Three-and-a-half years ago, I wrote that Newcity was going to make a feature film, without a project in hand or any experience in doing so, and would do it in two years. In spite of our lack of experience, our expectations for the project, both in the freshness of its content and the quality of its creation, were very high—in part because we knew your expectations would be high. And so it took a bit longer than planned to find the right project, but by last summer, we were in principal photography at various locations around Chicago.
That film, “Signature Move,” opens on September 29 at Chicago’s iconic Music Box Theatre and, needless to say, we’re thrilled. The story of a Pakistani Muslim woman who lives with her recently widowed mother, a mother who does not know that her daughter is a lesbian, or that she’s taken up wrestling classes as a release from her day job as a lawyer. She meets and falls for a Mexican-American bookstore owner, whose mother once was a luchadora. Complications and wrestling ensue.
We chose the project for the universal accessibility of its story, a mother-daughter family drama wrapped inside an indie romantic comedy, and the freshness of the Chicagoans being represented. The city has a huge South Asian and Mexican population that we rarely see on our screens. Little did we imagine, when we decided to go forward, the political turn our nation would take, that we’d elect a president who would demonize Muslims and Mexicans, often in the same sentence.
I am writing a more in-depth feature about the “making of” the movie in next month’s Film Issue. But Ray Pride interviewed our director Jennifer Reeder in this issue’s Film section.
We world premiered in March at SXSW. Since then we’ve been booked into more than sixty-five festivals, from BAMcinemaFest in Brooklyn to Frameline in San Francisco to BFI Flare in London, where we were the closing night film. At Outfest in LA we were awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best US Narrative Film, a major award for us, but one of many we’ve collected so far.
We are beyond excited to share this movie with its hometown Chicago. Please make plans to join us at the Music Box Theatre at the end of September; tickets are already on sale for some of the nights. I’ll be there.
Meanwhile, please enjoy this special issue of Newcity, covering the fall arts season, our Art 50 and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. It’s our largest in at least fifteen years!
Look for Newcity’s September 2017 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week.