Englewood in Southside Chicago began to be called Chiraq when there were more deaths reported there, annually, than US soldiers killed in the combined wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. George Gittoes who has spent the last 50 years covering wars as an artist, filmmaker, and photographer turns his attention to the US and spends three years on May Block, the epicenter of gun violence. The situation gets too real when three of the characters are killed during filming. Between January and October 2021, there were 700 gun deaths and 3,766 woundings, doubling the casualty figures of 2018 when filming began.
No Bad Guys is an intimate and immersive, character-based film following the lives of both the gun-carrying perpetrators and the bereaved families of the victims. When asked “Who are the Bad Guys doing this to you?” the repeated answer is “There are no Good Buys of Bad Guys – it is other guys on other blocks just like us.” Everyone wants to see an end to the violence while the cycle of revenge turns relentlessly.
May Block has a Guardian Angel, Kaylyn Prior who won the Mario Make me a model competition for her beatify and talent only to be killed on the street corner a few days after her triumph. The depth of feeling about her loss has not faded. The most conflicted of the film’s characters, Headshot, says “Kaylyn was smart, she could have done anything she put her mind to. She could have been the first black woman President.”
Southside Chicago has exported the greatest music the world has known. from Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters to Diana Washington and Jennifer Hudson. Music Director Hellen Rose has created a rich soundtrack for No Bad Guys showcasing local musicians from the young upcoming street freestyling stars Lil Mac and Lil Dave to Tamari T with his Exotic Funk band. The film builds to the hope offered in a converted firehouse where the Music Box foundation works to find a solution to the violence by replacing guns with guitars.
The hope of the film is that audiences will grow to love the characters and see that there are no bad guys, just people like them seeking a way out of the violence