Chi~Voices: A Poetic Film Series - A media project with six premier poets who creatively express their personal experiences with violence in their communities through Spoken Word and Film. With the project, we aim to showcase personal stories directly from citizens of the community, not politicians, corporations, or news media. Our intention is to showcase the film series to show how violence effects our environment, economy, and humanity.
We chose to use Spoken Word and Film as our creative platform because today's generation is all about images, what we can visually see and understand. The art of Spoken Word will be incorporated because Chicago specifically has a strong underground poetry scene that has yet to other parts of the city as well as the country. All of the poets featured in the series heavily explore violence in their work.
The Chi~Voices team will target all constituents, particularly at-risk youth urging them to utilize their talents to make a positive impact in the world around them and to leave a legacy of good and not evil. Through our partner, The BRIJ Fund, Chi~Voices was able to collaborate with the Institute For Positive Living (IPL) in the Bronzeville, a southside neighborhood of Chicago. A few of the poets from Chi~Voices held poetry workshops to help increase the literacy and performance skill sets of the youth in the Youth Working For Success program at IPL. Currently, Shiri Burson (Director of Chi~Voices) is putting the pieces created by the youth at IPL together to make one solid poem. A few of those youth at IPL will also be featured in the series as well.
Our film will dig deeper into socioeconomic issues, broken homes, lack of direction, absent role models, gang warfare, and emotional distress; many of which breed violence. Each poet tackles an element of each of these factors and brings them to life.
In order to reach our wide audience, we plan to collaborate with area high schools, youth centers and various nonprofits to showcase the film. It’s vital that students see this project. It will ignite a contagious fire that crafts a life beyond the violent streets. Using this film as an educational tool will impact how we all think about our future, ourselves, and the community in which we live. The film series will enable them to be the authors of their own destiny.
With Chi~Voices, we can accomplish a sense of creative expression, strength and discovery for those who continue to struggle with the loss of loved ones due to youth violence.
-Kush Thompson: An 18-year-old spoken word artist, activist, and emerging teaching artist for the Young Chicago Authors organization.
-Joy "Melodic" Heard: A recent 2013 graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Arts Management, Joy continues to share her social - political poetry intertwined with song at local poetry and open mic spots throughout the city.
-Shelyse Santiago-Opio: This year is Shelyse's second year competing in the Louder Than A Bomb youth poetry festival with her team from U Media. She hopes to help educate people worldwide on issues in Chicago through her poetry.
-Brandon Holmes: Brandon is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois in Chicago, where he received his B.F.A in theatre performance. He has performed in many noteable venues including: Steppenwolf Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Urban Theater company, Collaboraaction’s Sketchbook and Victory Gardens One Minute Play Festival.
-Edye Deloch-Hughes: Edye is an award-winning writer, producer, creative director and published author.
- Brea Harris: Poet of WE: The Collective Spoken Word group, Actress.
- Frankiem Mitchell: Founder of WE: The Collective Spoken Word Group, 24 Years Black, Cuban, Haitian Born in Madison, WI. Raised in Chicago, IL.
Risks and challenges
Chicago violence escalates yearly leaving communities, citizens and leaders struggling to find a long-term solution to cease the unjust bloodshed staining our streets. There is no single-handed solution that can end the violent jungle, but there is a dire need for an accumulation of economics, accountability, a shift in mentality but most of all: A shared citywide vision.
Without a vision, the people will perish.
The Chi~Voices team has lined up with a lot of resources, especially for post-production. Our main risk & challenge is the $2,000 for a camera, lighting and sound equipment. Please help us finish what we have already started.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)