Interview with Bob Teitel

Bob Teitel is bringing this city to the big screen. The prolific producer and proud Chicagoan has made 6 films here, and when he talks about his upcoming projects (yes, many of them take place in Chicago), you can hear the excitement in his voice. We asked Bob about his love for the Windy City, how SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU came to be, and the best first date spot.


CG: Looking at your body of work, we have the BARBERSHOP films and the upcoming SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU. A lot of your films are based in Chicago, so what is it that draws you to these Chicago stories?

BT: I think it goes back to when we're filming, we always try to find the voice. I have such an affinity for my hometown. And year after year, as I spend more time away from Chicago, more and more I've gravitated to those Chicago stories. I think it's such a good thing to have the people and their stories to hold onto. So if there's a Chicago story, people will start calling and say what do you think of this. People start directing these stories to you. There's certainly more of those Chicago stories that I want to tell.

What would some of those be?

There's the story of Warehouse, the club in Chicago that created house music. I'm working with Second City to possibly do the story of Del Close. There's the story that I've talked about many a time called "Disco Sucks," about the Steve Dahl Disco Demolition.

My dad was there!

(Laughs) I tell you, anytime I talk to somebody they know someone who was there. There's a lot of these stories I still want to tell.

And the city is full of them. So how do you think that your time in Chicago at Columbia College helped you to develop as a filmmaker?

I just think that school helped me with a lot of different things. I wanted to major in film but I didn't know what I wanted to do in film. It wasn't until I went to school and met all these different people from all different walks of life and tried to tell their stories that I really found my place. Chicago is such a blue collar, hard work environment, so when I came [to Los Angeles] it really separated me from the pack.

Let's talk about your upcoming project SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU. What was it like to tell such an intimate story of two very prominent figures?

Well there’s public knowledge about the day, there was a New York Times piece about it. [Writer Richard Tanne] had to create dialogue, because we didn’t have any dialogue to go with it, but when I heard about this it was just such a clever idea. And what a great way to tell the story of probably the most famous couple in the world, and to have a Chicago connection to it. To his credit, him coming up with the idea and such a strong script, it just made a lot of sense.

Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair said this film is basically the best first date ever. So tell us, what's the best first date spot in Chicago?

(Laughs) Oh, wow. It’s been so long since I’ve been on a first date in Chicago. There’s so many places. You can go to 95th at the Hancock…you can take a walk around the lake downtown, what a great place to go. I’ve been married for 16 years, but I’ve always found if I can take a girl to a Cubs game, and she loves it, then I’ve be in a good place. I think that’s the ultimate test.

Find out more about Bob Teitel's prolific and successful career as a film producer at IFP Chicago's 75 Minutes With Bob Teitel, where we will engage Bob in an in-depth conversation. Tickets and more information available HERE.