About The Area

The Area is a feature-length documentary film about a South Side Chicago neighborhood being demolished to make way for an intermodal freight yard. Since September 2011, residents have been living on borrowed time, maintaining friendships and traditions while struggling with new problems in their vanishing community. The film follows homeowner-turned-activist Deborah Payne, who vows to be "the last house standing," and the RowRow Boys, a group of teen friends who must start a new life in unfamiliar gang territory.

The first documentary short film from the project was published by Gapers Block as part of its documentary film series, The Grid. The short was celebrated by Chicago magazine, Chicago Public Radio, South Side Weekly, and IndieWire, and it won a Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club.

After nearly five years of filming, post-production work on the feature-length film started in autumn 2016.

The Area is a production of Scrappers Film Group. It is a 2017 IFP Documentary Labs awardee and is supported by the Graham Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The film was also a participant in the Tribeca Film Institute/Kartemquin Films Tribeca Hacks program.

Donate to The Area

Tax-deductible donations may be made to the production of The Area through its fiscal sponsor, Chicago Filmmakers, using the button below:

Featured Event

On Friday, December 9th, we celebrated five years of filming The Area with drinks, music by DJ Damon Locks, a sneak peek of new scenes, a multi-screen video installation, and an exhibition of The Area's director and cinematographer David Schalliol's photographs in one of the city's innovative new spaces, Lost Arts. The event was made possible in part due to generous sponsorship by Chicago Cityscape.

Chicago Cityscape

News to The Area

Return to this website or follow The Area on Twitter for updates about the film.