Documentary “Chicago at the Crossroad” to feature how the end of public hosuing re-shaped the Chicago area

WTTW to air latest Chicago-based documentary Thursday night  

Fresh off the critical success of City So Real comes another documentary about urban life in Chicago – only this time, it deals with even gritter subject matter.

Thursday night, PBS station WTTW is premiering the Emmy-nominated Chicago at the Crossroad, a one-hour documentary about the demolition of public housing in Chicago and how it lead in an increase in violent crime in the Chicago area, especially on the city’s West and South Sides, south suburbs, and Northwest Indiana as those former residents moved into those areas. 

Technically, there is still public housing in Chicago from the Chicago Housing Authority to the Housing Authority of Cook County in the suburbs, and many are for seniors. But the number of units have sharply declined over the years as public high rise projects such as Cabrini-Green and Robert Taylor Homes and projects in suburban Summit, Robbins, and Ford Heights were closed and demolished years ago. Most of those units were never replaced. 

Here’s the logline, from the film’s website:

Chicago at the Crossroad tells the story of a city caught in the violent aftermath of a policy of mass displacement shaded by a long history of segregation. Much is said about the violence that plagues Chicago’s hyper-segregated communities. But what is known about the systems that created them, the laws that isolated them, and the policies that abandoned them? And how does a city heal from the decades of heartbreak and pain? This is that story…

The one-hour documentary premieres Thursday at 8 on WTTW, with encore presentations Sunday at 5 p.m. and Friday morning at 6 a.m. on WTTW’s Prime subchannel 11.2.

The documentary is written, produced, and directed by Brian Schodorf, who is an Emmy-Award winning producer whose company Schodorf Media Creative produced Chicago At The Crossroad. The documentary has already been nominated for seven Chicago/Midwest Chapter Emmy Awards, including for Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Program.

City at the Crossroad is the latest Chicago-based documentary to spotlight the city’s racial segregation and gun violence epidemic to date as the city continues to suffer on the global stage thanks to exposure from right-wing pundits, Fox News, and soon-to-be former President Donald Trump, who constantly bashed the city on the issue every chance he got.

The documentary debuts two weeks after City So Real premiered on NatGeo and Hulu, which covered the 2019 Chicago Mayoral race and unrest after the murder of George Floyd. Since the premiere, the five-hour series has earned critical acclaim with a 93 score on Metacritic and a 96 score on Rotten Tomatoes, earning a Certified Fresh label – all a huge improvement over CNN’s inane Chicagoland in 2014, which was basically an infomercial for then-mayor Rahm Emanuel (I’ll review City So Real here in a few weeks.) Canada’s CBC also featured Chicago’s issues with gun violence and racial segregation in an episode of the now-canceled arts series Interrupt This Program in 2017.

WTTW itself has produced documentaries on Chicago’s gun violence under the banner First Hand, who covered the subject last year and the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Here’s the trailer for Chicago at the Crossroad: The film is also available on Amazon Prime.

 

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