Book tells how city won and lost film capital crown

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Ben Turpin and Charlie Chaplin at Essanay Studios

CHICAGO WAS THE FILM CAPITAL of the world 100 years ago, according to an excellent new book, “Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry,” which reads more like a contemporary novel of coporate rivalry, charismatic and egocentric characters and the amazing moving picture innovations of its day.

The authors, Michael Glover Smith, a filmmaker and film instructor, and Adam Selzer, an author, dug deep into the archives to provide an informative and highly entertaining account of many little known fact of how Chicago won – and lost – its film dominance of the time.

Weather notwithstanding, Smith and Selzer will host a book launch party, BYOB, Saturday, Feb. 21, at Transistor, 3441 N. Broadway, 8-10  p.m. 

They will screen four rare Chicago-shot silent films discussed in the book.  The films will be accompanied by an original live musical score by Chicago saxophonist Labrat.  

Published by Wallflower Press and priced at $25, the authors will autograph your copy of “Flickering Empire” – an important addition to a cinephile’s library. 

INDIE FILMMAKER CHRISTOPHER NOLEN’S low-budget indie feature, “72 Hours,” is playing from now through Sunday at the 87th Street Chatham Studio Movie Grill, the theatre’s new owners who have shown their support to indie filmmakers with premiere theatrical screenings.

The drama is about a married man who has 72 hours to apologize to all the women he has wronged, including his wife.

It stars Harry Lennix, (“The Blacklist”) Brely Evans (“Sparkle”) Terri J. Vaughn (“Meet the Browns”). 

After its 87th Street run, “72 Hours” will screen at Marcus Chicago Heights Cinema, and Southgate Cinema in Milwaukee and in theatres in Arizona.

CHIRAQ THE TV SERIES from producer William Pierce also debuts at the Chatham Movie Studio Grill, March 8, in two screenings at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; tickets are $10.

The series is the story of two gangs the Black Hustlers, north of the tracks and the Spanish Angels, south of the train tracks that divide them, along with their aspirations of dominating money, power and control.

M.J. Allen and Rodger Jackson produced; Lawrence Lee Wallace directed.  Pierce was EP.

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