The Great Chicago Conspiracy Circus

In 1969, a Chicago court spent six months hearing the case of the men who became known as the Chicago Seven, who had been protesting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and were arrested and charged with conspiracy to riot. Directed by Kerry Feltham, this 1971 film started out as a play conceived by a Toronto theatre group based on the trial transcripts. The result is surreal, absurd and over-the-top, emphasising not so much the course of the trial as the despotic actions of an authoritarian state power in its dealings with dissident citizens. The stage is both courtroom and circus; and the trial is both tragic reality and a grotesque scenario with elements of Lewis Carroll’s "Alice in Wonderland". The film makes state repression visible and is simultaneously an act of alienation only grows in intensity.
by Kerry Feltham
with Mel Dixon, Jim Lawrence, Calvin Butler, Neil Walsh, Steven Bush, Peter Faulkner, Diane Grant, François-Regis Klanfer
Canada 1970 English 92’ Colour Documentary form


  • Mel Dixon (Bobby G. Seale)
  • Jim Lawrence (Mark Lane)
  • Calvin Butler (Arlo Guthrie)
  • Neil Walsh (Mayor Daley)
  • Steven Bush (Allen Ginsberg)
  • Peter Faulkner (Abbie Hoffman)
  • Neil Walsh (Country Joe McDonald)
  • Diane Grant (Linda Morse)
  • François-Regis Klanfer (DJ)


Director Kerry Feltham
Cinematography Morgens Gander, Henri Fiks
Editing Italo Costa, Featherstone Fanshaw

Produced by

Monitor Productions

Kerry Feltham

Born in Edmonton, Canada in 1944. He has been working as a writer, cameraman, director and producer.


1970 Cuba: The State of the Revolution 1979 The Waltzing Policemen; 4 min. 1981 Friday and Clyde; 11 min. 1983 Too Much Oregano; 8 min. 1988 State Park (American Eiskrem 2 – Jetzt ist der Bär los); 87 min, co-directed by Rafal Zielinski 1999 Karen Black: Actress at Work; 55 min. 2008 Will to Win: Pali Goes to Shakespeare Fest; 78 min. 2011 Larry's Big Day; 15 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020