Nathan Manilow park carves out a spot in Naperville film fest
The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is ready for its close-up.
The beloved outdoor sculpture park at Governors State University (GSU), which Lewis Manilow put together in honor of his father, is the star of "Searching for Lady Day: A Portrait in Steel," a critically acclaimed documentary that will be featured at the 10th annual Naperville Independent Film Festival.
The film has also been chosen to air on Sept. 28 at the Hollywood Palms Theater as a featured film. The Geoffrey Bates and Joshua Young production previously played at The Fine Arts Film Festival in Venice, California and the Barcelona Planet Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
At the Naperville festival, which will take place Sept. 23-30, the film is also one of five to be nominated in the Best Documentary award category.
The film was born from director Bates' desire to learn what inspired sculptor Mark di Suvero’s "Yes! For Lady Day" art piece that sits on a hilltop in a prairie just south of Chicago, in a park where Bates also serves as curator.
“The film tells story of the inspiration for the 'Lady Day' sculpture and how it came to be named after Billie Holiday,” Young, who also serves as program director in the Department of Digital Learning & Media Design at GSU, told the Will County Gazette. “We delve into what inspired this expansive piece of art. The artist also shares stories about his life in film and how he was inspired by his muse as an artist and speaks to what a powerful social individual she is.”
Young said Bates didn't know what to expect when he met di Suvero years ago at his New York City studio. Back then, what excited him most was the chance to meet and speak with someone he had long idolized.
“After talking for just a short time, it became clear we had the makings of a documentary,” Young said of the 30-minute film. “We knew we wanted to promote this and wanted to give everyone a chance to see it for themselves.”
Young said he and Bates are now hoping they might be able to get a distribution deal for the film and that in time it might air on Chicago public TV.