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4CORNERS
The Film

4 Corners is a minimalist art-piece examining gun violence in Chicago. It consists of 5 vignettes, each based loosely on gang killings committed around a 4-block radius in the East-Rogers Park neighbor-hood. The stories themselves are presented without context, identification, or any discernible dialogue. Giving each occurrence a cold and detached feeling at surface level. The acts of violence are carried out in a calm and casual fashion, moving from one story to the next without any explanation; reflecting how we as society take in stride the news of killings in modern day life, and continue on with our lives. Much like the violence we see and hear about every day in Chicago, this film takes us through a sequence of murders that seem and feel pointless, hollow, and cold. A boy rides his bike down an alley and shoots a group of men working on a car; two men stroll briskly through a park until one of them is shot in the back. We watch as a one killing, the reasons for which remaining unclear, sets in motion a ripple effect throughout the community. One thing however is certain, there are no winners here, just losers.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

The purpose of this film was not to pick one side or another. The purpose was simply to present the issue at face value and address the need for change, without patronizing or trivializing the causes of said violence. We are, as a collective, denying the social problems that exist in Chicago. Highly influ-enced by Alan Clarke’s short film ‘Elephant’, 4 Corners is a reference to “the elephant in our living room.”

The audience sees repetitive acts of violence (just as we see repetitive acts of violence in the news) and assumes the deaths are meaningless. However, under the surface, a larger story runs in the background of each of these individual’s stories if one pays close enough attention. Stories of pride, ignorance and retaliation serve as the backbone of 4 Corners, just as they serve as the backbone of so many Chicago murders. Tit-for-tat killings that seem meaningless to those looking in from the outside, are exactly the opposite to the people involved; and are even more important and real their loved ones who are often the most impacted and are left to pick up the pieces.

A swipe on our phones, a click of the channel, a quick head shake and then back to our everyday lives. Chicago’s violence is so prevalent that it’s not even news anymore, sure we feel bad but what do we do about it? We’ve become so numb that we treat each occurrence as just another news story, similar to the way we treat a viral dance video or trendy diet; we give it a second of our time and then move on. I wanted to treat the violent scenarios in 4 Corners in the same fashion in which we treat them in our every day lives. Oftentimes in violent films, protagonist and antagonist are pitted against each other. This dichotomy can be problematic, however, because in reality, there are no protagonist and antagonists—only losers. In 4 Corners, I chose not to have protagonists or antagonists in order to portray the world more realistically.

Each scene is meant to have a voyeuristic feel to it. Long tracking shots allow tension to build as we follow one character at a time as they try to live their everyday lives. Killing is a conscious decision, which means that more actions than simply pulling the trigger are taken into account. Turning back is always an option, but in this film that option is never exercised.

An important aspect of this film is one of the final scenes where we see the janitor cleaning up after the opening shootout in the restaurant. We see a long sequence of the janitor mopping and scraping up the aftermath of the shooting, which was intentionally painful and drawn-out. Oftentimes in film, especially in those dealing with similar subject matter, we see a shootout or an act of aggression take place and then the scene ends. Typically, after one of those violent scenes, the film continues its storyline. We never see the aftermath or the remnants of what is left of the scene. In the news, we hear about gun violence and we may even see footage of mothers crying in the streets, but then the story is forgotten. It was really important for me in this film to show the aftermath of gun violence. When gun violence occurs in real life there is no next scene; there is no next story; the people affect-ed by it have to piece their lives back together and continue living with this grief. The scene with the janitor literally picking up the pieces left from the incident was my way of illustrating the long-lasting effects of gun violence that we are not typically exposed to in the media

Why & How

The basis of this short film came about when I passed by an old block near where I grew up. I had been in Rogers Park visiting my brother, which was the last time I saw him. This block had significance because as a child I had witnessed an elotes lady get mistakenly shot in a drive-by shooting that was intended for a group of my friends. At the time, I remember looking at this lady who was screaming out in agony, crying, praying, and holding her leg. It was my first time seeing a lot of blood. And I remember looking down at the bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos I was eating and thinking her blood should have been the same color as my chips, as blood on TV had always been portrayed. Instead, her blood was a deep red, almost purple hue. Since that memory has stuck with me, I feel like this short is not only a critique on Chicago’s gun violence, but also on the way gun violence is portrayed in the media generally. Recalling what happened to the elotes woman was inspiration for me to create 4 Corners. Her shooting turned out to be a senseless act of violence, a bullet that was actually intended for someone else. Then I realized that the instance I witnessed was a chain reaction of retaliation all spurred by one event, which was one man being murdered by another man weeks before. Despite all of those shootings taking place in a small radius of four blocks, the effects of gun violence were wide-reaching, which was the basis for this film. I chose an ambiguous setting because there are many people affected by gun violence throughout Chicago. Though my specific story happened on the Northside of Chicago, I thought that it could resonate with the countless stories we hear on the South and West sides, without being a stereotypical story about gun violence on Chicago’s South Side.

Full Credits

Directed by: Andre Muir
Written by: Jake Hutton & Andre Muir
Story by: Andre Muir
Executive Producers: Mario DiPaolo & Naked Gallery
Producers: Ciara Medina, Mia Reggi, Zachary Moore, Cory Proctor

Cinematographer: Nathan Salter
Associate Producer: Emanuel Caston
Production Designer: Emily Schexnayder
Editor: Nathan Rodgers
Post Sound Producer: Adam Wiebe
Sound Design: Beto Santoyo
Composer: Colin Sippos
1st Assistant Director: Arturas Kerelis
2nd Assistant Director : Marcus Aubin
Flame Artist: N/A (The Mill)
Colorist: N/A (The Mill)
VFX Artist: N/A (The Mill)
SFX Make-Up Design:
SFX Make-Up Design:

Cast
Young Boy: Justin Tharpe
Mother: Christie Tate
Joe: Fletcher O’neal
Ricky: Joshua Miller
Jordan: Keyontre Criggley
Hayley: Kayla Patrick
Homeless Man: Miguel Atkins
Cook: Matt Brown
Restaurant Extra: Joe Newcomb Restaurant Extra: Farries Jennings Restaurant Extra: Charlene Thompson Janitor: James Gordon
Elotes Lady: Ana Hernandez
Gabriel: Ernest Anderson
Cameron: Tyriss Usry
Caleb: Aaron Robinson
Jeremiah: Yashuel Flippins
Store Clerk: Rocky Ravani
Bystander: Caneil Oliver
Malik: Savage Houston
Martin: Kelly Marshall
Ed: Sheridan Warner
Jimmy: James Almond
Mike: Terrell Allen
Elijah: Kris Downing
Xavier: Darryl Bogard
Trina: Jasmine Baker
Guy1: Jairus Baker

Hole in Wall Extra 1: Joe Newcomb
Hole in Wall Extra 2: Farries Jennings
Hole in Wall Extra 3: Charleone Thompson
Hole in Wall Extra 4: Dawanna Conner

Street Crowd Extra 1: Tina La Mon
Street Crowd Extra 2: Byron Coolie
Street Crowd Extra 3: Michael Thomason
Street Crowd Extra 4: Terrence Kennedy
Street Crowd Extra 5:

Little Kids Playing 1: Riley Walker
Older Kids 1: Kiba Keyy
Older Kids 2: Jason Davis
Older Kids 3: Brandon Oneselogu
Older Man: Jatone Smith

Casting Director: Jake Bloom
Casting Assistant: Anna McFarlin
Steadicam Operator: Blaine Baker
1st Assistant Camera: Brendan Babinski
2nd Assistant Camera: Juan Garcia
Quintero Location Sound: Andrew Henke

Costume Design: Nadya Laska
Art Assistant: Andrew Melzer
Art Assistant: Oriane Playner
Art Assistant: Anna McFarlin
Production Assistant: Brad Martin Production
Assistant: Gus Murray Production
Assistant: Rebekah Wilson Production Assistant: Kerri Walsh
Production Assistant: Brad Martin
Production Assistant: Justin Hill
Production Assistant: Nick Sansone

Gaffer: Danny Valdez
Best Boy Electric: Jake Joiner
Electrician Max Skelton
Grip: Jake Joiner
Grip: Ryan Zeller
Grip: Johnathon Blazewski
DIT: Sam Kelly

Special Thanks: The Mill Chicago, Earhole Studios. and One at Optimus Special Thanks to Tyler Garza & Gregory Buissereth