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An uplifting short film about North Minneapolis

Welcome to North

"Welcome to North," a three-minute video created by Josh Chitwood and Morgan Jensen, highlights the positive aspects of life on the North Side of Minneapolis. 

Chitwood, who is studying media and communications at North Central University in the city’s Elliot Park neighborhood, set out to produce a film for the fourth annual RE/MAX Results City & Neighborhood Film Festival. The festival will take place on Nov. 14 at the Riverview Theater, according to the contest’s website. That day, the four top films along with an “audience choice”-award winner will receive cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, the website states. 

At the same time, Chitwood would like to see the film get more exposure, even beyond the film festival. 
Chitwood recently moved to the North Side, while Jensen, his girlfriend, was born and raised in this area of the city. That has given them an appreciation for an area they describe as “the most stereotyped side of the city.” “It gets so much of a bad rap but both of us just love North,” he says. As such, “We wanted to get something else out there that would show the good here. A lot of the news doesn’t do that. We wanted to show people the true side of North that people don’t normally see--give them a new perspective on it,” he adds. 

As they were putting together the short film last month, the couple roamed around the North Side, chatting up random strangers. They found a number of willing interviewees who had lots of good things to say about the area. All of the interviews featured in the mini-documentary came out of their meanderings. “The film is supposed to be what we love about North. Well, we know what we love but we wanted to use other people’s voices,” he says. 

Chitwood, who’s been making videos since he was a young child, has been surprised by the response so far. The film festival hasn’t happened yet, but already in just a handful of days, “Welcome to North,” which is posted online, has gotten over 4,000 views. The number of clicks has been increasing daily. “It’s cool to watch it grow,” he says. 

Chitwood plans to show the film around town in the coming weeks. “We’ve gotten a lot of amazing feedback. A lot of people have been saying that this is just what they’ve always tried to tell people about North,” he says. 

Ultimately, “I hope it just gets people to be really curious about coming and experiencing North,” he says. For those who live here, he adds, it affirms what they already know about North Minneapolis. “There’s so much community and so many families that live here. It’s a beautiful place. It’s beautifully diverse." 

Source: Josh Chitwood, filmmaker  
Writer: Anna Pratt 

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