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Chicago-made Lesbian Film Debuts This Weekend

By Joseph Erbentraut in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 25, 2009 9:30PM

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Feeling the itch for some great lesbian film this weekend? Particularly one that's Chicago-made? If so, you're in luck. Tonight, the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, begins a week-long limited engagement of Hannah Free. The film is a brand new Ripe Fruit feature filmed in Chicago and starring Sharon Gless (of overbearing, PFLAG-mom-of-the-year Debbie Novotny on Queer as Folk fame, in addition to Cagney & Lacy and Nip/Tuck).

Hannah Free, based on the play by the Chicago-based playwright Claudia Allen, is the brainchild of Tracy Baim, publisher and managing editor of Windy City Media Group (publisher of the Windy City Times and Nightspots, among others) and a ubiquitous leader of the city's LGBT community. It tells the story of a relationship between two women that stands the test of time - over 60 years - through sickness and health, separation and togetherness. Essentially, a Sapphic love epic for the entire gay family.

The film was created on a shoestring budget - just over $200,000 reportedly - and shot almost entirely in the city, minus a day spent filming out in the countryside in Will County. A number of scenes were shot in filmmaker Baim's own home, which has also become a historical landmark for the city, as described in a recent Chicago Tribune feature.

Tickets for the engagement, through Oct. 1, run $10, unless you're a student ($7) or Film Center member ($5). A special showing Sat., Sept. 26, at 7 p.m., will feature Gless and a number of cast and crew in attendance, followed by a gala event. Tickets for the gala are $100. For information, call 773-387-2394 or visit the film's website.