Sundown in K-Town | North Lawndale Documentary Film Festival

And This Is Free (1965)

And This Is Free (1965) Photograph: Kartemquin Films

Nonprofit orgs Better Boys Foundation and Facets Multi-Media have teamed up to present Sundown in K-Town, a gratis outdoor social-doc film fest running through July 27. Named for the North Lawndale neighborhood known for its K streets (Karlov, Keeler, Kostner, etc.), the festival features a number of local gems that highlight Chicago indie filmmaking and reporting.

Last night, a group of 40 or so gathered inside the Better Boys Foundation's courtyard for the fest's second program. The chilled bottles of IZZE made for a nice refreshment. But the real treats were the evening's featured films—And This Is Free (1965), Jerry's Deli (1976) and Moon's (2010).

In And This Is Free, we're transported back to Maxwell Street's open-air market during its heyday in the 1960s. The film is worthwhile for its blues and gospel performances alone. Veteran filmmaker Tom Palazzolo's Jerry's pays homage to a true Chicago character. Watching delicatessen owner Jerry Meyers going apeshit on his customers is hilarious. Whatever you may have experienced at Perry's Deli probably pales in comparison.

After watching Jerry's, 18-year-old Better Boys Foundation YouthLab participant and budding filmmaker Angelo Williams was inspired to create Moon's, which he directed and edited on a Flip Cam. The movie takes its title from the long-running (established in 1933) West Side restaurant, capturing the hole-in-the-wall's charming personality. The film holds its own among the other works by more experienced directors. It also reveals a laudable history. The restaurant served as a meeting place for the Black Panther Party.

Following the screenings, the filmmakers and Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters) participated in a Q&A.

If you missed this iteration, don't fret—Chicago culture, stories and history can be viewed throughout the festival's run. For more information, including the lineup of featured panelists, see the festival's website. Most screenings take place at the Better Boys Foundation Courtyard (1512 S Pulaski Rd). Doors open at 7:45pm.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)