Rogers Park residents filled their neighborhood movie theater for a special screening of the aptly titled “Rogers Park,” filmed and set in the North Side neighborhood.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) arranged last week’s screening at what he called the “quintessential Rogers Park movie theater,” New 400 Theater. There were two showings, and both sold out for a total of 240 tickets.
The director of “Rogers Park,” Kyle Henry, said he moved to the neighborhood in 2010. The story focuses on two diverse, troubled relationships rather than Rogers Park itself.
Lauren Kriel, a Rogers Park resident, said she first heard about the movie from her parents, who watched the film at a showing in Springfield.
“My mom talked to the filmmaker afterwards and he actually teaches up at Northwestern, and I’m a student at Northwestern, and so that drew me up here to come see it,” Kriel said.
Moore said after seeing the film at the Chicago International Film Festival, he talked to the producer to arrange a showing in the neighborhood. Part of the movie is filmed at his office.
“It really did a nice job of portraying the neighborhood. It’s not a movie about Rogers Park, but in a way it is, because … it captures sort of the spirit and milieu, if you will, of the neighborhood and the feel of it and it’s a movie about relationships,” Moore said.
Tony Fox, owner of the 400 Theater, said he planned to host another screening of the film at the end of March.
Ahead of Thursday’s screening, Henry and Moore thanked the crowd for coming and Moore’s wife thanked the audience for “giving me a date night with my husband.”
After the show, Henry, screenwriter Carlos Treviño and lead actress Sara Sevigny took questions from the audience. Some in the crowd praised the movie for its realism and another asked when it would be available on DVD.
Henry said the film depicted just “one story of many” about the neighborhood and there are a million more to be told. He said he thought Rogers Park was a place where the movie’s interracial couples would be comfortable living because of its diversity.
Henry and Treviño said they chose the actors before they created the characters, shaping the story as they went. Sevigny said she was drawn to the realistic nature of her character, Grace.
“I loved how she could break my heart personally,” Sevigny said.
Mimi Toney, who’s lived in Rogers Park for decades, said the film did a good job of portraying the location and realistic storylines.
“It was really interesting,” Toney said. “The interracial issue really had nothing to do with the relationships, it was just basically relationships.”
Resident Steve Gellman said it was nice seeing the neighborhood on the big screen.
“I recognized … the location almost every scene, almost every exterior,” Gellman said.
Treviño said he was glad to be able to show the film to an audience full of neighborhood residents.
“It was fantastic to hear that they felt like it was a very real and authentic portrayal of life here in this part of chicago and this part of life,” he said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.”