MAPH alums Tom Bailey and Brendan Kredell’s documentary film, No Halfsteppin’,
will air on WTTW-11 for its first broadcast on Thursday, January 31 (10:30pm CST), and on Sunday, February 3 (12midnight, CST [note that this is technically Monday, February 4]).
The film is a 17-minute minidoc that portrays Brian Wharton, a.k.a. Sharkula, an aspiring rapper who dreams of fame while selling his self-produced CDs on the streets and trains of Chicago. As MAPH students in 2004, Bailey and Kredell developed the idea for this film in a documentary class here at the U of C. In 2007, the film first aired as the finale to a 60-minute series of minidocs–each capturing some facet of the City of the Big Shoulders– titled Chicago 360 v.2. Chicago 360 v.2 is the second installment in a documentary project being launched by nonprofit film production company, Split Pillow. The Chicago 360 project recruits filmmakers and grants them $360 to produce a minidocumentary that captures some aspect of Chicago’s narratives, landscapes, and subcultures. The project’s end goal is 10 hours of documentary film, produced over a decade, that will constitute a mosaic portrait of the city.
No Halfsteppin’ has been called “disconcerting but affecting” and has been praised for doing “a nice job of capturing Sharkula’s charms and torments.” In an interview with Time Out Chicago, Kredell has reflected on the process of creating such a portrait: “We [he and Bailey] were very conscious of our status as filmmakers who go home to warm beds. With a project like this, you want to maintain respect for your subject without papering over the realities of his situation. But whenever we defined Brian by his problems, we’d hear about people in, say, Kentucky, who really love his music or meet people who buy all his CDs. The ethical pitfalls are the same ones you’d encounter with any outsider artist, and I hope our efforts to get the right tone have paid off.”
Judge for yourself– tune in to channel 11 on Thursday or Sunday!
To check out Split Pillow and the Chicago 360 project, go to www.splitpillow.com.