“The whole world is watching!” this iconic line from the protest movement of the ‘60s reverberates throughout Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7. It’s not just a statement but a declaration, a call to action.
While the movie plot involves laws against protest movements in the United States all those decades ago, history has shown us if we don’t learn from our actions. we’re bound to repeat them. As the United States once again faced one of the most important elections in the country’s history looms on the horizon is not a coincidence many people tuned in to watch (and rewatch) The Trail of the Chicago 7, as BLM protests and various riots broke out all over the world during the summer.
As a producer, Ryan Donnell Smith sees aspects of filmmaking casual viewers doesn’t always noticed and when he falls in love with a script that has such a powerful message as Chicago 7, he’s willing to step in an offer his service. Emerging as a leader in the entertainment industry, he quickly became known for his relentless attempt to save the independent film industry throughout an unforeseeable global pandemic. His expertise in line production and tax equity structure has allowed Ryan to bring some of 2020’s most highly-acclaimed films to the public, most notably, Netflix’s historical drama The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Many years ago, while the script was struggling to get made he was drawn to its message and worked diligently shape it into the movie on Netflix. Now with talks of awards in its future, The Koalition spoke to Smith to learn what makes a good script and why this movie is still important to him.
“When I first read the script it was years before going into principal photography. The history around the script was important, imperative and fascinating to me personally. It was a script that has gone through a couple of iterates in production and was really struggling to get off the ground. There were so many aspects, I truly love storytelling and filmmaking that pushes society forward in one manner or another or has someone ask a question,” said Ryan.
This project really checked all of those boxes and it pushes you to ask questions and it pushes you to focus on challenging the status quo and being a better person. It fit all of those points for me and when I realized the film has gone through a couple of iterations of finances and structure and was struggling to get made I thought ‘”how in the world can I get in here and help out?'” Ryan continued.
Check out our full interview below to learn more about what it takes to finance a movie and Ryan being the President and Partner of Streamline Global, where he spearheads the development, production, and management of Streamline’s film assets, working with producers, distributors, and sales agents to curate and greenlight the company’s films.