'Chiraq' film title debated by city leaders

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The word "Chiraq", the title of a Spike Lee movie filming in the city, was the subject of the debate at City Club of Chicago on Thursday.

"You can have a great substance to the movie, but the name itself is something that people object to in those neighborhoods. Now there might be some who are OK with it, but where I've gone, people are very concerned that having where they live, where they've invested, branded as some kind of combination of Chicago and Iraq," said Ald. Will Burns.

Director Spike Lee has been filming "Chiraq" for the last few weeks in various locations around the city. The word refers to the violence in Chicago, as the violence of a war-torn country, like Iraq. Some believe the title may prevent investment and development in communities already struggling, while others want the title to shine a light on the problem and ultimately solutions.

"When he takes on a subject, [Spike Lee] has a gift to be able to help us think about it and wrestle with stuff personally in his message. I think he's going to do the same thing with an issue that is so key not only to Chicago, but America," said Fr. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

Relatives of shooting victims met with Lee earlier this year, before filming started. They agree that "Chiraq" is the right choice for the film and they are eager for actions to reduce violence.

"I was kind of upset that we was even here today to talk about 'Chiraq' when we had all the shootings over the Fourth of July weekend. We should have been talking about solutions then. This should have been a big conversation talking about the state funding that's been cut. We have youth that don't have jobs this summer," said Pam Bosley, mother of Terrell Bosley.

"Every day there is another mother joining this unfortunate club that none of us agreed to be in. It makes no sense. People need to care more about what's actually happening in society than what's happening in Hollywood," said Annette Holt, mother of Blair Holt.

Filming on "Chiraq" is actually wrapping up. Father Pfleger is privy to the storyline, but would not divulge details.

Ald. Burns sponsored a resolution to withhold a tax break for the movie. He tells us it will be discussed in the city finance committee later this month.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.