Our lives as publishers and producers are converging as we document in the Film 50 the creative forces who lead the rise of cinematic Chicago.
As I write, we’re deep in the trenches of our movie business, three days away from the world premiere of “Dreaming Grand Avenue.” Most of the longer-lead prep is done: the DCPs are at the theaters—Showplace Icon and Music Box—where it will open two days later, on Friday. The posters are in place for Chicago and ordered for future markets. The merch is in for the premiere gift bags, that night’s program is at the printer, and most of the planning is done. Now we’re down to the essence: selling tickets in Chicago and planning our expansion. We’re not following a conventional rollout to theaters, due to the pandemic, of course, but also to our Chicago- and Midwest-centric way of thinking about what we do. And we’re waiting for the first reviews. Since we publish cultural criticism on the magazine side of our business, we know that this part is out of our hands as producers. We can only hope for the best. By the time you read this, this will all have played out and much of the film’s trajectory determined.
Our movie business is evolving into more of a micro-studio than just serving as a producer. We play a lead role in finding financing for our films—we’re even launching a fund for this, The Chicago Film Fund. We take a very hands-on approach to development and creative production that engages us from casting to principal photography to post-production. And we not only chart the distribution path for each project, but we’re increasingly taking on at least some of the role of distributor as well. So here we are, handling theatrical distribution for “Dreaming Grand Avenue.”
And our other projects, past and future, demand their own amount of attention, too. We’ve just signed new distribution deals for “Signature Move,” both in North America and the U.K., and we’re getting things in order for that. And we’re still trying to figure out how to work better with the distributors of “Knives and Skin.” All while continuing late-stage development of our next project, “Homesick,” which means casting searches, financing conversations and assembling a team.
But first, the Film 50 must go to press and so I conclude this letter. It’s a remarkably dynamic film and TV community that’s nurturing Chicago, and we’re happy to document it. And to be a part of it.
Look for Newcity’s October 2020 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.
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