The film was shot in and set in Cincinnati and included extras and crew members from the Dayton area.
A CINCINNATI FILM
“I am so proud that this film is so Cincinnati-centric. It is very Ohio-centric,” Estevez, now a Cincinnati and Las Angeles resident, said. “We mention neighborhoods. I don’t care if the rest of the world doesn’t know what we are talking about. We say OTR. We say Northside. We say Mount Adams. “It is very Cincinnati proud, very Ohio strong.”
He joked that he’d like to hit people who are surprised that there are talented people, good restaurants and things to do in Cincinnati.
“I want to punch them in the nose,” he said. “Only in a nonviolent way.”
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The movie also includes several references to LaRosa's pizza, which Estevez's character orders in bulk during a critical part of the film.
LaRosa’s launched in Cincinnati in 1954.
The actor and director’s visit was part of his six-week, 32-city tour in support of the film project sparked by a
2007 Los Angeles Times article by Chip Ward.
A DIFFICULT SUBJECT
The piece is about librarians being forced to play the role of social workers and first responders as libraries become de facto daytime homeless shelters.
"It is not what they went to library school for," Estevez told the audience in Dayton. "At the end of the piece, he asked the reader, 'are we doing enough, and what more can you do?' I sat with that for a while and thought 'I am a filmmaker. I am a storyteller. Is there a movie here?' "
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“The Public” centers around a police standoff with homeless library patrons who have staged a sit-in during a life-threatening cold snap.
Estevez has screened the drama/comedy at film festivals, homeless shelters and libraries.
A community discussion about homelessness followed the 2 p.m. Sunday screening of the movie at the Neon.
A list of local actors including musician John W. Harden, retired U.S. Marshal and Huber Heights police officer "Hickory" William Taylor and Dayton native Bryant Louis Bentley are extras in "The Public."
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Several other local people who worked on the movie were in the audience as were several of Estevez’s family members.
Estevez is the son of Dayton native Martin Sheen, who was born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez and still maintains ties to Dayton.
His mother, actress Janet Sheen, was raised in Cincinnati.
MAKING FILMS IN OHIO
Estevez had high praise for Cincinnati and Ohio’s film industry and arts.
He encouraged other directors to come to the state, saying Ohio has locations that have not been overused, which is the case with cities like Vancouver, Albuquerque and Toronto, he said.
And he said there are quality filmmakers here.
“What’s happening with the film industry in Cincinnati is that there are amazing technicians, wonderful actors,” he said. “What we are seeing is this incredible talent, this deep bench starting to be created in the Cincinnati area.”