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Erin Babbin & Michael Sullivan

Erin Babbin & Michael Sullivan are the founding partners of On The Real Film, a Chicago based photography and video production company. Babbin is a Chicago native, continuing her family's tradition of artmaking begun by her grandmother in photography and her mother in filmmaking. She studied documentary film at Columbia College Chicago.


Michael Sullivan is an El Paso, Texas native. He studied fine arts at the University of Texas, Austin and expanded from still photography to filmmaking and video after moving to Chicago and partnering with Babbin.


Babbin & Sullivan started On The Real Film in 2011 and have worked since then documenting the work of artists and musicians, arts organizations, nonprofit organizations and universities. On The Real Film's work has been screened locally in Chicago and internationally in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Hamburg, San Francisco, Belleville, Denver, Toronto, and Park City.


The Nibi (Water) Walks are Indigenous-led, extended ceremonies to pray for the water. Every step is taken in prayer and gratitude for water, our life giving force. Walking for Water is a short documentary following the 2019 Water Walk in Chicago led by Sharon Day. We wanted to document Chicago’s first Water Walk organized by Carly Visk, Andrea Dennis, and Erin Babbin to honor the work that is being done and to raise awareness about our waters. Erin Babbin and Michael Sullivan run On The Real Film, a documentary film and photo company. We are also avid backpackers and campers and prefer to spend as much time living outside as possible, and our favorite subject to make art with is the natural beauty of Mother Earth. We believe water is life and that humans have to find a way to live in harmony with Mother Earth, and we know that emotionally connecting art is a great way to reach people to the point of action.

Walking For Water Official Trailer
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Walking for Water

The Nibi (Water) Walks are Indigenous-led extended ceremonies to pray for the water. WALKING FOR WATER is a meditative short documentary film that follows, step by step, along on one walk led by Sharon Day in 2019, observing the sacred process of expressing gratitude for water and offering thanks thankful for our life-giving force with every step.


Walking for Water is a short documentary following the 2019 Water Walk in Chicago led by Sharon Day. Co-directors Erin Babbin and Michael Sullivan run Chicago based production company On The Real Film.

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To learn more about Nibi Walks, and the histories and traditions of Indigenous and Native Peoples in the Chicago area, visit:

Nibi Walks

American Indian Center of Chicago

Mitchell Museum of the American Indians

Native Land

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On the Real Film is a creative partnership between filmmakers Erin Babbin and Michael Sullivan. See more of their work and learn about their film, video and photography work at