Spike Lee "Claps Back" At Chiraq Critics

Spike Lee wants to "do the right thing" in Chicago. But his upcoming film project, "Chiraq", has attracted all of the wrong attention before one single frame has been filmed. 

This morning, he held a press conference at St. Sabina Church to address his critics. "Wait 'til the movie comes out," Lee advised the naysayers. According to multiple outlets, the premise of the film is based on Lysistrata-- a Greek tale about women withholding sex to keep their men from fighting.

(Lee fails to give credit to the 2003 B-movie, "A Miami Tail" --starring rapper Trina-- which featured the same concept.)

The Economic Impact of "Chiraq"

At today's conference, Lee reported that "Chiraq" has a $15 million budget. In addition to that, the film is expected to bring $40 million to Chicago in various ways.  The film, distributed and produced by Amazon Studios, will be filmed in Englewood-- a neighborhood ranked as one of the nation's most violent.

While the Illinois Film Office has a welcoming approach to big productions, there are some who want to halt Lee's desire for a $3 million tax break. Last week, Chicago alderman Will Burns (4th Ward) submitted a resolution to have the Illinois Film Office reject Lee's possible request.  

What Will A Tax Credit Do?
  
The Illinois Film Production Tax Credit, signed in December 2008, "consists of 30% of Illinois production spending" and applicants must provide a diversity plan which represents the State. 

If granted the credit, Lee's production could receive additional credits if employees come from an impoverished area. Given that the film is set in Englewood, paid extras and general staff from Chicago's South Side could contribute to a quid pro quo arrangement. (In other words, there will be a mutual exchange.) 

Yet, some critics claim that unions benefit from the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit because it applies to Illinois labor only. Being that Illinois is a not "right-to-work" state, unions play a major role in hiring practices.  (Right-to-work allows workers to escape unionism.) 

For Lee's team, time is running out. The application must be received within 24 hours of principal photography.

Hopefully, Lee's investment will pay off for the citizens of "Chiraq" and not just pad the pockets of his production company-- 40 Acres And A Mule-- and Amazon Studios.  



Lee with Bonita Foster, who lost her daughter Porshe to violence in November 2012.
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