Back in 2010, “Almost There,” an exhibit celebrating the work of self-taught Indiana artist, Peter Anton, opened at Chicago’s Intuit Gallery. Featuring paintings from Anton’s meticulously recorded visual autobiography of the same name, “Almost There” the exhibit was curated by Chicago filmmakers, Aaron Wickenden and Dan Rybicky.
Flash forward four years to summer 2014, and “Almost There” had evolved from an exhibition into a full-length documentary. The film opens as Anton is navigating an “end-of-life nightmare”– a crumbling house, social isolation, health challenges– and follows both the artist’s and the filmmakers’ journey as they work to preserve Anton’s life’s work.
To celebrate the film’s completion, a special screening was held last July in Whiting, Indiana during the town’s annual Pierogi Fest. The location was something of a homecoming– the filmmakers first met Anton at the same event eight years earlier where he manned a portrait drawing booth.
And just as the original show at Intuit was commemorated with 1″ buttons, Kickstarter campaign backers and other guests at the the Pierogi Fest screening were greeted with 1″ glow in the dark and cosmic buttons made especially for the occasion featuring Anton’s colorful, hand-drawn logo for the film.
Since that early screening, has toured the film festivals around the country, and a free screening of “Almost There” and Q&A with the filmmakers takes place this weekend in Chicago in conjunction with CIMM Fest and Lake FX Summit & Expo.