Chicago Film Festival 2018: Olympia

Charles Gardner and McKenzie Chinn in Olympia

A coming-of-age dramedy set in Chicago, Olympia is headlined by a delightful performance from writer-actress McKenzie Chinn.

Olympia Wells (McKenzie Chinn) is approaching the crossroads of her life with tough decisions to make.  These decisions come as the Chicago artist is approaching her 30th birthday.  Some of these decisions aren’t so much because of her but because of her relationships.  Her boyfriend, Felix (Charles Gardner), is moving to California in a few weeks with his company.  Her mother (Penelope Walker) is in the hospital and best friend Jemma is off to New York for a job.  Whether she likes it or not, she has to decide if she’ll leave Chicago for the warmth of Cupertino in Silicon Valley.

Gregory Dixon beautifully directs this film, which also serves to spotlight the Chicago architecture within the beautiful city.  The film boasts a diverse cast  but this film is Chinn’s through and through.  Whether it’s her script or acting, she absolutely crushes it.  There’s a lot to enjoy about this film and the animation truly stands out.  Moreover, this is a film that lets us see a performance from a POC that isn’t a stereotype.  It’s a strong performance to say the least.  Think about it for a moment.  Chinn’s script and performance helps to authenticity to the character.

The other thing is that Olympia’s lesbian sister is treated normal.  They don’t make a big deal about it.  The fact that she has a child with another woman isn’t a big deal.  It’s normal.

The road may be tough but as Olympia shows us, we should never give up on our dreams.  Even when it looks to be in possible, you never know who or what you’ll encounter along the way.  You just might meet the one person who could change your life!

DIRECTOR:  Gregory Dixon
CAST:  McKenzie Chinn, Charles Gardner, Ericka Ratcliff, LaNisa Frederick, Sadieh Rifai, Leah Karpel, Shane Kenyon, Joshua Rollins, Charin Alvarez, Andrew Goetten, Kelly O’Sullivan, Stef Tovar, and Penelope Walker

Olympia screened during the 2018 Chicago International Film Festival.  The film has also been selected for the 2018 Chicago Comedy Film Festival.  Cow Lamp Films will distribute at a later date.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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