Students’ film brings new perspective to potential Bears move


Photo courtesy of Ryan Deitch

The documentary called “The Handoff” released on Jan. 24, and was directed and written by DePaul junior Ryan Deitch.

As the Chicago Bears move to Arlington Heights still looms in the air, controversy from the people of Chicago and those who reside in Arlington Heights have weighed in on what the team should do. 

Junior Ryan Deitch set out to present a different angle on the Bears potential relocation. The DePaul film major has been fascinated by documentary production and wanted to take it to the next level. 

Deitch isn’t a Bears fan. As a Dallas native and Cowboys fan, the film portrays a different angle than what we’ve seen on television so far. 

“Not being a Bears really enabled me to take an objective standpoint,” Deitch said. “I couldn’t care less if the Bears move to Arlington Heights or stay at Soldier Field.” 

Deitch met with fellow film majors who attended DePaul to help him produce the film. He looked for editors and other passionate students to make this film the best possible. 

This was a yearlong project that had nothing to do with a class at DePaul. It was an idea that the  up-and-coming documentary filmmaker made as a passion project. 

After the long wait to find interviewers who would sit down with Deitch and his team, the undergraduate released “The Handoff – A Look into The Bears Possible Exodus from Chicago.” 

The Film, which was made available on Jan. 24 on YouTube and, gives the complete two sides of the story that most interested people of the public have yet to see. The film features the voices of the President of the Bears Ted Phillips, Mayor of Arlington Heights Tom Hayes, state Sen. Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights, University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanders and Chicago Alderman Scott Waguespack. 

Deitch first got his idea when he arrived in Chicago and began to hear the rumor of the relocation. He was able to experience Soldier Field for the first time and became fascinated. 

“When I first got to Chicago I was always amazed by Soldier Field,” Deitch said. “How their NFL football team played in a stadium that is located right downtown. That is very rare for NFL team’s around the league. The Cowboys play out in the suburbs 45 to 30 minutes outside of downtown Dallas.” 

After the idea surfaced, Deitch went to a friend who is a Bears fan and lives in the potential area of the new stadium with the idea to make this documentary. 

Senior Ryan Miler, the colorist of the film, and senior Kate Kunz, the editor, set out to help Deitch make this project and give it the perspective that made it so popular in just 12 days. 

“Ultimately, I’m really happy with how the film came out,” Miler said. “We came up with this idea to use more blue and orange colors [in the film] because of the team.” 

Since the release of the film, it has received 10,000 views on YouTube and grabbed the attention of Chicago news media. 

Deitch was interviewed by WGN, the Daily Herald and has appeared on several radio stations. The outpour of publicity and support was something the DePaul film majors did not expect to receive. 

“No, no I was really [surprised],” Kunz said. “One of the things that was important was that we get it out on time when the story is actually being talked about. I hoped that it would catch on because I thought that it was a really important and good story to tell.” 

Deitch, Miler and Kunz, said they see themselves making contributions to films of the future once they graduate and pursue the industry. 

Deitch is already working on his next film as he tries to tell the story of the current state of the Chicago Transit Authority. Deitch received an Incubator Grant from DePaul to help cover his production expenses. The film is set to release in the summer. 

“The contribution from this team was vital,” Deitch said. “I consider myself a half decent producer and interviewer to some extent, but to have this amazing talented group of people come together and dedicate countless hours to this project was incredible.”