Czechs in Chicago

Project Status: 
In Progress

Czechs in Chicago will be a 90 minute documentary for Chicago PBS Television WTTW, about the history of the Czech people in Chicago, from their immigrant experience to the highlights of the community today.

A progressive, innovative and spirited people, Czechs helped build and shape Chicago, and in turn, Chicago empowered them to help establish their homeland as a sovereign nation, Czechoslovakia. This film will chronicle the history of the Czechs as an ethnic group, featuring many personal stories of recent as well as earlier immigrants and their families, as they became a vital part of the city.

Through an intimate look at how individual lives were affected by public events in Chicago, the film will highlight many historical moments including the Czech Freethinker movement, founding of the Bohemian National Cemetery, the Czechs' role in the great Chicago labor struggles, the dynamic Sokol Movement, the Eastland Disaster, and Antonin Cermak's political ascendance in Chicago.

We'll follow the emergence of notable Czech Chicagoans like Mayor Cermak, McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, Chicago Bears owner George Halas, actress Kim Novak, film distributor/commentator Milos Stehlik, former IL state treasurer, Judy Baar Topinka and the recent Olympic Gold Medal winner, ice skater Evan Lysacek.

Czechs in Chicago will be a permanent legacy for the Czech Community and its future generations in the Windy City, while inspiring in viewers of all nationalitiers a curiosity about their own cultural heritage.

Producer/Director : Susan Marcinkus
Co-Producer/Editor: Laurence Jacobs
Production Company: Manifest Films