National Geographic will air all five hours of documentary series City So Real in a special commercial-free event on Thursday, Oct. 29, starting at 7 pm/6 pm c. All five episodes available to stream the next day on Hulu.
The series, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, comes from two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steve James, who hails from Chicago, and his producing partner Zak Piper. The five episodes deliver a complex portrait of contemporary Chicago.
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 African-American teenager Laquan McDonald, announces he won’t seek reelection. An unprecedented 21 candidates emerge and engage in a no-holds-barred battle for a chance to shape the city’s future, with Lori Lightfoot ultimately emerging victorious.
The original series was four episodes, but the filmmakers have since added a fifth episode that tackles life in Chicago during COVID-19 and after the death of George Floyd at the hands of now former Minneapolis police.
Nat Geo is partnering with public awareness campaign I am a voter to encourage viewers to register to vote. Public service announcements around the importance of voting will air during the five-hour broadcast and Nat Geo will leverage its social media accounts to promote that message. The channel also is launching an educational campaign around the series, providing it to classrooms across the country via virtual screenings. Participating educators will be equipped with a discussion guide, voter resources and voter guides.