Phil Ranstrom is an Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and director. With over 25 years of experience working for a variety of clients in the entertainment, news, and public relations fields, he strives to remind his audiences about the relationship between music and identity in our personal and national stories.
He is currently completing his documentary film Pierogi Blues, the story of how the blues migrated from Chicago to Warsaw, Poland, and the radical social, cultural and political changes it inspired within two very different communities.
In addition to many independent projects, Phil Ranstrom has served as the president, writer, producer and director of Maxwell Street Documentary LLC since 2006.
Some of Phil’s best works include the Emmy Award-winning, Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street, the feature-length, independent, historical documentary about the rise and fall of Chicago’s beloved Maxwell Street market, and Electrified: The Story of the Maxwell Street Urban Blues, a chronicle of the birth of the electric, urban blues at Chicago’s Maxwell Street. A complete list of his filmography can be found below:
2015: Pierogi Blues (Documentary) (documentary director)
2008: Electrified: The Story of the Maxwell Street Urban Blues (Documentary short)
2006: Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street (Documentary)
1986: House Music in Chicago (Documentary short)
1985: Reclaiming America (TV Short documentary)
1983: Uptown Christian Soldiers (TV Short documentary)
1983: I Remember Riverview (TV Short documentary)
1982: The Cocaine Express (Documentary short) (documentary director)
In addition to documentary film, Phil Ranstrom has a passion for history, politics, and music. Growing up, his father was a jazz guitarist who inspired him to play the piano, violin, sousaphone, and guitar. As a precocious young boy, Phil learned to play the guitar simply by ear by the age of 13. His mother strongly influenced his desire to understand history. His mother was an award-winning investigative journalist who covered the war in France during World War II. Together, his parents served as strong influential figures in his early childhood development, encouraging him to be compassionate and partial to the side of justice. They taught him how to listen and tell stories.
In his free time, Phil also likes to travel the world to embrace new cultures and meet new people. So far, he has traveled to Poland, Western Europe, Kazakhstan, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada. He is hoping to travel to Asia someday soon.