A large, Toronto-based film company, Cinespace Studios, recently purchased property in Pilsen, on Chicago’s near South Side, with plans to create an immense studio complex, according to a Nov. 2 Chicago Sun-Times article. To be called the Chicago Film Studios, it will produce both movies and television shows. The Illinois State Senate endorsed a $5 million grant for the project, which also has the support of City Hall and various labor unions. The studios will start to be renovated as early as January, according to the chairman
The studios, located near 16th Street and Western Avenue, will benefit the city as a whole by creating jobs in construction and carpentry during the renovation of the nine buildings. There will also be job openings during the construction of each film set. Once finished, the complex may have openings that will benefit Columbia students and alumni.
Chicago is already known for its contribution to the video arts, and many movies and television shows are filmed here, iconic examples being The Blues Brothers and The Dark Knight. Chicago is a great backdrop for filming due to its varying landscape and diverse neighborhoods. With Chicago’s reputation in the media arts, it makes sense for a large studio to operate here.
Because the Film & Video Department is the largest at Columbia, the college should look into forming a partnership or collaborating with Cinespace to create internships and ways for students to get their foot in the door of the industry. If it were taken advantage of, this would be an invaluable link for the department.
Having a large film production studio would be a huge advantage for Columbia students looking to work in video arts because it will be a few miles away from campus. Also, this presence and reputation could be a selling point for the college and ultimately attract more new students to the college, at a time when new student enrollment is down.
As previously stated by The Chronicle Editorial Board on Sept. 8, large arts complexes near campus benefit Columbia students, emerging artists and the larger community.