Evanston arts documentary receives nomination for regional Emmy


Still from “The Arts in Evanston”

Evanston residents engage in a local arts festival. The documentary, which was nominated for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy award, features local artists and the role of the arts in the community.

Maddie Burakoff, Reporter


“The Arts in Evanston,” a documentary featuring artists and arts organizations in Evanston, and produced by Evanston producer Anderson Castilho, has been nominated for an Emmy award by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Regardless of whether he eventually wins the Emmy, Castilho said the nomination is an accomplishment for him as a producer and helps bring recognition to the talent in Evanston.

“I think the community wins. The city of Evanston wins,” Castilho said. “It’s a great example for other producers and aspiring producers to go out there and produce something of quality.”

The documentary was originally produced for the “One State Together in the Arts” conference that was held in Evanston in September 2015. Jennifer Lasik, Evanston’s cultural arts coordinator, said she envisioned the film as a way to give attendees a fuller view of Evanston’s arts community. She then brought the idea to Castilho, the city’s broadcast operations specialist, who took up the task of producing.

The project took about three months to complete, Castilho said, during which the team selected and interviewed 24 local artists to feature in the film. They sought artists who would be representative of larger groups within the community, he said.

Lasik added that the team specifically chose a variety of artists and arts organizations from different genres and with varied perspectives. They included groups with longer histories in the city as well as newer additions to the arts community.

“We were trying to really demonstrate the depth and breadth of what makes up the arts organization,” Lasik said.

The 13-minute documentary is available on YouTube and was promoted by the city on television and social media. Castilho said that the film’s accessibility was intended to help spread its message to a wider audience.

Castilho added that the film aims to provide an example for other communities that want to support the arts through their local policies.

“What makes (the Evanston arts scene) possible is primarily the vision of the local government,” Castilho said. “Evanston believes art has a very important role in everyone’s lives … and they do promote it.”

The Emmy nomination process this year was “very competitive,” said Steve Novak, the board president of the Chicago/Midwest chapter. The chapter received almost 900 entries with approximately 20 percent selected as nominees, and around 10 percent ultimately taking home the coveted statuette, he said.

Documentary entries are considered based on “creativity, content and execution” criteria, Novak said.

The documentary was a collective effort, Castilho said. Other members of the city staff shared their technical and cultural expertise, and the joint effort between the city and the artists was “the beauty of the production.”

Lasik said even beyond the film, the city of Evanston is uniquely involved in its arts community. Though some may see investment in the arts as a luxury, Lasik said art is actually an essential part in creating a “livable” city.

She said Evanston sees art as a means of achieving other goals in enhancing the overall quality of life.

“Cities that look for healthy, thriving communities understand that this creative cultural arts piece is really an important fiber and building block,” Lasik said. “It’s in the city’s best interest to make sure that we’re nurturing that side of us.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @madsburk