Spike Lee and John Cusack Defend Upcoming Film, 'Chiraq'

The film was criticized for comparing gun violence in Chicago to war in Iraq.

However, the director isn't backing down, and held a news conference at a local church today to discuss the controversy.

"A lot of things have been said about this film ... [by] people who know nothing about the film. A lot of people have opinions about the so-called title of the film. Again, [they] know nothing about the film," he said, adding that those who criticize it will end up looking "stupid."

"I love Chicago," he said. "Wait till the movie comes out. You don’t like it, [criticize it], but see it first. Pray for us. Let’s pray for all Chicago."

"He did say the movie would take on the subject of black-on-black violence, specifically African-American male-to-African-American male violence, and how it's affecting the community and what goes on," Emanuel said. "I said then, and I believe, that's an important conversation to have. Given you're a great artist, while I don't support the title and I don't like the working title, the topic is a conversation that has been ignored for too long and needs to be discussed."

"I realize the title 'Chiraq' could be perceived as a glorification of violence," noted Pfleger, "but we must face the reality of what's going on across America. We cannot hide from it. We cannot become immune to it. We cannot ignore it. We cannot deny it: Violence is real in America."

"Art must be courageous and everyone who wants a more peaceful America will understand where the heart of this film is. And speaking personally, there really is no controversy around this film," he said. "Put it this way: I am 100 percent sure that the great city of Chicago can survive a a film of conscience, just like it did 'Transformers.'"