David Gioiella always had a knack for filmmaking. The 46-year-old grew up in Darien and became involved with film production in high school, even doing some work at Cable 12 News.
“I was interested in film from an early age, and in the Darien community, there wasn’t a lot of people doing it in our area and my parents encouraged me to pursue it,” he said. “I went to college at Northwestern for film production and graduated in 1995.”
During his senior year of college, Gioiella teamed with friend Mark Littman to open their own business, Northern Lights, a New York City-based company that today consists of motion design studio Mr. Wonderful, creative production studio Bodega, and full-service audio shop SuperExploder. With offices also in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the company helps with ideation through production, editorial, audio post and motion graphic design.
“We’ve always been involved in film, TV, marketing and promotions,” Gioella said. “Once in a while, we pick a film to be involved in if it’s a cause or topic we are interested in.”
One of those films was “Chi-Town,” which first came across Gioella’s desk in 2010.
“Chi-Town” shows the multi-year journey of high school student Keifer Sykes, whose meteoric rise from Marshall High School on Chicago’s West Side to an improbable shot at the NBA is punctuated by personal loss, debilitating injury and tragic violence.
Standing just 5’11”, the odds were already low for Sykes’ dreams to come true, and adding in all he’s faced, make them seem that much more impossible. But the young man’s focus on his goal and his never-wavering support for his community is pure inspiration.