Rahm Emanuel Answers Five Questions

Rahm Emanuel Answers Five Questions

Fresh back from a trip to Austin for SXSW, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sat down and answered five (actually eight) questions for SCREEN. From the winter to the creative heat, the mayor's thoughts are here.

SCREEN: What was your most memorable moment at SXSW?

EMANUEL: Walking into the Chicago booth for the first time. There was an incredible energy as artists, innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world were visiting to see how Chicago has become a hotbed of activity in the tech space. Everyone had a connection to Chicago and everyone had a personal story about how their career has been influenced by the amazing things that are happening here.

SCREEN: You’ve spoken a great deal about production in the city, how did going to SXSW further that mission?

EMANUEL: Last year was a record year for the Chicago Film Industry with a 20 percent increase in production activity. Chicago is home to innovative production studios and we offer fantastic incentives to film here, including a wide pool of talent to support the industry. My visit to SXSW was intended to not only highlight the current work, but to attract more. That's why Chicago Made brought local artists, executives and influencers to Austin to showcase our city’s creative, home-grown talent, and show the world that Chicago is a place where new industries and new talent can thrive.

SCREEN: What were some of the things you did there?

EMANUEL: I took part in two panels and highlighted our coordinated effort to showcase Chicago artists and influencers from across the city. We engaged industry leaders at our exhibit booth and at a networking event with “Chicago Makers” followed by a Chicago music showcase with a homegrown lineup including rising hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, Wilco side project The Autumn Defense featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, and high-energy DJ duo The Hood Internet. I participated in the in the latest product launch for Chicago-based Inventables, and joined our cultural Commissioner Michelle Boone and Groupon Founder Brad Keywell for a conversation about Chicago's creative industries and the Chicago Cultural Plan.

SCREEN: How was Chicago received when you spoke about it?

EMANUEL: People are excited about the energy coming out of Chicago. From our diverse music scene, amazing film production, technology and visual arts, we have a tremendous reputation for innovation and we will stay engaged to elevate Chicago’s creative industries as we see them as vital components to our communities and our economy.

SCREEN: How do you view Chicago’s role nationally and internationally in the creative businesses?

EMANUEL: Chicago is a city where anyone can make it. With more than 225 music venues, 15 citywide festivals, and 47 neighborhood festivals, every artist can find a venue to make a name. With 1871 and a growing venture capital world, people are having an easier time turning a great idea into a company. And all of this is made easier by the city's affordability and access to world-class restaurants, theatre, museums and public transit.

BONUS QUESTIONS (We couldn't just add one):

SCREEN: What was it like to not wear a coat for a week?

EMANUEL: Unfortunately I was only there for a day, but it reminded me of what we have to look forward to when Mother Nature listens to the three million Chicagoans who are telling her we've had enough of winter!

SCREEN: Was it nice to get back to our city?

EMANUEL: It’s always nice to return home to Chicago, the most American of American cities and the best city on earth.

SCREEN: Did you encounter anything that stimulated ideas for what you might do in Chicago?

EMANUEL: Supporting the arts and providing a rich variety of cultural options are critical for cities now more than ever. They don’t just provide a hub for entertainment and activities. They add to a city’s competitiveness. Chicago’s many world-class museums, theaters, and summer music festivals help to drive of our economy, help us attract more and more companies, and bring more economic opportunities to more of our neighborhoods.