Producer Bob Teitel and partner George Tillman have three movies slated for Chicago production

With his Columbia College classmate, director George Tillman, producer Bob Teitel of State Street Films helped launch a quiet revolution in African American dramatic entertainment.

Their breakout film, “Soul Food,” became the longest-running African American TV drama ever and they are responsible for a big chunk of Chicago production in recent years with the “Barbershop” movies and “Roll Bounce.”

ReelChicago: You and George are known as part of the small group of Chicagoans who have succeeded in bringing Hollywood productions here. What gives you that commitment to your hometown?

Bob Teitel: It’s a love affair with the city. My family is still there and I was raised there. Chicago has always been a character in our movies. It has its own perspective, and it’s a perspective that’s not portrayed enough in movies. It’s a combination of both coasts that’s unique unto itself.

ReelChicago: How has working in Chicago benefited your productions?
Teitel: As a producer it’s helped our movies in a lot of ways. We know everybody, the crews and the actors. It’s such a tight knit group and it shows onscreen.

Even going back to when we were doing our first, $150,000 movie “Scenes from the Soul,” we’ve built relationships with our crews that we’ve carried on through our films. We’ve kept the same group of people through “Soul Food” and the “Barbershop” movies and “Roll Bounce.”

ReelChicago: How have you overcome studio resistance to shooting in Chicago?
Teitel: You’re constantly convincing them and selling them on reasons why. I like to think it’s become easier after doing five films there. We’ve got a niche. We’re known for doing movies there. Even on “Roll Bounce,” they wanted to take it to New Orleans.

Fortunately we’ve been successful at it. That’s undeniable. Why ruin a good thing? We’re very comfortable working there. We’ve got such a great infrastructure. Since the [Illinois Film Tax Credit was] passed, it’s made my spiel to the studios easier.