Public housing units were introduced in the 1930s as an alternative to traditional slums. They had strict building standards that were supposed to ensure a certain standard of living. Public housing was full of much more working-class and middle-class people than it became by the 1970’s.
What co-creators Ted Reilly, Angie Gaffney and Patrick Wimp are aiming to do with their new show”Public Housing Unit” is to tell the true story of Chicago Police Officers Eric Davis, Jimmy Martin, Charlie Toussas & the community they served.
Set in the 1980s, before most of Chicago’s public housing fell to the wrecking balls and when such complexes represented a lawless and all-but-hopeless landscape, it focuses on three members of a Chicago Police Department team dealing with the violence, drugs and the desperation that shadows the lives those they are attempting to serve and protect. Starring Chris Boykin, Ira Amyx and Kamal Bolden as the cops, the show is unflinching. The dialogue — by screenwriter Patrick Wimp — is tough and true and the rest of the cast brings a palpable authenticity to their roles, as when one explains his life of crime by saying with pragmatic matter-of-factness, “If I don’t hustle, I don’t eat.”
Each of the cops, who occasionally speak inner thoughts directly to the camera, are involved with life complications that extend beyond their shifts; some romantic, some familial and others political.
Quriosity Editor Felix Pineiro came on board to the project early on and found out about some ties he had to the true life heroes that inspired the show.
“Editing Public Housing Unit was somewhat of a surreal experience considering I have ties to the real life counterparts.”
Before even being awarded the job, I was talking to a longtime friend about the project in so many words, and he chimed in with ‘Eric?’ (referring to Eric Davis). As it turns out, my buddy’s dad (also a friend) had been friends with Eric since high school and he was practically an uncle to my good friend. He got to know Jimmy Martin as well through Eric.”
Quriosity Post has a unique approach when signed on to long form projects. They include their editor as an onsite DIT as part the job. This means that the project editor is able to ingest & become familiar with the media before the project is completed. As part of this process Felix was able to begin working on an assembly edit while the project was still shooting. Which was especially important as “Public Housing Unit” was shot on multiple Reds utilizing 6k footage.
“Public Housing Unit” premiered at the Chicago International Television Festival on March 21st at 6pm at AMC River East 21.