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This Chicago Filmmaker Is Transforming The City's Movie Scene

Eugene Park defies Hollywood stereotypes.

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Eugene Park / Via vimeo.com

Local Chicago Film Showcases the City's Diversity

Eugene Park is modest. He attends his own film screenings in a hoodie and jeans, sits in the back of the theater, and is quick to compliment his film crew. Raised in Michigan and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he prefers to blog about the challenges of the film business rather than self-promote; he lets his work speak for itself.

Eugene Park's most recent film, Self-Deportation, is not modest: is it is gorgeous, it is experimental, and it is impactful. Self-Deportation tells the story of a young Asian American woman searching for her place within popular American culture, only to find that she has no cultural space in her homeland. There is no dialogue in the film; the lead actress, Wanda Jin, does not say a word throughout the entire production. Instead, she wanders through a series of fantastical, whimsical, and frightening sets interspersed with her commute on the Chicago subway. Park lets his audience explore the new spaces with her through an intimate series of close-ups, and brings them along on a first-person journey through one Chicagoan's daily life in the city.

Self-Deportation gives voice to a marginalized Chicagoan, which is part of the mission of Park's new company, Full Spectrum Features. In Spring 2015, Full Spectrum Features will produce the Chicagoland Shorts series to bring more marginalized voices to the forefront through film. Chicagoland Shorts is an opportunity for local filmmakers to both showcase their works and to become part of a city-wide conversation about their lived Chicago experiences. "It's so incredibly diverse here. When you look at popular representations of Chicago you're not getting the full picture," says Park. "Hollywood has a certain idea about what Chicago is and how it should be represented and what counts as a 'Chicago story,' so I guess it's up to people here on the ground to say, 'No, this is another story of Chicago that's just as authentic and legitimate.'"

Join the Chicago-wide conversation through the Full Spectrum Features Indigogo campaign.

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