Media Burn Presents: David E. Simpson’s Tom Chicago on Location

Newly available for the first time in decades! Media Burn is proud to have digitized a remarkable short-form documentary on one of the godfathers of independent film in Chicago: Tom Palazzolo. David E. Simpson’s 1990 work Tom Chicago on Location presents a playful and engaging portrait of Tom’s work, life, and idiosyncratic humor. To introduce the documentary, here are a few words from David:
“I first became aware of Tom Palazzolo in high school, when a renegade student teacher from the School of the Art Institute, Alan Ross (who appears in this documentary) blew the minds of my film production class by exposing us to all manner of experimental film (my life was never the same). Years later, as a grad student at SAIC, I became friends with Tom. I can’t remember if I actually took a class with him, but he was a free-lance resource to everyone in the department, dispensing worldly humor, advice on the best fast food in town, and — best of all — short-ends of unexposed 16mm film that he would round up from the labs he frequented.
To me, Tom’s guerrilla style  an Everyman-Outsider embedded in the culture at large while searching for a different kind of truth  represented all that was free, fair and seductive about being a filmmaker.
The nom d’art “Tommy Chicago” reflects Tom Palazzolo’s unique status within the Chicago film world. Since 1967, he has filtered all aspects of the windy city through his audacious lens. TOM CHICAGO ON LOCATION captures the artist at work / play on his narrative feature “Added Lessons.” We see him engage street urchins in the service of his vision, teach his son that you CAN buy love, and drive cast and crew to the brink of creative insanity. TCOL illuminates the vital interplay between Palazzolo’s inimitable personality and his filmic art.”
Additionally, please check out a rare public screening of another one of David’s films, Halsted Street, U.S.A., on Sunday, August 7th, with the Chicago Filmmakers at their event page here. (If you miss it, you can always watch it on Media Burn here).



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