Written by on Jun 2, 2015. Posted in On Location

Spike Lee starts filming crime feature Chiraq on location in Chicago

Filmmaker Spike Lee has started filming his new movie, crime feature Chiraq, in Chicago. The city is a popular filming location and, particularly for television. Cinespace Chicago Film Studios has recently expanded and hosts several hit dramas, including the breakout hit Empire.

Lee’s production will tell the story of black-on-black violence in a part of the city notorious for its crime problems.

The title Chiraq has caused local controversy as it’s taken from regional rap lyrics that compare Chicago to war zones in Iraq because of the high homicide rate in the black community.

City authorities were previously reluctant to support the film unless the name was changed and it remains unclear whether the production will benefit from Illinois’ 30% filming incentive.

Illinois state senator Jacqueline Collins has been one vocal supporter of the project, focussing on the economic benefits the film is likely to deliver locally.

“The communities I represent are buffeted by unemployment, depressed property values and a chronic lack of investment,” Collins said in a statement.

“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.”

Chicago hosts several high-profile TV shows including the Dick Wolf productions Chicago Fire and Chicago PD. Family drama Empire (above) is set against the backdrop of the music industry and was an unexpected ratings phenomenon when it was launched last year.

Illinois faces stiff competition from elsewhere in the US. The Divergent film series is set in a dystopian Chicago but switched filming locations to Atlanta after the first movie became a hit.

(Image: Chuck Hodes/Fox)


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