The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Prentice Documentary 'The Absent Column' Resumes Filming for Demolition

'The Absent Column'
View Full Caption
Nathan Eddy/Vimeo

STREETERVILLE — From his home in Germany, Northwestern grad Nathan Eddy watched for months as the battle over Prentice Women's Hospital, managed by his alma mater, raged on.

An international tech writer with a filmmaking background and a "lifelong interest in architecture," Eddy felt compelled to document the tug-of-war between preservationists and Northwestern in City Council and on the ground in Streeterville.

The resulting film, The Absent Column, which he funded out of pocket and shot with friends from Northwestern, premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa last July.

"The response no matter where we go has been one of great sadness," Eddy said. The film has since been screened at the Architecture Film Festival in Rotterdam and the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York. Since it was posted online last week, it's logged views from around the globe.

Now, in preparation for its first Chicago screening at the Music Box this April, Eddy's faced with a difficult decision: whether to add footage of the building coming down to his haunting eight-minute portrait.

"I don't know if it would be a bit much — like, torture porn," Eddy said. "I think it's important that somebody captures it, and then if we decide later to put it on at the end, we can ... but the idea of a wrecking ball going into the side of it pains me."

Brian Cagle, the film's assistant camera man, has signed on to shoot the demolition. Coordinating filming has been emotional for Eddy, who calls Prentice "the only building of its kind in the world."

"I hate to think about calling the [construction] guy and being like, 'So what's a good day? What's the day when you're gonna destroy the majority of the building?' because it's such a heartbreaking day," Eddy said.

Demolition is set to be completed by the end of this year, with construction of the new facility kicking off in early 2015.

The film has received some early acclaim — including the blessing of Geoff Goldberg, Bertrand Goldberg's son, also an architect — but was rejected by the Chicago International Film Festival, which Eddy called "a little heartbreaking."

Its premiere Chicago screening will be at the Music Box April 24-28.

Eddy says the film isn't meant to point fingers, but he hopes it will raise questions about "how we, as a society, determine what we're willing to let go, and how hard we're willing to fight for something."

"They've put Marina City on every sort of commemorative trinket you can imagine — plates, mugs, postcards — don't you think that an architect of that stature, who designed a building that was so unique, and so complex that it exists in a class of itself, isn't that worthy of a bit higher consideration?" he said. "I thought it did, and that's why I made the film."