer 2018 as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, embroiled in accusations of a cover-up related to the police shooting of an African American teenager, Laquan McDonald, shocks the city by announcing he won't seek reelection. An unprecedented 21 candidates emerge in a diverse and crowded field as they engage in a no-holds-barred battle for a chance to shape the city's uncertain future.
The final episode of the series picks up a year after the mayoral election in 2020, as the city simultaneously grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and the widespread social upheaval following the police killing of George Floyd. An already fractured city is further divided by the economic, political and social fallout, which plays out on the city streets as police clash with protesters, giving rise to a generational moment that promises to change the city forever. In candid interviews with residents throughout the city, the series captures Chicago's indomitable spirit as well as its seemingly insurmountable challenges. 'City So Real' is a gritty and loving depiction of a quintessentially American city that is at once fiercely unique and a microcosm of the nation ⎯ and our world ⎯ as a whole.
Steve James is a two-time Academy Award nominee who has earned four Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award nominations, winning for 'Hoop Dreams' in 1994. James received his second Oscar nod for Best Documentary Feature for 2016’s 'Abacus: Small Enough to Jail'. James’ other notable credits include 'Stevie' — an Independent Spirit Award and Sundance prize winner; 'The Interrupters', which won an Emmy, Independent Spirit Award and the DuPont-Columbia Journalism Award; and the Roger Ebert biography 'Life Itself'.
'City So Real' is produced by Zak Piper and Steve James. The field producers are Sylvetta Christmas and Janea Smith. The executive producers for the docuseries are Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Alex Kotlowitz, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg and Jolene Pinder.
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