Spike Lee talks CHI-Raq, the first Amazon Original Film


Spike Lee and Amazon have come together for the first Amazon original film, CHI-Raq, and it’s starting to generate some buzz before the Toronto Film Festival.

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CHI-Raq stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Angela Basset, Teyonah Parris, John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was written by Spike Lee and Kevin Willimont.

In an exclusive interview with Deadline, Spike Lee outlined what makes CHI-Raq important and also touched on what it’s like to work with Amazon on their first film, via Deadline.

"Well, there’s a situation in America where young black men are killing young black men at alarming rates and Chicago, or Chiraq, is really like the poster boy for this. Again I’d like to state that in no way shape or form we saying that this only happens in Chicago."

Lee is one of the biggest, most successful filmmakers in the world for a variety of reasons, but as he stated in the interview, he doesn’t just make movies to make movies. He makes movies to make people react, and I think this quote from Lee symbolizes just that, via Deadline:

"I would just be irresponsible as a filmmaker to not comment on this self-inflicted genocide, which is happening. We shot the film in Chicago but here’s the thing. It’s not all of Chicago, that’s why it reminds me of Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities. The majority of the shootings and the killings are in the south side of Chicago. Chicago – I mean I’m not the only one to say this – arguably is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S.. And the bulk of these shooting and killings are on the South Side. I would like to give you a fact. We started shooting this film this past June 1 and our last day of filming was July 9 so think about that. During that time of production while we were in Chicago, 331 got wounded and shot and 65 got murdered. From June 1 to July 9, 331 people got wounded and shot, 65 got murdered. And one of the issues that we talk about in this film is that guns are out of control here in America. There has to be some gun reform and that is going to be a fight because you have to go up against the NRA, the National Rifle Association. And their lobby is very very powerful."

Amazon has not announced when exactly CHI-Raq will be released, but it will be released in theaters prior to the Amazon Prime Video release. Currently, the film is slated for a 2016 release.

We’ll keep you posted for the trailer and more news about CHI-Raq when the news breaks!

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