Posted: 07/20/2004


Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River


by Del Harvey

D.P. Carlson documents the lives of 22 Chicago directors in this fascinating collection of interviews undertaken on the Chicago River, .

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Chicago Filmmakers On The Chicago River is a documentary feature that attempts to reveal the creative processes of a number of Chicago’s own moviemakers. Indie director D.P. Carlson chose a selection of boats set upon Chicago’s landmark river as a backdrop, then filmed his interviews with each director, opening their hearts and minds to the muse that makes each unique. As the interviews unreel before us with the river lapping gently against the boats, each director shares personal stories which slowly reveal more of their persona and, in some cases, their personal motivation. Carlson includes dialogues with noted film analysts Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, Ray Pride, Dann Gire, as well as Chicago Film Office Director Richard Moskal and even a brief piece by hizzoner Da Mayor, Richard M. Daley. All of these individuals discuss how Chicago has influenced their careers, for better or worse.

Camerawork by Greg Gricus and Ron Forsythe captures the City and the directors nicely. The editing by Mike Weber is seamless, and the original music by Tom Krol adds a fine distinction to the proceedings.

D.P. Carlson has been on the Chicago film and video scene since 1990, producing and directing many independent shorts and feature length programs, as well as a cameraman on a variety of productions for Bravo, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, FoxSportsNet, CSTV and National Geographic Television. Early independent works include the documentary I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot and videos for Word Jazz artist Ken Nordine.

Since 1999 Carlson has created three short films: Homeless ‘99, Sailorman, and Johnny Dodgeball. Homeless ‘99 premiered at Dockers Classically Independent Film Festival in 1999. Later that year, Carlson received the Panavision-sponsored Founder’s Award given to the Most Promising Midwest Filmmaker. In 2000 he made the 35mm narrative short Sailorman which premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2004 D.P. Carlson will finish editing a pseudo sports documentary titled Johnny Dodgeball, another project titled The Bears-Out Of Hibernation, and a rockumentary featuring musical legend Adrian Belew

Chicago Filmmakers On The Chicago River is now available on DVD. I highly recommend this film for aspiring filmmakers, fans of the individual directors, amateur Chicago historians, or anyone who loves film.

Del Harvey is a writer and teacher at Columbia College Chicago.

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