Big News for Two Chicago Screenwriters

Big News for Two Chicago Screenwriters

The foundation of any great film is an exceptional screenplay. Two Chicago screenwriters are taking huge strides, with one of the biggest producers in Hollywood and the biggest film festival on the planet in the mix... here are two stories to follow...

RIDE ALONG PRODUCER BUYS 3-1-2: Universal Pictures and Will Packer Productions have acquired rights to 3-1-2, a script from writer Ike Smith about the diverse journeys of hopeful millennials as they seek their true potential while surviving the extreme violence of inner-city Chicago, the 3-1-2. The project will be produced by Packer and his head of motion pictures James F. Lopez. No news yet on production dates for 3-1-2 but as cast, crew and locations become available, I’ll keep you posted here at SCREEN.

Ike Smith is a native of Chicago’s West Side and a recent Academy Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist. He was born and raised in the 15th district neighborhood of South Austin near “L-Block,” the area with the highest homicide-related incidents in Chicago. He currently serves as an unofficial gang intervention liaison on Chicago’s West and South Sides.

Packer, meanwhile, of course is one of Hollywood’s most successful producers, who has seen eight of his films open to No. 1 at the box office. Those include RIDE ALONG and RIDE ALONG 2, No Good Deed, THINK LIKE A MAN and STOMP THE YARD.

SUNDANCE HOPEFULS: Corn Bred Films’ Amelia Dellos and Eric Anderson’s script Oriole Park has been selected for the second round of consideration for the 2017 January Screenwriters Lab. All applicants will be notified about final selections for the lab later this month.

Inspired by true events, Oriole Park follows a group of working class families struggling to make sense of a string of disappearances that rock the community leading up to the arrest of serial killer John Wayne Gacy in December 1978. The project is being produced by Jennifer Scher (Co-producer of Steve Conrad’s upcoming Amazon series Patriot) and will be directed by New York-based director Jordan Galland (Ava’s Possessions).

The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer's workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking.

“It’s a huge honor just to be moved through to the final selection round,” said Dellos. “Obviously, being selected for the Sundance lab would be a game-changer for Oriole Park and for us as screenwriters. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Click here for more about ORIOLE PARK and Corn Bred Films.

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