Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Absent Column documents the battle over Prentice Hospital—but you didn't see it at CIFF

Posted By on 10.31.13 at 01:13 PM

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  • The Absent Column

Journalist Nathan Eddy says he was sitting in his Berlin apartment, reading about the battle over Northwestern University's plan to destroy Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital , when he decided to do something about it.

"I went to school at Northwestern and fell in love with Chicago architecture while I was there," Eddy says. "I remember being amazed at how unique Prentice was, especially in its Streeterville neighborhood."

Using his own money, and working with two friends from his NU student days, producer Oscar Boyson and cinematographer Felipe Lima, Eddy spent a week interviewing opposing parties in the controversy, as well as shooting the building and the city. Nate DeYoung edited their footage down to a little more than seven minutes, and Eddy submitted the handsome finished product, The Absent Column, to the Chicago International Film Festival, thinking that would be the best way to reach Chicago audiences.

To his dismay, CIFF turned it down. But The Absent Column has been accepted at other fests, including the Architecture and Design Film Festival, which will come to Chicago next spring, screening at the Music Box in late April.

By then, Eddy notes, the actual building will probably be gone, since NU prevailed and demolition is already under way.

That'll make his visual tribute—which includes shots that show the building scarred by neglect and comments by architecture critic Paul Goldberger—all the more valuable.

But you don't have to wait till spring to see it; here's the video:

The Absent Column from Nathan Eddy on Vimeo.

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