Podtalk: Writer/Producer Alice Austen on ‘Give Me Liberty,’ in Chicago through Sept. 26, 2019

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (2 votes)

CHICAGO – Moving from writing plays for the stage to writing for film may seem like a natural transition. But at the roots in each of these separate storytelling forms there are different ways of formulating the connection between dialogue and visuals. Alice Austen made this transition when she wrote – with director Kirill Mikhanovsky – the story and screenplay for “Give Me Liberty.”

Drive, He Said: Inside the Med Van in ‘Give Me Liberty’
Photo credit: Music Box Films

“Give Me Liberty” involves medical transport driver Vic (Chris Galust), who is perpetually late for his mostly handicapped clients, but it’s not his fault. Roads are closed for a protest, and no one else can shuttle his Russian grandfather and émigré friends to a funeral. The new route uproots his scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer in a breakout performance), a vibrant young woman with ALS. As the day goes from hectic to off-the-rails, their collective ride becomes a hilarious, compassionate, and intersectional portrait of American dreams and disenchantment. The remarkable film focuses on the forgotten and underground demographic in the U.S., who cling to their agendas and hope despite outwardly difficult lives.

Alice Austen was an international lawyer-turned-writer, and has had acclaim both in Chicago and nationally. She received residencies from Film Independent and the Royal Court (London), the Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres in Chicago, and her work has been honored with the Richard Vague Film Prize, Terrence McNally Award - Premiere Five, Women at the Door Award and is a local Joseph Jefferson Award Nominee for Best New Work. Her stage adaptation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” for the Steppenwolf Theatre was a four-star notable production, and she is currently working on “Bolshoi” with Simon Shuster and Jeff Calhoun (“Newsies”).

Alice Austen, Producer and Co-Writer of of ‘Give Me Liberty’
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for HollywoodChicago.com

In the following Podtalk, Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com talks with Alice Austen about the authenticity of “Give Me Liberty,” the notable casting of the film and her adaptation of “Animal Farm.”

”Give Me Liberty” is at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Avenue, Chicago through September 26th, 2019. Click here for tickets and details. Featuring Chris Galust, Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, Maxim Stoyanov and Zoya Makhlina. Written by Kirill Mikhanovsky and Alice Austen. Directed by Kirill Mikhanovsky. Not Rated.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions