I am a filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor based in Chicago, Illinois. I received a BA from Columbia College in 2000 and an MA from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California in 2004. My first feature film, Cool Apocalypse, premiered in 2015, screened at the prestigious Gene Siskel Film Center and Movies in the Parks’ Onscreen Local Film Showcase in Chicago before being picked up for distribution by Emphasis Entertainment. My second feature, Mercury in Retrograde, starring Roxane Mesquida and Najarra Townsend, won the top awards at the 2018 Tallahassee Film Festival and the 2017 Full Bloom Film Festival. It was the subject of a rave review by the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Richard Roeper who wrote: “Smith has a deft touch for dialogue, creating six distinct characters who look and sound like people we know…a smart, funny, quietly effective and authentic slice of older millennial life.” My third feature, Rendezvous in Chicago, had its World Premiere at the 2018 Adirondack Film Festival where it was an Audience Choice award winner. Since 2009, I have taught film history and aesthetics at Oakton Community College, Harper College, Triton College, Harold Washington College and the College of Lake County. Additionally, I have lectured at Northwestern University and Facets Multimedia. My first book, Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry, a non-fiction account of early film production in Chicago, was published to acclaim by Columbia University Press in 2015. I am a regular contributor to Time Out Chicago, and Cine-File Chicago, and my film writing has appeared in La Furia Umana, Chicago Reader and on Nobudge.com. I am the creator and sole author of whitecitycinema.com.
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