CollinsFloorShot7Senator Collins has garnered nationwide attention for her support for a film called "Chiraq" and its production in a community she represents. Currently filming in Englewood, the movie is expected to address the violent crime plaguing many low-income, predominantly minority communities in Chicago (and around the country); it also promises to impact thousands of local residents and businesses through employment and contracting opportunities.

Collins recently introduced a resolution, which the Senate adopted, calling on the state of Illinois to grant "Chiraq" the same tax credit it awards to other productions that meet eligibility criteria by employing Illinois residents and investing in disadvantaged areas. In standing for the economic boon to her community and the artistic and social value of telling the truth about violence, she took on critics who felt the name Chiraq (originally a rap term comparing the murder rate in Chicago to the death toll in the Iraq War) was insulting to Chicagoans.

On June 4, she appeared on CNN to discuss Spike Lee's project and its value to the 16th District. Please click below to learn more about job opportunities on the set and why Collins believes "Chiraq" is good for Chicago and Illinois.

 

99thGALogo webCollins: Film “Chiraq” to create jobs, spur economy, tell truth about violence
Collins leads Senate in urging state support for Spike Lee film

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) led the Senate today in commending director Spike Lee for his decision to film “Chiraq” in the Southside Chicago neighborhood of Englewood, creating thousands of jobs and investing in the local economy.

A resolution she sponsored urges the state to find Lee’s production company eligible for a tax credit designed to encourage television and film productions to employ Illinoisans and contract with Illinois vendors.

“The communities I represent are buffeted by unemployment, depressed property values and a chronic lack of investment,” Collins said. “This film will provide not only temporary jobs but also valuable training and experience for those hired, and local businesses will benefit from the opportunity to provide goods and services to the production.”

Lee intends to hire nearly 3,000 extras, 100 crew members and 20 interns starting this summer; most will be residents of Englewood, whose 21.3 percent unemployment rate far exceeds the state and national average, and neighboring communities. Englewood will also be home to ninety percent of the locations used in the film.

Director Spike Lee, best known for his compelling treatments of race in America in movies such as “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X,” has said that “everything I’ve done has led up to this film.” His proposed title – “Chiraq” – has generated controversy, but Collins says she and many residents welcome an honest look at the violent crime that helps perpetuate the cycle of poverty and economic neglect in Englewood and disadvantaged communities throughout the state.

“Communities such as Englewood need better statistics, not better semantics; a commitment to people, not perceptions and a focus on public safety and the public good, not merely public relations,” Collins said. “This film will challenge society’s acceptance of the unacceptable in its forgotten corners, and by generating jobs and economic growth, it will also serve as part of the solution.”

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