menu Return Home News The Filmmakers Photographs Press Contact

The Filmmakers of The Area

    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.


    David Schalliol — Director, Cinematographer, and Producer

    David Schalliol is an assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College who specializes in visual sociology. In addition to working on The Area, he has contributed to films including the ITVS/Kartemquin Films feature Almost There and the National Film Board of Canada's Highrise: Out My Window, an interactive documentary that won the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction.

    Schalliol is also a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in such publications as Artforum, Mas Context, The New York Times, and Social Science Research, as well as in numerous exhibitions, including the inaugural Belfast, Northern Ireland Photo Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers Project. The Japanese publisher Utakatado released his first book, Isolated Building Studies, in 2014.

    Schalliol earned his bachelor's degree from Kenyon College and his master's and doctoral degrees from The University of Chicago.


    Brian Ashby — Editor and Producer

    Brian Ashby began his filmmaking career co-directing the feature Scrappers, a three-year chronicle of two families surviving in Chicago's informal scrap metal economy. Roger Ebert included Scrappers on his Best Documentaries of 2010 list.

    Ashby co-created and co-directs two documentary web series: The Grid, distributed through Gapers Block, and Central Standard: On Education, a co-production with WTTW11. He recently co- produced the historical documentary feature Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists, which premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

    Ashby's documentary projects have been supported by PBS Digital Studios, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, and the Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation, and have been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Liverpool Biennial, and the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

    Ashby earned his bachelor's degree from The University of Chicago.


    Peter Galassi — Editor

    Peter Galassi is a editor, director, and colorist. Recently, he finished editing Central Standard: On Education, an episodic documentary following five 8th-graders as they try to get into Chicago's selective enrollment high schools. The show debuted on WTTW11 in the fall and is currently airing on PBS Digital's YouTube channel.

    In 2012 he produced and edited a cut of the feature documentary, Your Name is My Name, which explores the lives of albino children in Zimbabwe. Directed by Osato Dixon, Your Name Is My Name was funded by a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts.

    Galassi earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University.


    Phoelix — Original Music

    Hailing from the Fox Valley, west of Chicago, Phoelix has been constructing a kingdom of his own. On projects like Telefone, Bucket List Project, and Blkswn, he has implemented his own unique taste and influence that blends with eclectic artists such as Noname, Saba, Smino, and producers Monte Booker and Cam O'bi. Out of the studio, he has also toured with Noname, Smino, Eryn Allen Kane, and Jamila Woods. Phoelix's debut project, GSPL, shows us much more of his identity through the unique sound he adds to the spectrum of music. He says, "Phoelix is like a future version of myself."


    Yana Kunichoff — Associate Producer

    Yana Kunichoff is an award-winning investigative journalist and producer based in Chicago. Her work has ranged from coverage of the Arab Spring protests in Bahrain to chronicling of the human casualties of rapidly disappearing affordable housing in Chicago.

    Kunichoff won a Sidney Hillman award for her February 2016 investigation for the Chicago Reader into the way Chicago's police union impacts the narrative around police shootings. Kunichoff's work has appeared in The Guardian,, Al Jazeera, Pacific Standard and Chicago Magazine, among many others.

    Kunichoff earned her bachelor's degree from Durham University in the UK and a MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


    Dan Rybicky — Consulting Producer

    Dan Rybicky is an award-winning filmmaker and tenured professor in Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago. He produced and co-directed ITVS/Kartemquin Films' critically-acclaimed feature documentary Almost There, which screened at over thirty festivals before being distributed theatrically, digitally, and on public television in 2016.

    Dan started his filmmaking career working with and consulting in various production capacities for Martin Scorsese, John Sayles, and John Leguizamo. Dan's latest project a short documentary about health care -- filmed in (and titled) Accident, MD -- will premiere in the coming year.

    Rybicky earned his bachelor's degree at Vassar College and his MFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.


    Luis Antonio Perez — Impact Producer

    Luis is the Communications & Social Media Manager at Scrappers Film Group. He has been telling stories through film, radio, and on stage for the last 15 years. The Chicago native's goals are to find new ways to facilitate the connection between storytellers and audiences by developing sustainable models. His experience on both sides of the production process includes producing the legendary Chicago Hip-Hop documentary Rhyme Spitters, and eight years as a host-producer and managing director of Chicago Public Media's Vocalo Radio initiative. His public radio work has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and he currently sits on the board of directors for the Association of Independents in Radio.

    Perez earned his bachelor's degree from Columbia College Chicago and his MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises from Northwestern University.


    Additional Contibutors

    Additional contributors to The Area's production include Aaron Cahan, Emmanuel Camacho, Danielle Davis, Natalia Echeverry, Matt Goetz, Astrid Goh, Akemi Hong, Ben Kolak, Hannie Lee, Isabel Mitchell, Ashley Mills, Kiyomi Mino, David Nagel, Mary Otoo, Reshmi Rustebakke, Zachary Sala, Alexandra Scott, Agnes Starczewski, Brittain Williams, and Hayden Yaussy.