The new movie “Echo Boomers” has an important local circuit. Not only is it based in Chicago and partially shot in the city in 2019, with iconic shots at Union Station and along the L tracks of Wabash Avenue, it’s also the first film by a Columbia College Chicago graduate.
Seth Savoy began writing screenplay during his undergraduate studies. He won an award for screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival.
The gritty thriller, which opens Nov. 13 at the Music Box Theater, centers on an underground criminal ring that intends to rob the rich and give recent college graduates in debt and out of work.
With the help of co-writers Kevin Bernhardt and Jason Miller, the ‘Bling Ring’ style story, based on real events, turns into a modern Robin Hood crusade that plays on the generational wealth gaps of the world. company – Echo Boomers the term for millennials who are the demographics of their baby boomer parents.
“This film certainly captures a certain bandwidth in the zeitgeist that young people rightly feel, as if no one is really thinking about their future,” said actor Michael Shannon, who plays the shady crime boss. Mel Donnelly with his usual precision. “They feel disenfranchised and want to have some control over their lives, which is very easy to understand.”
Shannon sees parallels in the film’s release at the time of the presidential election, although he says, “Voting is a much healthier way to take care of your destiny.”
The two-time Oscar nominee – whose manager Byron Wetzel is one of the film’s producers – says he’s joined the project to boost the profile of a film he thinks has something important to say.
Jacob Alexander (“I don’t know how she does it”, “Girls”) plays the part of the willing thief Chandler Gaines. He couldn’t wait to work with Shannon again. They had worked together in Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theater production of “Traitor” in 2018.
“I was working at the box office at Red Orchid when I started to feel comfortable with everyone, and I found the courage to start asking if I could attend rehearsals,” says Alexander. “Michael was working on a rendition of” Simpatico “, and [watching] taught me that there is no limit to how hard you can work because Mike pushes hard enough.
Shannon says the theater is where he “gets the most horny.” But he and Alexander say it’s important that Chicago keeps its place in the movies as well.
“It shouldn’t be limited to Los Angeles and New York,” says Shannon, who supports NewCity president and film producer Brian Hieggelke (“Dreaming Grand Avenue”) mission to establish Chicago as a base for the films. independent. movie theater. “Chicago has such a rich culture in every other aspect with theater, music and art, cinema should be on par with that.
“It’s really precarious to do these [independent] movies. It is a miracle that one of them is done. Because it’s really about having the people and the infrastructure in place. When I started in Chicago, the Illinois Film Commission was very strong and very functional, and there were a lot of big films coming here.
As a teenager, for example, Shannon appeared on “Groundhog Day”.
Without Chicago, says Savoy, “’Echo Boomers’ would never have happened. ”
He pays tribute to his professors at Columbia and says raising the majority of the funds that funded the film in Chicago was a big step.
“Chicago isn’t used enough in terms of great independent cinema, and it’s an unspoken gem,” says Savoy. “I fought so hard for him to be based here, and luckily the producers trusted me.”
Shannon also continues to appear with various Chicago bands and support concert halls fighting for their lives amid the pandemic.
He says it’s important that artistic programs of all kinds continue to exist to support young talent like Savoy and young film actors.
“I’m telling you I wouldn’t talk to you now if we didn’t have an arts education,” Shannon says. “I wouldn’t be an actor. The arts aren’t just about expression, they literally strengthen your mind and your ability to focus and concentrate. And that’s important no matter what you do for a living.
“We can’t take that away. We have to fight for it. Otherwise you’re going to end up with kids like the ones in this movie who just want to trash someone’s house.
“Echo Boomers” premieres in Chicago at 7 pm Tuesday at the Chi-Town Movies drive-in, 2343 S. Throop St., with a Zoom Q&A session with Seth Savoy. For tickets, go online at: eventbrite.com.
Selena Fragassi is a freelance writer.