By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Hyde Park residents and husband and wife Irami and Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, founders of Another Chance Productions, are using several locations in Hyde Park to film their first pilot “Disciples.”
“Disciples,” a political drama set in a Midwestern Protestant church centering around Michelle Lee, a young pastor struggling to find the political touch required to serve her church community.
While the very beginning of the series takes place in Des Moines, Iowa, the rest of the series is filmed almost exclusively in Hyde Park. Augustana Lutheran Church has donated their conference room and hallways for office scenes, The United Church of Hyde Park has donated their sanctuary, Open Produce has donated their stock room, and the media ministry at University Church has provided equipment, according to the Osei-Frimpongs.
The “Disciples” screenplay has evolved over the years and was inspired by the Osei-Frimpong’s life events.
About five years ago, Irami Osei-Frimpong wrote a screenplay and gave it to Bonnie Osei-Frimpong as a first anniversary gift.
“The protagonist was an avatar of the strong female political leader he envisioned that one day I’d be,” said Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, who attended undergrad at Grinnel College in Iowa and went to graduate school at the University of Chicago School of Theology.
The character, which was inspired by Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, has since evolved into a supporting role for the series’ main character.
As the main character Michelle Lee is exposed to devastating events around her she begins to evolve “from a neophyte seminary graduate into a bare-knuckled political brawler,” Irami Osei-Frimpong said.
The Osei-Frimpongs wrote the piece as a study of the intersection of religious and political leadership.
“During our time in Iowa there was a news story about 400 non-documented workers who were arrested at a meat packing plant,” Bonnie Osei-Frimpong said. “The priest of the local Catholic Church had to shepherd the 400 families of the arrested men as they began camping out in his church because they were afraid of being deported.”
Bonnie Osei-Frimpong said issues such as immigration, violence on the South Side, gun laws, workers’ rights and food sustainability issues are seen in the headlines and make the news but people forget these are people with lives.
“How do you serve community’s needs?” Bonnie Osei-Frimpong said.
The Osei-Frimpongs have planned a six-episode first season. The pilot will be hosted for free — online on Another Chance Productions’ website — in order to generate a fan-base, but the Osei-Frimpongs hope to sell the series to a network.
The Osei-Frimpongs are planning a release party in Hyde Park in early October. The event will be open to the public.
For more information, visit anotherchanceproductions.com.