InHouse Films: A New Era of Hood Cinema out of Chicago's Westside
While Chicago was getting riled up over Spike Lee’s controversial film, “Chiraq”, young filmmaker, Antonio Spells was shooting “The Chicagoan”.
“The Chicagoan” is about a young man in west Chicago who was framed for a murder he did not commit. While this may sound like your typical Chicago story line centered around the violence that paints the city, Spells felt the need to embody the culture of Chicago the way he knew it, featuring actors and music based in the city.
“I want to tell Chicago stories because when I look at cinema I never see anyone that represents me. I want to make characters that Chicago can relate to; look at my movies and say, ‘I gotta cousin like that.’ Besides what he did with Chiraq, [Spike Lee] is still one of my favorite directors.”
“I knew I wanted to do films but I didn’t have a camera and I only knew people with cameras. I had to network with them and be around them just to learn before I even had what I needed.”
The inspiration for the name InHouse Films was inspired by his will to complete “The Chicagoan” solely based on building relationships with people who were already in the industry in exchange for resources or knowledge he needed; everything was done “in house”.
He said along with the support of his best friend and an iPhone he was able to bring the vision of his first film to life.
The night of the premiere for “The Chicagoan” Spells and his crew rented out a space to hold 300 people while only selling 40 tickets prior to the showing. Spells showed up to see a full house and over 100 people who had reached maximum capacity.
“It was beautiful. We had finished the movie and still nobody believed me. We had tickets printed out, I’m selling tickets and people still didn’t believe me. I was late and as soon as I came in every seat was filled, it was beautiful. The reactions [to the film] and the feeling was just really ecstatic.”
Since the premiere of the “The Chicagoan”, he has been able to continue building InHouse Films and has some big plans in store. “Swiperz” is set to release summer 2018 in a Chicago theatre near you.
He is constantly building with people in the film industry and remains to keep inner city Chicago in mind.
Make sure you follow InHouse Films on social media @inhousefilmschicago and stay tuned!