ripe fruit films





August 20, 2009
For Immediate release
Contact: Hannah Free Producer Tracy Baim, 773-387-2394
Karen Cross Durham, Gene Siskel Film Center,, 312-846-2074

Hannah Free to debut in Chicago Sept. 25-Oct. 1 at Gene Siskel Film Center

Star Sharon Gless to attend gala Sept. 26

CHICAGO -- Sharon Gless, (Queer as Folk, Burn Notice, Cagney & Lacey) stars in the passionate lesbian drama Hannah Free, a new film about a lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home. The film will have a one-week limited engagement in Chicago Sept. 25-Oct. 1 at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 164 N. State.

The independent film, shot entirely in the Chicago area last November, also stars Taylor Miller (All My Children), Maureen Gallagher, Ann Hagemann, Kelli Strickland and Jacqui Jackson. Hannah Free is directed by Wendy Jo Carlton and written by Claudia Allen (based on her acclaimed stage play).

Hannah Free had its world premiere in San Francisco in June, and has been playing to mostly sold-out audiences since that time. It received the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Philadelphia QFest in July. It is already booked around the world, including in Ireland, France, Germany and Norway, with dozens of major festival dates being set monthly.

The film will have 14 screenings at the Gene Siskel Film Center. One special screening, Sat., Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. will feature a Q&A with Sharon Gless and other key cast and crew, as well as a gala benefit following the screening. The Lucy Smith Quartet will perform at the gala; one of Smith's songs is featured in the film. Gala tickets will be sold separately through Ripe Fruit Films, producers of Hannah Free. All other tickets are available from the theater.

Executive Producers of Hannah Free are Tracy Baim, Claudia Allen and Sharon Zurek (also the film's editor, from Black Cat Films). The producers are Sharon Gless, Martie Marro (also the film's Music Composer) and Wendy Jo Carlton. Director of Photography was Gretchen Warthen.

Tickets are now on sale. Tickets to each screening are $10/general admission. Other ticket prices are $7/student and $5/Film Center members. All tickets (except for Sept. 26, 7 p.m. show) may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office, 164 N. State St. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are available through Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787,, and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Film Center and its Box Office are open 5-9 p.m., Monday-Friday; 2-9 p.m., Saturday; and 2-6 p.m., Sunday. For more information about the Film Center, call 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday), or visit

Discounted parking is available for $14 for nine hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office.

Sept. 26 gala info: Sharon Gless and the cast of Hannah Free, along with director Wendy Jo Carlton, writer Claudia Allen and the producers and crew, will attend a special benefit screening and gala Saturday, Sept 26, 7 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center. After the screening, there will be a Q&A at the Film Center. Then, guests will walk one block north to the Renaissance Chicago Hotel, One West Wacker, for a gala featuring hors d'oeuvres and wine, beer and soda, all part of the $100 ticket price for the evening. The Lucy Smith Quartet will perform. Mix and mingle with the stars of Hannah Free, and benefit the production of a feature film made in Chicago. For more information, call 773-387-2394, email, see, or see the Hannah Free fan page on Facebook.

Hannah (Sharon Gless) and Rachel (Maureen Gallagher) grew up as little girls in the same small Midwest town, where traditional gender expectations eventually challenge their deep love for one another. Hannah becomes an adventurous, unapologetic lesbian and Rachel a strong but quiet homemaker. Weaving back and forth between past and present, with different actors playing the characters from age 10 through late in life, the film reveals how the women maintained their love affair despite a marriage, a world war, infidelities, and family denial.

The film was shot on the South Side of Chicago and in Beecher, Ill., November, 2008, in 18 days.

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates over 35 years of presenting cutting edge programs, independent and international cinema, premieres, retrospectives, and classic films. Internationally recognized for its original film programming, the Film Center is a vibrant cultural destination in Chicago that attracts a diverse and creative audience of 70,000 annually.


Screen dates and show times:
Friday Sept. 25
6:15 p.m.
8:15 p.m.

Saturday Sept. 26
3:15 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
6:45 p.m.
8:30 p.m.
Special 7 p.m. screening followed by Q&A with Sharon Gless, cast and crew, followed by a gala party, tickets only thru 773-387-2394

Sunday Sept. 27
2:45 p.m.

Monday Sept. 28
6:15 p.m.
8:15 p.m.

Tuesday Sept. 29
6:15 p.m.
8:15 p.m.

Wednesday Sept. 30
6:15 p.m.
8:15 p.m.

Thursday Oct. 1
6:15 p.m.
8:15 p.m.