Nelson Algren Documentary Raising Funds The New-Fashioned Way

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 2, 2011 3:20PM

Photo by Art Shay.
While it seems anybody with a dream and a browser has a Kickstarter page inviting you to fork over some of your dollars to keep the flame alive, we can surely agree that not all Kickstarter projects are created equal. When one that is as dear to our hearts as a documentary about Nelson Algren pops up, we are bound to tell you about it.

Their official Kickstarter fundraising campaign page won't be live until June 6, but the creators of Algren aim to raise the $25,000 they need to complete the documentary using incentives such as DVDs, t-shirts, silk-screened prints, signed book from Art Shay, and even production credits in the film. The legendary Chicago writer who serves as subject of the film should need no introduction to anyone reading this site.

Our interview with the filmmaker, Michael Caplan, provides an good introduction to the project, which will combine photographs of Algren with interviews from Algren devotees. With William Friedkin, Barry Gifford, Philip Kaufman, Bill Savage, Joe Meno and many more already in the can, Caplan has scheduled interviews with more heavy hitters such as Russell Banks, Stuart Dybek, Michael Mann, Tom Waits, Henry Rollins, and others.

It takes projects such as these to keep figures like Algren, whose books had fallen out of print and whose star seemed to fade once distant from the Chicago literary constellation he felt excluded from, on the cultural radar screen where they belong. Algren captured something about Chicago which has resolutely eluded other writers. Here's hoping he himself doesn't remain such an elusive subject for much longer.

Algren: The Movie has a home on Facebook until the kickstarter page is fully functional.