'The Area' is the five-year odyssey of a South Side Chicago neighborhood, where more than 400 African-American families are being displaced by a multi-billion-dollar freight company. The film follows homeowner-turned-activist Deborah Payne, who vows to be “the last house standing,” and the RowRow Boys, teen friends who must start a new life across gang lines.
“An eye-opening saga of resistance.” ★★★★ -- Chicago Reader
Scrappers Film Group presents a David Schalliol film
2018 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
2018 Black Harvest Film Festival
Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago: 2-week extended theatrical run
20+ community/educational screenings, Fall 2018/Winter 2019
Press & screening history: theareafilm.com
Financial & other assistance provided by:
IFP: Documentary Labs 2017
City of Chicago DCASE
David Schalliol (Director, Producer, & Cinematographer) is an assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College who specializes in visual sociology. In addition to working on The Area, he has contributed to films including the ITVS/Kartemquin Films feature Almost There and the National Film Board of Canada's Highrise: Out My Window, an interactive documentary that won the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction. Schalliol is also a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in such publications as Artforum, Mas Context, The New York Times, and Social Science Research, as well as in numerous exhibitions and collections, including the inaugural Belfast, Northern Ireland Photo Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. The Japanese publisher Utakatado released his first book, Isolated Building Studies, in 2014.
Brian Ashby (Producer & Editor) is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker. He began his career co-directing the feature Scrappers, a chronicle of two families surviving in Chicago's informal scrap metal economy, and one of Roger Ebert’s Best Documentaries of 2010. Ashby’s feature-length projects as producer include Central Standard: On Education, broadcast nationally on PBS WORLD channels, and Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists, screened internationally at venues including the Liverpool Biennial. His contributions as editor or cinematographer to recent short-form projects include Accident, MD (Independent Lens national broadcast), Speaking Is Difficult (2016 Sundance Film Festival), and Nomination (IDA-nominated, 2016).
Deborah Payne (Producer) is a life-long activist who is dedicated to community development on Chicago's South Side. She has served as president of the Sherwood Peace Association, the Southwest Federation of Block Clubs, the CAPS Domestic Violence Subcommittee (7th District), and the Sherwood Local Advisory Council, and has worked as a community liaison and photographer for Teamwork Englewood, Chicago Embassy Church, and the Englewood Railroad Coalition.
Hailing from the Fox Valley, West of Chicago, Phoelix (Composer) has been constructing a kingdom of his own. On projects like Telefone, Bucket List Project, and Blkswn, he has implemented his own unique taste and influence that blends with eclectic artists such as Noname, Saba, Smino, and producers Monte Booker and Cam O’bi. Out of the studio, he has also toured with Noname, Smino, Eryn Allen Kane, and Jamila Woods.
Peter Galassi (Editor) is an editor, director, and colorist. Peter edited the PBS documentary web series Central Standard: On Education, which follows five 8th-graders as they try to get into Chicago's selective enrollment high schools, and Rights Lab, a web series focused on Civil Liberties. Peter produced and edited the feature documentary, Your Name is My Name, which explores the lives of albino children in Zimbabwe.
Dan Rybicky (Consulting Producer) is an award-winning filmmaker and tenured professor in Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago. He produced and co-directed ITVS/Kartemquin Films' critically-acclaimed feature documentary Almost There, which screened at over thirty festivals before being distributed theatrically, digitally, and on public television in 2016.