Ward 47: “Essanay Studios: Chicago and the Dawn of Movies”

Filmmakers: Ensemble Members Raymond Fox & Phil Smith

“In the beginning,” there was Argyle Street and Oscar Micheaux and a Hollywood ancestor they called Chicago. Adam Selzer narrates this brief retrospective on the days when Essanay Studios was rolling out reel after reel to our rolling globe.

About the Artists


“My family first moved to Chinatown, Chicago in the 1960s. My father lived there with my family for the first ten years of his life. The story is based on what he could remember from his short time living in Chinatown. I have always loved spending time in Chinatown, and I wanted to create something that honored that neighborhood and my father’s experience.

Matthew C. Yee

Ward 47

Chicago’s 47th Ward includes Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, North Center, Uptown, Andersonville, and Lakeview.

Organizations in Ward 47 to Explore and Support

  • ArtShow Chicago, dedicated to uniting Chicago communities with local artwork while bringing light to social causes.

Restaurants to Check Out in Ward 47

Other Sites to Visit in Ward 47

  • Chinatown Square Plaza, a two-story outdoor mall, at the heart of which lie the Pan-Asian Cultural Center and 12 beautiful bronze zodiac figures.

Film Credits

Created By: Raymond Fox & Philip R. Smith
Cinematography By: Nikolaj Sorensen
Produced By: Nikolaj Sorensen
Edited By: Philip R. Smith
Sound Design and Mixing By: Philip R. Smith
Featuring & With Narration By: Adam Selzer
Sound By:
Raymond Fox & Adam Selzer
COVID Safety Officer: Harper Rothschild
Special Thanks: Arkey Adams, Kareem Bandealy, Christie Fall, Bill Savage, Josh McCammon, Adam Selzer, St. Augustine College

Originally produced by Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, IL in September 2022.

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