Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist

image001 (1)“Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” (99 min) 2014, by Nancy Bechtol. an indie feature documentary film made in Chicago.

● EVENT LOCATION: Logan Theatre 2646 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

● November 14, 2014 Friday 6:30 doors open – 7:30 film starts

Nancy Bechtol, an award winning photographer and artist has been documenting social justice and Chicago street artists for 30 years. This film is a departure from anything she has ever done and evolved over 5 years, shot on 5 different formats, including DSLR to cell phones.

Featured throughout is the indie music, courtesy of Hey Now Records, of by Behind the Sun, Andy Alton & David Mansfield.

Chris Drew, who passed away 2012, was the long-time Executive Director of The Uptown Multi-Cultural Arts Center (UM-CAC) located in the American Indian Center.

In 2009, Chris asked Nancy (with 2 friends) to accompany him and document his attempt to get arrested for peddling art patches with messages of social awareness and artistic ideas to challenge Chicago’s Peddler’s Ordinance.

Chris was arrested for selling art patches for $1, (peddling) but since he had a personal tape recorder, charges changed to a felony violation of Illinois’ Eavesdropping Law by Illinois State’s

Attorney Anita Alvarez, which carried 4-15 years in jail if convicted. In 2009 this law was generally unknown. Two pro bono Attorneys defended him. First, Mark Weinberg challenged on the free speech constitutional ground; then Joshua Kutnick, criminal defense, defended, and won in the courtroom of Judge Sachs, on the felony charges in 2012.

Everything changed. From his arrest, for making an audio recording of his own arrest, to his untimely death from lung cancer, the film tracks Chris’ activism around Free Speech, his connections to the community, his connection to street artists in Chicago and internationally, and his transcendent belief in Free Speech. From interviews with his lawyers and with all kinds of people who worked with Chris from the American Indian Center and elsewhere, and knew him, including lawmaker Rep. Elaine Nekritz who got involved in the struggle to overturn the draconian Illinois Eavesdropping Law film is a colorful trip through Chicago’s Occupy and Anti-War protests, Critical Mass bike rides, and more, as you learn about a real American patriot who believed that art, thought, and free speech were worth fighting for.

Note: The Illinois Supreme Court overturned the Ill Eavesdropping Law, March 2014.

Trailer is on listed on IMDb Music in the film courtesy of Hey Now Records. “Paper Airplane” Behind the Sun. Andy Alton /David Mansfield

Contact info:

Contact for Tickets/Screening info: Logan Theatre 2646 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 773.342.5555. at the box office and online

Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist

Special Preview Screening of NANCY BECHTOL’S FILM, “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” to benefit ARC Gallery & Educational Foundation Sunday, June 8 at 1:30 pm. Tickets are $12.00 and $25.00 and there are only a limited number being sold. Purchase price will be donated to ARC Gallery, a nonprofit organization, through Eventbrite

“Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist”,

(99 min) Documentary. ©2014 Nancy Bechtol. Release 2014. Chris Drew, street artist and activist, was selling art for $1 in downtown Chicago to protest the Chicago Peddlers Ordinance since Art is Speech, a First Amendment Right. Those charges were dropped and replaced with a serious Class One Felony Eavesdropping Charge – for audio recording his own arrest which carried 4-15 years in prison if found guilty. After 2.5 years in the court system prosecuted by the State’s Attorney Alvarez and. Defended by two pro bono attorneys, Weinberg and Kutnick he won, and The Illinois Eavesdropping Law was declared Unconstitutional. His case and the unjust law drew nationwide and international attention. Both traditional and social media covered the unbelievable case on First Amendment Rights Now in 2014, April, the Ill. Eavesdropping Law was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court, based heavily on Drew’s case.

.. Features Music courtesy of Hey Now Records. Behind the Sun. Andy Alton & David Mansfield. This is a true story.

Trailer on YouTube