December 15, 2011 by Mike McNamara
STEPHEN F(INDS) AUSTIN: Chicago filmmaker Stephen Cone will follow up his recent Outfest Grand Jury winner “The Wise Kids” with “Black Box,” a college theatre drama which will begin shooting in and around Chicago this February. Cone has lured Steppenwolf theatre and film veteran Austin Pendleton to the cast and will be bringing back his director of photography Stephanie Dufford, production designer Caity Birmingham and producer Laura Klein. With a screenplay written by Cone, “Black Box” follows a grad student and a group of undergrads as they stage an adaptation of an 80s horror novel. More from Stephen at www.conearts.com.
UNOFFICALLY UNDEREMPLOYED? As we know, “Underemployed” has been picked up by MTV, its pilot was filmed in Chicago and there are now at least rumblings (read: this is not confirmed) that the series will be filming back in town this coming April. Emmy-nominated executive producer Craig Wright (“Brothers & Sisters”) has some ties to Chicago, particularly the acclaimed A Red Orchid Theatre, which presented the world premiere of Wright’s “Mistakes Were Made,” starring Oscar nominee and ensemble member Michael Shannon. More “Underemployment” news coming soon…
POWERS RESHOOTING? There are reports circulating that FX will spend January on some reshoots and reworking of the pilot for its adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’ ‘Powers’ comic book. Bendis apparently sees this as a good sign that the network will pick up the series but it’s all still undecided at this point. What is fairly certain is that the FX super-powered series would film in Chicago if green-lit… I’ll keep you posted!
MARCH TO JAPAN: Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski are back in Chicago cutting their documentary “Uncanny Terrain” about organic farmers facing Japan’s nuclear crisis. The duo will return to Fukushima in March to capture the first anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and power plant meltdown. Bassist Tatsu Aoki, who runs the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, has joined the project as composer. Updates at www.uncannyterrain.com.
NOIR IN THE NEW YEAR: Chicago filmmaker Ryan Miller heads into post-production on his ambitious sci-fi noir feature “A City to Make Me.” Miller’s team includes D.P. Matthew Hughes and producers Jason Chapman and Brittany Pawlowski. West coast actor Lance Lee Davis is joined by a supporting cast of Chicago-area talent Theresa Teng, Walt Sloan, Noelle Lynn, and Christine Navarro. You can check out the trailer hot off the presses at www.acitytomakeme.com.
WOMEN IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR: Blue Damen Pictures is headed into post-production after wrapping their debut feature film “Dark Before Dawn.” Produced using an ultra low budget and a largely improvised script, “Dark Before Dawn” tells the story of two strangers stranded at night in an unfamiliar town, awaiting the morning train. Director-producer Gwydhar Gebien (that’s pronounced GWID-druh for those of you keeping score at home) has teamed up with cinematographer (and husband) Danellyn Gebien, associate producer/composer Daniel Vendt and actors Pete Garlock and Amy Karen to bring this story to the screen. Check in for updates at www.darkbeforedawn-movie.com.
Is your film heading into production? Please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about it. I’ll do my best to include it in “The Call Sheet.”
Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival. Follow the fest at www.twitter.com/midwestfilm. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.