As I’m writing this, the opening of our movie “Signature Move” is two weeks out. As you’re reading this, it’s playing at the Music Box Theatre and I truly hope you’re making plans to see this film that’s been all around the world this year and is now coming home.
The intensity of preparations for that opening is just piling on to what is already the most culturally intense time of the year, with EXPO Chicago and, this year, the Chicago Architecture Biennial forming a sort of tag-team of world-class art and architecture events. Not to mention the season opening of every single theater, dance and opera company in town. Which is my long-winded excuse for saying I’ve postponed my “making of” feature about “Signature Move” till our anniversary issue in February, when it comes to a certain fullness of completion after theatrical, DVD/VOD and, finally, streaming release dates. Plus, this decision freed up space to share my interview with the global superstar Shabana Azmi in this issue, who brought her singular grace to our debut filmmaking project. Lemonade!
It’s a happy accident that the opening of our first feature film coincides with the publication of our Film 50 issue, as the creation of both sprang forth from the same impulse, and started at about the same time. Though Newcity, led by our longtime film editor Ray Pride, has been immersed in covering cinema since our earliest days, that coverage historically centered on work mostly being produced elsewhere, by the Hollywood and indie-film machinery prevalent over those years. It was not until 2013 that we undertook the creation of Film 50, which forced us to take a deep dive into the local film culture. What we discovered in doing so was that a rapidly growing film and TV opportunity was increasingly possible in Chicago, where many essential pieces were newly in place. In another happy accident, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events produced the first and only “Chicago Film and Media Summit” the same month Film 50 debuted. This gathering offered an in-the-flesh manifestation of all of this, while underscoring the need for catalysts to spark an indie film cultural moment in Chicago. We decided to go all in.
Four years later, here we are. Our first movie in theaters and two more in the planning stages to shoot next year. And, as we hoped it would, an entire Chicago film culture, represented in this year’s Film 50, is growing all around us.
Look for Newcity’s October 2017 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week.