Columbia grad has shot at winning Chase Legacy
Film Challenge, as one of four national finalists

Chicago Filmmakers instructor Vincent Singleton is celebrating after his film “The Porter” nailed the Chicago nomination for the HBO/Chase Legacy Film Challenge.

He competes against finalists from New York, Houston and Atlanta for the HBO filmmaker award and airing of the winner’s film on HBO, to be announced in July.

Voting is underway now, through June 30.

The win tops off a “whirlwind” couple of months for Singleton, in which he also graduated with his MFA from Columbia, and became a father for the first time.

The Legacy Challenge was created by Chase,, HBO and Kodak to provide a platform for emerging filmmakers to “share their stories of creating and preserving legacy within the African-American communities.”

Singleton submitted a treatment and a short documentary to the jury, and was awarded with a $5,000 grant as the Chicago winner. He also spent $4,000 of his own funds.

The arrival of his son had a profound impact on Singleton’s short, “The Porter,” which centers on the passing down of knowledge through three generations of an African-American family as they attempt to secure home ownership.

Singleton based the film on the South Side’s historic Pullman neighborhood, where he himself had recently relocated.

“I had done some research into the Pullman company and the workers’ relationship between home and work, so I fleshed out that idea when I heard about this competition,” he says.

The dominant theme running throughout “The Porter” is that “a man can never rest his head on borrowed land,” a nod to the notorious history of the Pullman Railroad Company, whose workers lived in state-of-the-art housing, but were never allowed to purchase their own homes.

“It’s about knowledge my dad related to me, and I wanted to pass those messages along to my son,” he says,

He wrote, co-produced and edited the 9-minute story, shot in HD on an HPX3000 that was donated by Fletcher Chicago.

Marshalling a small crew of around 20, most of them found through Columbia College and the Chicago Producer’s Alliance, Singleton pulled the film together in four weeks “from scripting to completion.”

An adjunct instructor at Columbia College Chicago, Singleton has previously directed “The Forgotten West,” a short documentary about Civil War “Buffalo Soldiers” and teaches “Introduction to Digital Cinema” and “Advanced Digital Cinema” at Chicago Filmmakers.

Still not resting on his laurels, Singleton recently filmed two PSAs, Respiratory Health Association and Chicago Fire Dept., which are due to air on Chicago stations, and is now looking for a script that he can develop into a feature for under $500,000.

To watch and vote for “The Porter,” see

Vincent Singleton’s phone is 773/412-7894; Email: