David Weathersby, Documentary Filmmaker - Chicago Reader | MCU Times

David Weathersby, Documentary Filmmaker – Chicago Reader

David Weathersby is a filmmaker and founder of the video production company City Vanguard, which focuses on documentaries about underrepresented color communities. In 2018, he received a Black Excellence Award for The color of art from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, and in 2019 his documentary You excess ball won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Black Harvest Film Festival and was named Best Film by the Chicago South Side Film Festival.

His latest film, It’s different in Chicago, explores the local stories and cultural influences of house music and hip hop as well as the relationship between these two scenes. The documentary premiered at the Gene Siskel Film Center on November 21 as part of Black Harvest Film Festival, and it will be able to stream online via Siskel Center’s website from November 24 to December 2. More info at siskelfilmcenter.org/its-different-chicago.

As told to Jamie Ludwig

I hear many complaints that there is no industry in Chicago. I do not want to speak for musicians – I know they prefer to have industry – but I think that is one of the benefits of living here. Usually, when there is industry, they dictate something, even an independent scene. But in Chicago, you have a lot of people who just create, not to impress a certain person or to necessarily be signed – they just create.

IN It’s different in Chicago, one of the lines that really came to me was from one of the hip hop artists [Phenom]. He says, “We were not trying to be famous; we were trying to be felt.” I think that sums up a lot of Chicago artists. There are a lot of people who are just trying to get branded; they create art to create art, and they are not bound down by certain arbitrary rules or expectations. There is a lot of honesty and creativity in that, and it really needs to be documented. Many times, unfortunately, because there is no name associated with what everyone knows, these artists are ignored. But I feel like their stories are just as or even more important because they are from the grassroots. They are the daily engine of music and culture.

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