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The Big Payback

  Erika Alexander & Whitney Dow

  United States     92 minutes


In 2021, Evanston, Illinois became the first city in the United States to approve a reparations program for some of its Black residents. How did it get there? Captivating and urgent, The Big Payback follows the dramatic journey of rookie Alderman Robin Rue Simmons as she fights to redress the wrongs of “redlining” and the legacy of slavery. Filmmakers Erika Alexander (John Lewis: Good Trouble) and Whitney Dow (Two Towns of Jaspar) chart Simmons’ emotional and political path from the onset of the pandemic through the racial protests of 2020, as she faces detractors who criticize her legislation for doing too little and supporters who herald the bill as an important first step into the future. An inspiring story of the early signals of seismic change, one citizen and then one city at a time.

Screenings & Events

Virtual Screening

Available to stream Oct 13 @ 12:00pm CT through Oct 23 @ 11:59pm CT for a 48-hour watch window. Available in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin only.


Film Credits

  •   Ben Arnon, Xan Parker, Erika Alexander, Whitney Dow
  •   Melissa Neidich, Chistopher Nizza
  •   Margaret Byrne, Kevin Shaw, Brett Wiley, Keith Walker
  •   Tom Efinger
  •   Adrian Younge
  •   Katy Barksdale, Joy Ann Reid, Jason Reid, Marco Williams, Adrienne Becker, Jedd Canty, Dara Canty, Spring Point Partners
  •   Color Farm Media, Feral Films, Reversal Pictures


Film Sponsor

Logo: CMP 273x75

Documentary Sponsor

Logo: WTTW (2019)

Documentary Patron

Cynthia Stone Raskin