National Geographic has acquired City So Real, an Indie Episodic selection from the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

What’s Happening:

  • National Geographic has acquired the Sundance Film Festival Indie Episodic selection, City So Real.
  • The series will premiere on National Geographic this fall and depicts a complex portrait of contemporary Chicago with a deep, multifaceted look at the city around its historic 2019 mayoral election.
  • The original Sundance presentation included four episodes, but National Geographic has ordered a fifth that will explore Chicago during the pandemic and the social uprising following the death of George Floyd.
  • City So Real was created by two time Academy Award nominee Steve James (America to Me, Hoop Dreams) along with his son Jackson James and producer Zak Piper (Life Itself, The Interrupters).
  • The project was funded by Participant and Kartemquin Films.
  • The score for City So Real includes original compositions by Will Miller and his band Resavoir, with additional music from Jamila Woods, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound and Devil in a Woodpile.

What They’re Saying:

  • Steve James: “Chicago is an enormous and enormously diverse urban environment that wrestles with issues of race and segregation and violence, which is the story of America today. You see evidence of that everywhere in the series from the barbershop conversations to the people watching the debate. All cities have their boosters, but there’s something unique about the passionate love and civic pride Chicagoans have for their city. The documentary captures the beauty and the richness of a very complex city, while also showing how divided it can be.”
  • Diane Weyermann, Chief Content Officer for Participant: “The portrait of Chicago through Steve’s unique storytelling lens is one that will powerfully resonate across the country and elsewhere. We are thrilled to be working with our friends at National Geographic to share this deeply human, nuanced character-driven series, which boldly weaves together an unflinching and illuminating story of contemporary America.”
  • Courteney Monroe, National Geographic Global Television Networks President: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the extraordinary Steve James and the team from Participant on City So Real, a profound and intimate portrait of life in every American city that could not be more timely. We look forward to showcasing this ambitious and impactful documentary series, including Steve’s newly filmed fifth hour capturing the pandemic and the civil unrest gripping our nation.”