Leonore Annenberg Fellow McKenzie Chinn Launches Hatchfund Campaign for Chicago Indie Film OLYMPIA

McKenzie Chinn, a 2015/16 Leonore Annenberg Artist Fellow, launched a Hatchfund crowdfunding campaign today with the goal of raising $10,000 to complete funding for the independent feature film Olympia, in association with 30 Pictures production company, and executive producer Matt Miller.

While the majority of the budget for Olympia will come from Chinn’s fellowship award, additional monies raised through Hatchfund will cover a specific set of production and post-production costs, including specialized equipment rentals, production design and more. Contributions made on Hatchfund are tax deductible.




Penned by Chinn, and to be directed by Gregory Dixon, Olympia takes a personal look at how Chinn’s own generation is redefining adulthood in the modern world. She was inspired to write the film after turning 30 at the end of the long economic recession.
“The recession came along right when people in my age bracket were just starting to gear up,” says Chinn. “We were finishing college and grad school – and had the debt to prove it – exactly when there were no jobs available. While the recession set us back, it also forced us to evolve – to fundamentally change the way we live and experience the world, including how we move into adulthood.”

The film will feature a diverse cast, led primarily by people of color. “It’s important that characters of color be at the center of the story and not in the margins, because their stories matter,” says Chinn. “Olympia’s characters exist outside of stereotype. We get to see them love, struggle, hope, fail, and succeed, the same way that we’re used to seeing white characters in films live fully. Current mainstream film and television prove that audiences connect strongly to these stories, and we’re excited to be a part of that shift in storytelling.”

Once complete, Olympia will be submitted to film festivals around the world. 30 Pictures will also seek options for distribution.

Chinn has worked as an actor in Chicago since 2011 and recently appeared in Daniel Nearing’s feature Hogtown which screened as part of Chicago’s Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center. She has performed on stage at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, and Victory Gardens Theatres. To make Olympia, she has teamed with Director Gregory Dixon whose work has screened at festivals across the globe, and Producer Lucy Manda, of Escape Films. Matt Miller, whose new TV series Teachers premiers on TV Land later this year, joins the team as an Executive Producer.

Olympia is slated for production in Chicago in September and October of 2015. For more information on the film, visit Olympiamovie.com or follow on Facebook.


For press inquiries: Olympiathemovie@gmail.com.

About Olympia:

Olympia is an independent feature film that explores what it means to become an adult in the modern world, through the story of character Olympia Welles. Penned by McKenzie Chinn, and to be directed by Gregory Dixon, the film will feature a diverse cast led primarily by people of color and will illustrate the ways young adults have evolved to accommodate life after an economic recession. Olympia is slated for production in Chicago this fall in association with 30 Pictures.

About Hatchfund:

Hatchfund’s mission is to provide resources and support to artists who advance culture and inspire brilliance. Projects on Hatchfund enjoy a 75% success rate. This crowdfunding service is free for artists with donors helping fund operations with small additional donations. For more information, visit Hatchfund.org.




McKenzie Chinn – Executive Producer/Writer/Lead Actress


Originally from Washington, DC, McKenzie most recently appeared in the feature film Hogtown, which screened as part of Chicago’s Black Harvest Film Festival. She has performed on numerous Chicago stages, including The Goodman, Steppenwolf, and Victory Gardens, and with many small but mighty companies including Stage Left, Sideshow, Prologue, and Pavement Group. She has workshopped and performed an original story with Chicago’s 2nd Story, and hosted  The 30×30 Project on her blog HydroCarbo, in which she wrote 30 original short essays for each of the 30 days before her thirtieth birthday, in collaboration with local illustrator Isabella Rotman. She is also the author of the solo performance piece Everything That Ever Was. She holds an MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul, and is a 2015/16 Leonore Annenberg Artist Fellow. She lives in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village with her husband Ramah, and step-daughter BellaSol.


Greg Dixon – Director


Gregory is an award winning independent filmmaker living and working in Chicago, IL, where he is pursuing his directing MFA at DePaul University. Greg’s most recent success came with the 2013 short film Me vs the Tooth Fairy , and the 2014 web series Couch Surferz , which featured talent from the famed Second City Network in Chicago. Greg’s work has screened at festivals across four continents, including the controversial public interest law documentary The Law is for Everyone, which screened in Beijing, China in 2012. He was chosen as one of the top emerging student filmmakers to represent Real Ideas Studios at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival with the short documentary, Lumieres. Born and raised in upstate New York, Gregory takes pride in his collaborations with a range of colleagues, from Los Angeles to New York, and abroad. He would like to extend his deepest gratitude to McKenzie Chinn for allowing him to navigate the world of Olympia: An Instruction Manual For How Things Work.


Lucy Manda – Producer

Lucy Manda is an Multimedia Producer who has a strong passion for film and interactive media. She received her Masters of Science at DePaul University in Digital Cinema and has been active in film for the past several years, She worked as an assistant casting director for the Animal Planet show, Animal Witness and assisted the casting director/animal trainer on set. She was the casting assistant and art department coordinator for the DePaul University Blue Light short The Balancing Game. After finding her niche in pre production, she has produced and held the title of assistant director and producer for many shorts and music videos. Her credits include Head of Marketing and Distribution for the indie feature Roundabout American  and Producer for the feature film, CHAT, which is currently making the film festival rounds. She is living in Chicago, currently working in Chicago and Los Angeles.



Matt Miller – Executive Producer


Matt Miller is a Chicago based director and producer. He is the co-creator and director of the web series Teachers that is now in production as a television series for TV Land; Matt serves as an executive producer on the show. Notable film casting credits include The Amityville Horror, Stranger Than Fiction, Public Enemies, The Break Up, The Weatherman, The Promotion, The Wise Kids, Black Box, and Dig Two Graves. Recent stage directing credits include Irish Theatre of Chicago’s production of The Seafarer (Jeff Award Winner for Best Ensemble), The Killer Angels with Lifeline Theatre (Jeff Award Winner for Sound Design), Superior Donuts with Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co., and Oblivion for Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory. Matt is a faculty member at The Second City Training Center, DePaul University’s Theatre School, and The Acting Studio Chicago.


Ramah Jihan Malebranche – Composer/Web Designer



Originally from Laboul, Haiti, Ramah is the writer and lead singer for the Wooden Rings project, which released the self-titled, full-length record Wooden Rings in 2012. The album debuted to enthusiastic audiences across Chicago, from Schubas to Uncommon Ground, and garnered critical acclaim from local radio stations and national music blogs, most notably WXRT, WLUW, and Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ. Wooden Rings’ 2013 follow-up EP, Twisted & Tangled, enjoyed similar success. It was recorded at Chicago’s Electrical Audio, and premiered with a performance at Chicago’s revered Old Town School of Folk Music. The project’s upcoming EPs Heliocentric I & II feature Ramah’s signature vocals and acoustic-electric stylings, as well as trombone and oboe, and follows in the singer-songwriters tradition of lush, progressive, and powerful folk music. Ramah holds an MFA from Chicago’s Columbia College.