Olympia’s Cast and Crew on Capturing Millennial Malaise in Chicago (Interview)


We talk to star/writer McKenzie Chinn, director Gregory Dixon, and actor Charles Andrew Gardner about their vibrant, Chicago-set indie about a young woman navigating her thirties.

As we continue to wrap up our coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival, it’s important to take a look at some of the smaller stuff that came out of the fest, especially those set in the city the festival calls home. Gregory Dixon‘s vibrant, energetic indie coming-of-age dramedy Olympia is a rather fun breath of fresh air – the tale of a conflicted thirtysomething (writer/star McKenzie Chinn) struggling to make ends meet at a dead-end job, dealing with a dying mother in the hospital, and fighting with her boyfriend (Charles Andrew Gardner) about whether Chicago is really the right place for her.

Chinn’s script is relaxed and acerbic, the performances are naturalistic and witty, and Dixon’s stylized approach captures the verve of Chicago alongside the jazzy, pop-infused score from Josh Coffey and Otto Sharp. (You can read our capsule review from our CIFF dispatches here.)

While at the festival, I got the chance to sit down with Chinn, Dixon and Gardner to talk about the struggles of getting the film made, Chicago as an vital artistic resource, and the importance for women of color to tell their own stories. 

Thanks to our sponsor Overcast as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)

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About Clint Worthington

Clint Worthington is a Chicago-based film/TV critic and podcaster. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, you can find his other film work at Consequence of Sound (where he is a Senior Staff Writer), Crooked Marquee, IndieWire and UPROXX. He is also the co-host of Nathan Rabin's Happy Cast.

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