Englewood Film Festival aims to change community`s image - Fox 2 News Headlines

Englewood Film Festival aims to change community`s image

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Englewood is one of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods and not place where you would think movies, but filmmaker Mark Harris would like all of that to change through the eye of the lens.

For Harris, entertainment is the only way to transform his community--or the perception of it around the world. To do that, he and one of his friends started the Englewood Film Festival three years ago. Now, they have nearly 100 entries from short makers all around the world.

"You see so much hope in people's eyes and in the testimonies of the people who have been there are like wow this happened in our neighborhood," says Alisa Inez.

"I have to put positive images up," Harris explains. "I film most of my films…these films have been filmed in Englewood and I'm always---always conscious of the images I put out."

While he's putting out those images, the Englewood Film Festival is creating jobs and much needed revenue in an area nearly at its limit on foreclosures, unemployment and gun violence.

It's called the Englewood Film Festival but there are no movie theatres in the community so most of the panel discussions about the films will be taking place west of Englewood in Chatham.

Getting local residents and people from around interested in the project is tough, Harris says, because of the negative headlines. Getting people from around the world to attend the Englewood film festival is even tougher, but Harris says he can change that.

"We want to put cafes in the community. We want to put bookstores in the community. We want to put health food stores in the community you know, we want to--we want to make Englewood like your Hyde Park or Oak Park, you know, where people come in and see what's going on in Englewood and they can be proud of it."

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