The Liberty Kid: a highly successful indie

(Canscene) — Illya Chaiken, a young woman I’ve never had the good fortune to meet is the daughter of an old friend, Winnipeg–born painter Bill Chaiken who in his eighties is still making brilliant and colourful statements on canvas.

In recent months, Bill’s wife Elke has been keeping us informed on the remarkable life of an indie production written and directed by their daughter Illya and about the remarkable prowess of the film which is becoming a runaway success at film festivals and theatrical showings.

The film The Liberty Kid was turned down for both Sundance and the Toronto International festivals but since last summer has gained terrific momentum; it was seen at the Los Angeles, New York Latino and Woodstock festivals and last month ran on two HBO channels. It also runs in competition at the upcoming Atlanta Film Festival.


The Liberty Kid is the story of two young American Latinos who peddle souvenirs at the base of the Statue of Liberty until 9/11 finds them in a prohibited site and drives them out of business.

The two young friends struggle to survive after losing their jobs. Derrick, courted by Army recruiters, seeks a life outside of their Brooklyn neighborhood, while Tico leads him on a detour into the street-hustling life.

Here’s what the New York Times said about The Liberty Kid “There’s not a single wrong note in ‘Liberty Kid,’ …Tender, wise and deceptively low-key… Quietly accumulates emotional power… Not until the graceful, perfectly judged conclusion do we realize how much we care.”

And there are many more reviews like that one.

I can’t wait for The Liberty Kid to arrive here either theatrically or on DVD. Meanwhile, to whet your cinematic appetite as they did mine check out these URLs one of which features an interview with Illya Chaiken.


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