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Interview: Producer Dane Haiken on ‘Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2,’ Premiering on May 14, 2016

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CHICAGO – Full Spectrum Features is one of new production outlets in town, but they are quickly making a mark. Their goal is to get the quality filmmaking that takes place in Chicago to a wider audience, and they are about to launch “Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2,” continuing from their Vol. 1 success. Vol. 2 will premiere on Saturday, May 14th, 2016, at the Facets Cinémathéque on the city’s north side, and have a run there through May 19th. Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will moderate a Q&A after the premiere screening.

One of the producers of the shorts program – with Eugene Sun Park – is Dane Haiken of Full Spectrum Features. He had an education background before moving to Chicago in 2012, and sought to merge his former background working with underprivileged kids and social justice with his love of film. He joined Full Spectrum in 2015, around the time they secured their non-profit status, and now is their Program Director. The company’s mission is to increase diversity in film production, distribution and exhibition in the Chicago independent film community.

Chicagoland Shorts
’Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2,’ Presented by Full Spectrum Features
Photo credit: Full Spectrum Features

Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2 is a 90 minute anthology program of shorts by men and women filmmakers, with diverse voices in the LGBTQ community, persons of color and other underrepresented voices, in various genres and styles. The May 14th premiere at Facets will include a reception after the screening. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

HollywoodChicago.com spoke to Dane Haiken about the event, and the company philosophy of providing the outlet for the “spectrum” of voices in the cinema art.

HollywoodChicago.com: You take pride in creating diversity within this program, with shorts by women, LGBTQ cinema and persons of color. What can an audience expect with that type of diversity?

Dane Haiken: The first thing to note is that these are short films, which is an unappreciated and largely unseen art form in and of itself. And when we put together this set of shorts, with the common thread of their origins in Chicago, with its environment and midwestern mind set, there is an opportunity to get something out of it that you wouldn’t necessarily get out of a feature.

In one package, there is a new voice every 5-10 minutes, and since Roger Ebert once called film ‘the empathy machine,’ it gives the audience an way to step into a life they don’t know about. With a collection like this, we get perspectives that are different than the single point of view in a feature film.

HollywoodChicago.com: A couple generations ago, filmmakers in these thematic categories rarely got the opportunity to express their cinematic presence. In your opinion, how has the tech revolution changed the game in regards to acceptance of new voices?

Haiken: You mentioned the tech revolution, and people often decry that the wider access to filmmaking will be the death of cinema, but it’s also the dam bursting open to give new points of view a chance to be heard. Personally, I’m equally excited to experience the old model like the screening on Saturday, and the new model of YouTube and Vimeo. We’re trying the bridge the gap between the old and new, by screening – at a traditional theater – the shorts from around the area we’ve found through festivals and online.

HollywoodChicago.com: What quality do you believe that all of the short films have, beyond their subject matter, that unite them emotionally?

Haiken: I produced this collection with Eugene Sun Park, the Director of Full Spectrum Features, and it was curated by Beckie Stocchetti from the Chicago Film Office and Dan Rybicky from Kartemquin Films. We asked for their curatorial impressions for the final product, and the overall tone of it is like a piece of art as it comes together, regarding momentum and flow. There is no theme per se – we have social commentary, sci-fi and comedy – so if there was an over-arching emotion it would be one of ‘exciting whiplash’ for a local scene. Even though they’re not tonally the same, we are saying ‘look what is happening in this city.’

Parietal Guidance
’Parietal Guidance,’ Part of Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2
Photo credit: Full Spectrum Features

HollywoodChicago.com: What is the farthest point between two of the shorts, as to where they are set or located, and again what commonality do they share?

Haiken: We have a film by Hong Kim [“The Fever”], who was once an intern at Full Spectrum Productions. She’s from South Korea, and filmed it there. The farthest from that point is the two films shot here on gun violence, by Lonnie Edwards [“Parietal Guidance”] and Shiri Burson [“Ayinde’s Video Game”]. Those are happening right in our back yard. They are thematically linked, because all of them are about at-risk youth, and that happens everywhere. All are about youth that are left to fend for themselves, with no help in sight.

HollywoodChicago.com: How would you pitch this program to the rest of the world beyond Chicago, and the audience for Saturday, and what would you like to emphasize within that pitch?

Haiken: If you’re in Chicago, you’ll want to see that quality filmmaking is not just in Los Angeles and New York City, that this city is producing world class independent films, in all types of genres and categories. For those outside the city, if you want a sampling of everything Chicago filmmakers have to offer, then ‘Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2’ is that program.

Full Spectrum Features presents “Chicagoland Shorts Vol. 2,’ May 14th through 19th, 2016, at Facets Cinémathéque – 1517 W. Fullerton Avenue, Chicago. The premiere screening, 5pm on Saturday, May 14th, will include a Q&A moderated by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, and a reception afterward.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Writer, Editorial Coordinator
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2016 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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