Director Spike Lee won’t apologize for “Chiraq” title

Director Spike Lee

SPIKE LEE has no reason to apologize to Chicago politicians for titling his Chicago-set anti-violence feature “Chiraq” and he won’t stop highlighting gun violence in America.

He feels it’s his responsibility as a filmmaker to produce a film that reflects the harsh realities of Chicago’s unending crime levels.

Starting in June, Lee spent just over one month filming on the South Side.  During that period he noted the gratuitous shootings: 331 people were shot and wounded and 65 were murdered,” he related in a Deadline Hollywood interview.

“I would just be irresponsible as a filmmaker to not comment on this self-inflicted genocide, which is happening,” he said. “The majority of the shootings and the killings are in the South Side of Chicago.

“Chicago – I mean I’m not the only one to say this – arguably is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S.” 

“One of the issues that we talk about in this film is that guns are out of control here in America,” he said. “There has to be some gun reform and that is going to be a fight because you have to go up against the NRA, the National Rifle Association. And their lobby is very, very powerful.” 

THE TOP EMMY WINNER, the outstanding spot of the entire 2015 competition, and deservedly so, is Leo Burnett’s compelling spot, “#Like a Girl” at NATAS’ annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in L.A.

Directed by Lauren Greenfield and produced by Chelsea Pictures, it was edited by Cutters editor/partner Kathryn Hempel.


Creative directors Judy John and Becky Swanson led the creative team of digital creative director Milos Obradovic; writers AJ Hassan and Angel Capobianco; art directors Hmi Hmi Gibbs and Nick Bygraves; producer, Adine Becker.


“Like a Girl” takes issue with generations of playground taunts about running, throwing or fighting “like a girl,” asking, “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?” It went viral when it debuted in June 2014 and wound up getting a slot during halftime at the 2015 Super Bowl.


COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION reported this week continues to be strong.  On location: From LA, Supply & Demand films for Northwestern Medicine … Radical Media next week here for four days of locations for Goose Island Beer … Locally, STORY’s Rich Michell shoots at a Jersey Mike’s sub store … One at Optimus’ Kenmore spot for Havas directed by Michael Chaves … Radar for Kmart.


Texas-based Directorz shoot at Ragu spaghetti sauce spot on stage … Dictionary Films is up in Green Bay for Wisconsin Ford Dealers Association.


Also:  WTTW director/DP Ed Griffin wrapped a new series called “Chicago’s South Side” with Geoffrey Baer, host of many city tour shows, is now in post.

And the 15th season of David Manilow’s “Check Please” premieres Aug. 16 hosted by Catherine DeOrio.  You can almost catch the aromas coming from featured restaurants in the opener: Pleasant House Bakery in Bridgeport, Parachute in Lakeview and Nando Milano in Wicker Park. 

This year's CIFF poster winnerA LOT OF FIRSTS for the 51st Chicago International Film Festival, such as four Industry Days during the event and its first-ever international poster contest.

The winner is Tsung-Hui (Mavis) Kuo-Crary from Taiwan, who receives the $1,000 prize. Finalists live in Chicago, LA, Mexico, Poland, Iran, and their work may be seen here.

CIFF received more than 275 submissions from artists in 41 countries. They were asked to interpret and convey the theme “because everybody loves movies” into their drawing.

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PHOTOGRAPHER PAUL NATKIN kicks off Tribeca Flashpoint’s new Tribeca Speaks series, presented the last Thursday of every month, starting  Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.  Held at Tribeca Flashpoint, 28 N. Clark, it’s free and open to all.  

STAY TUNED.  Starting shortly in ReelChicago, Gary Adcock will share with Reel readers his wide-ranging knowledge of technologies that are at the heart of today’s rapidly changing production workflow. 

FALL BUSINESS IS ON THE RISE and that means more opportunities for you to share your news with the Reel’s ever-expanding readership.  Send to or phone 312/274-9980.