It's rare that an experimental film with a very limited budget gains
accolades on the level the locally made film Chicago Heights has seen.
Chicago Heights is an award-winning, short, black and white feature film
created by Daniel Nearing and Sang Hoon Lee with a $1,000 budget for
food, equipment on loan from Governors State University, and during the
free time of the all volunteer cast and crew. The film is based on
Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson's classic 1919 collection of
interconnected short stories. The story is transposed ingeniously to a
predominantly African American community in the present-day south
Chicago region. It is a gorgeously photographed, beautifully scored
film, shot, and edited in and around the region.
focuses on Nathan Walker a young man living in Chicago Heights,
Illinois, many miles south of downtown Chicago. He finds himself
entwined every day in the lives of his neighbors. They're polite,
friendly, down-to-earth people. But in any community, individuals have
their own private passions that their neighbors will never know. Each
has a dark secret, a disappointed dream, a fervent hope, a
spirit-breaking fear. We accompany Nathan while he comes of age and
observe with him as the layers fall away from this seemingly random
array of ordinary people who, below their practiced, Christian surfaces,
are extraordinarily human.
The film has received near universal
praise from some of the industries top critics. "Brilliant...It is a
beautiful book, and has inspired this beautiful film"- Roger Ebert.
"This stunning adaptation of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio is an
aesthetic and political knockout, transforming Anderson's dated
community narrative of rural white America into an avant-garde,
nonlinear black-and-white film set in the present-day African-American
Chicago Heights" - Monica Westin. "I love the film because in its
excisions and composites, it recreates the way my memory works: elusive
moments, tiny details, and impressions are what I tend to retain, while
the specific words and larger context often disappear" - Michael W
Some of the awards that the film and its producers
have garnered include: 2010 Black Harvest Film Festival Official
Selection, 25th International Black Cinema Berlin Film Festival Award
for Best Film in a Fine Arts Discipline, and 2010 Columbus International
Film and Video Festival 57 Honorable Mention for Narrative and In
Competition at the Pusan International Film Festival.
Heights will be featured at the Black World Cinema series at I.C.E.
Theaters Chatham, 210 West 87th Street, Chicago. Thursday May 5th at
7PM. Lead actors Andre Truss, Keisha Dyson and Benny Stewart will be in