Chicago Features Pitch Perfect

Chicago Features Pitch Perfect

Screenwriter Keaton Wooden’s concept for the sci-fi adventure film LANDERS emerged victorious this past weekend at the American Film Market’s Pitch Conference held in Santa Monica, California. Wooden's (pictured left with his producer Katherine Imp) pitch edged out a total of 20 contestants, selected by an esteemed panel that included included Stephanie Palmer, former head of creative affairs at MGM, Tobin Armbrust, producer of BEGIN AGAIN, and Cassian Elwes, producer of DALLAS BUYERS CLUB.

"To win the pitch conference was an amazing honor," Wooden told SCREEN. "We've been working hard on LANDERS and cannot wait to show it to the world. This is a fantastic first step!"

LANDERS will feature seven misfits selected to be the first colonists on Mars. It follows their last year on Earth as they train and prepare to leave their entire lives behind. The script was written by the 28-year-old Wooden, producers include Wooden, filmmaker and SCREEN columnist Katherine Imp and filmmaker Paul Fleschner.

A familiar face was among the 600 person capacity crowd at AFM... and she agreed with the panelists. “Hearing Keaton talk about his film idea was mesmerizing,” said Ebert Companies CEO Chaz Ebert.

The production team is in the process of packaging the film and securing first round financing. Questions can be sent to

HOME RUN FOR ORIOLE PARK: The Pitch, presented by IFP Chicago and Chicago International Film Festival, selected six narrative features in development to present seven-minute-max pitch presentations to a panel of industry judges at the JW Marriott on October 25th. Judges included veteran producers Amy Hobby, Brett Hudson, and Steve Pink as well Aijah Keith from Acquisitions at IFC Films.

The judges selected Oriole Park by Amelia Dellos and Eric Anderson as the winning pitch and the recipient of a bundle of in-kind production and post services (including donations from AVID, Hewlett-Packard, Magnanimous Media and Stage 18) valued at approximately $20,000. The judges also gave an Honorable Mention to Signature Move by Fawzia Mirza, Brian Hieggelke, and Eugene Park.

The pitches included: TILL pitched by Brett Hays and Jennifer Shelby; Oriole Park pitched by Amelia Dellos and Eric Anderson; Ghostaphobia pitched by Brandon and Collin Shiffli; As with Knives and Skin pitched by Jennifer Reeder; Signature Move pitched by Fawzia Mirza, Brian Hieggelke, Eugene Park; and Carney Kill pitched by John McNaughton and Steven A. Jones.

Click here to follow ORIOLE PARK. As both of these features head into production, I'll keep you posted!

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at