Steve Kniss

Steve Kniss is an award-winning independent director based in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a BA in Digital Media from Eastern Mennonite University and an MFA in Cinema Directing from DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts. Additionally, he has worked as a 1st AD on multiple film projects.

My wife and I had our first son in December of 2016, in the midst of a changing world. While a new president was soon to be sworn in and Chicago was still flying high after the Chicago Cubs curse had finally been broken, my wife and I were preparing for one of the biggest adventures that life can offer. Unsure of what to expect, we dove headfirst into a world of car seats and strollers, diapers and onesies, and all of the various struggles that caring for a newborn brings. We tackled those challenges as a team and when my wife went back to work three months later and I was left to care for my newborn son alone, I realized everything that she would do that made things easier. It is out of this isolation and newfound terror that Rear View emerged.

Luckily, a newborn doesn't ask many questions. I never had to explain why my wife would be away most days, leaving early in the morning and returning late at night. However, on the off chance that something tragic would occur, what is the right way to speak to someone about death who doesn't understand that concept? Emily Dickinson once wrote, "Dying is a wild night and a new road."  Out of death comes great change to those who are still living, a new reality. I consider myself a competent father, but were I to be thrust into this job of parenthood alone, I wouldn't know where to start, and I would hope that my wife feels the same way. When we have children, we are gifting the world with a little part of our self, a part that will hopefully live on long past our departure. We are leaving behind someone who we hope will continue to move forward while keeping our memory alive, somewhere fading away in their rear view mirror.

Rear View.jpg

Rear View

To process the death of his wife, a grieving husband embarks on a road trip with his daughter to the place where it all began, the place where he and his wife fell in love.

This film explores grief and loss and how we overcome this within our shared urban spaces and our nearby nature areas. The visuals will be recognizable to native Chicagoans as we shot in and around Irving Park, Hyde Park, and Starved Rock State Park.

© 2020 Chicago Onscreen Presented by Chicago Park District