Although the exteriors for Cabrini Green were obviously filmed on-location at Cabrini itself, the interiors posed a bit of a problem. After negotiating with a certain city organization that shall remain nameless, it quickly became apparent that we needed to seek an alternate location for the housing project interiors.
This was frustrating on two counts, because not only did I really want to film inside a Cabrini Green building, but I also wanted to meet some of the residents and find a real-life Tomika whom we could give a voice to… someone who could sort of stand as an example of all that was good in The Greens.
Unfortunately, between the lack of cooperation I previously mentioned (which don’t get me wrong, those folks were probably swamped with everything going on amidst the pending demolitions), the buildings being greatly thinned out already, and our own time constraints for shooting the film, this ambitious idea never came to fruition.
So instead of shooting on Chicago’s North Side, we went to the mid-South Side, filming in Englewood at John Bitoy’s Englewood Boxing Center.
Tomika’s apartment is actually above the gym, which you can see
here at the Englewood Boxing Center’s website.
These scenes were some of the toughest of the entire project, largely because we shot them at the very beginning of our phase one shooting schedule, when the crew still needed to gel, and we were all still finding our comfort zones.
That meant long days, especially for the crew and for Traci Prince. Even Johnny and Cameron needed a nap one day, as you can see in their pic that pretty much summarizes what we had to fight through in finishing off those scenes.
I guess it was rather fitting that we filmed it all above a boxing center, but as it unfortunately has turned out, there are much bigger fights to be fought in Englewood these days. The neighborhood has fallen victim to large amounts of gang violence, and hopefully we can all work to change that.