A vision of a country home with the conveniences of the city prompted Joseph Sears to move his family from Chicago’s Prairie Avenue to the undeveloped woodland north of the city on the shores of Lake Michigan. The story of the realization of that vision and the founding of his ideal village – Kenilworth – is told in the Kenilworth Historical Society’s new film.
Written and produced by award-winning filmmaker John Newcombe, “Kenilworth: The Suburban Ideal” is an authentic historical account of the early village, detailing Joseph Sears’ vision for creating his idyllic community. The film includes many recollections from early residents, including excerpts from the extensive hand-written diaries of Joseph Sears’ daughter, Dorothy.
“As an early planned suburban community, Kenilworth has a particularly interesting history,” recounts KHS past-president Tim Miller who chaired the KHS film committee. The project was first initiated in the fall of 2014 when the KHS board approved the funding to develop a script for the proposed film. Subsequently, acclaimed filmmaker and Winnetka native John Newcombe was selected to script and produce the film. “John spent 6 months creating the script. He immersed himself in the history of the village, studying mass amounts of historical documents, reviewing chronicles, and completely internalizing Joseph Sears’ rationale for why and how he developed the village,” explained Miller. “John then spent the next 12 months bringing the script to life through the production of the film.”
The resulting documentary contains historical images expertly blended with new aerial footage provided by Kenilworth resident and pilot Brad Savage.
“Our objective was to create an accurate and interesting film documenting the history of Kenilworth for our current village residents and for future generations,” explained Miller. “Additionally, our hope is that it will be the carrot that entices people to come into the Historical Society to see our rotating and permanent exhibits and to learn more,” added Ginny Anderson, KHS executive director.
Although John Newcombe’s efforts have been paramount in the creation of this film, twenty people were involved in its making, from those who reviewed the scripts to those who researched the historical data to ensure its accuracy. Special acknowledgement goes to the members of the Kenilworth Historical Society’s Film Committee (Tim Miller, Steve Crawford, Mary Glerum, Jean Patterson, Ginny Anderson, Bill Hinchliff), and KHS curators Melinda Kwedar and Kyle Mathers, as well as Brad Savage for his outstanding aerial footage, David Jeremiah for his engaging film narration, and Frances Newcombe for her eye-catching graphics, enhancements and colorations.
The film will be introduced and available for purchase at the Historical Society’s Biennial Dinner on October 21st. John Newcombe will be speaking on its production and showing clips from the film.
The film will be available for purchase in DVD and Blu-ray format for $20 at the Kenilworth Historical Society, 415 Kenilworth Avenue, starting October 22nd. Kenilworth Historical Society hours of operation are: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, Mondays and Thursdays.
For more information about this film visit kenilworthmovie.com.