Algren will spotlight the hard-knock life and creative legacy of Chicago writer Nelson Algren, champion of the underdog. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on July 11, 2011.
About this project
PRESS COVERAGE FOR ALGREN
HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE ARTICLES WRITTEN RECENTLY ABOUT ALGREN--THE MOVIE!!
WE HAVE JUST OVER ONE WEEK--IF YOU WANT TO SUPPORT OUR WORK, NOW IS THE TIME!
A Film in 13 Chapters
“…Mr. Algren can hit with both hands and move around and he will kill you if you are not awfully careful…Mr. Algren, boy, are you good.”
Algren is the first feature length documentary that spotlights the creative legacy of one of the most underrated American writers of the twentieth century, Nelson Algren; recipient of the first National Book Award for Man With a Golden Arm (1950), Simone de Beauvior’s “Chicago Bohemian” lover, a Beat writer before the Beats, a forerunner of the Gonzo movement. Through interviews with internationally known artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers, Algren will reestablish Algren’s huge impact on countless literary and artistic champions, while defining American urban fiction.
Algren is America’s Dostoevsky and Chicago’s Dickens, filling the pages of his novels, short stories and essays with the observations of his city and the world around him. He lured his naturalistic characters out from the ramshackle tenements, grimy taverns, cluttered police departments and prison cells of the Chicago neighborhoods he visited and often called home.
Without Algren’s works, modern literature might never have dared to explore so honestly the souls of drunks and gamblers, who are willing to bet their souls and lives for that next swig of whisky. We might never have cared about prizefighters slugging out their demons to no one’s applause. Who would have chronicled those miscreants and marginalized masses that inhabit American cities? His is a body of work that carries a punch that reverberates to this day!
The film will explore how and why Algren has become the under-celebrated voice of America’s voiceless. It will show how Algren is still an artist whose compassion for humanity, for the underdogs whom he saw as “true” Americans, echoes today.
Algren’s life and work will be explored in thirteen chapters, moving from autobiographical elements through his literary works. The backdrop for this film will be the hundreds of photographs of Algren, provided to us by Chicago photographers, Art Shay and Stephen Deutch, both of whom were personal friends of Algren. Newly uncovered audio recordings of Algren will be brought to light. Lastly, rarely viewed private collages created by Algren, which reflect his life, loves and interests, are part of this film. Many of his admirers, including William Friedkin, Philip Kaufman, Barry Gifford, Wayne Kramer, John Sayles and others, will be heard discussing the movies, music and art they have created through the spark ignited by their love and understanding of Algren’s work.
Furthermore, with a great documentary as a foundation, Algren will explore critical Transmedia story elements that serve the core narrative. We can explore role-playing games that reflect the Algren persona, or view art exhibits depicting American life during specific periods of his writing, integrate fictional renditions of his life to film, or develop webisodic pieces that focus on Algren’s writings that have influenced both media and culture at large. Our Facebook Page will feature unique elements and will invite the Algren aficionados and newbie’s to participate in the core narrative, as well as give people an opportunity to become “micro producers”, receive credits and win special incentives such as an Art Shay photograph. As the Algren narrative builds, the intention is to allow these stories to develop into new media properties that then evolve into TV shows, graphic novels or collaborative art shows. Because Algren will show just how influential Algren the writer was, we believe that we have a mechanism for demonstrating this influence and make these stories into experiences that can be adopted and shared by a wide range of people.
The filmmakers are director/writer Michael Caplan, whose biography is over to the right and lower side of the page. The producers are Gail H. Sonnenfeld and Nicole Bernardi-Reis. Our transmedia producer is Gunther Sonnenfeld. We are very excited to share this project with you!
In order to complete Nelson's story, we need your help. Your donation will enable us to finishing shooting essential interviews and begin post production. Additional funds will enable us to edit the picture, mix the sound and acquire music rights so that the film can be released by the spring of 2012. Your generosity will help to preserve the boundless contributions made by Nelson Algren to American culture.
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