Call Sheet: Knives, Grasshoppers and Outer Space Comedies

Call Sheet: Knives, Grasshoppers and Outer Space Comedies

Jennifer Reeder (pictured top left) is eyeing Summer 2018 for her next feature, AS WITH KNIVES AND SKIN, and will shoot in Ohio and Illinois. The feature is a Midwestern gothic teen noir based on themes from Reeder's short film A MILLION MILES AWAY, which made its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Reeder is in early pre-production, focusing on casting and fundraising at this point, and has already attached producers Brian and Jan Hieggelke of Chicago Film Project, who worked with Reeder on her most recent feature SIGNATURE MOVE, as well as Louisville-based producer Gil Holland. Many more updates forthcoming with this production in the coming months.

OFFICE (OUTER) SPACE: A new pilot sets its sights on space... sort of. Ogilvy & Mather Creative Director Stirling McLaughlin (pictured center) and Wilder Konschak — the team behind the soon-to-be-released feature film COLD WAR — are already at work on their next project, POD PEOPLE, a half-hour workplace comedy set inside a simulated mission to Titan, which smart people will tell you is the largest moon of Saturn (I had to google). The team is hoping to secure financing for a pilot this summer/fall and move into production early next year in Chicago. As this mission nears its launch... as always, I'll keep you posted!

GRASSHOPPER LAUNCHING THIS FALL: The debut feature from Brad Bischoff THE GRASSHOPPER has cast Bulgarian-born, New York-based actress Iva Gocheva (who starred in EMBERS alongside Jason Ritter) as its female lead and is currently prepping for production in Chicago this fall. Bischoff calls the film "a darker and more adult version of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF... Instead of a kid ditching class, it's a middle-aged suburban man ditching work. It's about how the older we get, the harder it is to run away from responsibility." Cast will also include Frank V. Ross (Joe Swanberg's SXSW pick DRINKING BUDDIES) and the on-screen debut of Chicago film critic Patrick McDonald. Producers include Malik Bader, Alex Hidalgo and Shane Simmons, with Phil O'Neil and Olivia Curry as associate producers. Click here to follow this upcoming production.

FINISH THE PARTY STRONG: Following up on my article about MAKE OUT PARTY last month, the film is fully shot and is now crowdfunding to fuel its final post-production push. MAKE OUT PARTY is a no-budget, high-style love letter to the Chicago underground from director Emily Esperanza (pictured top right) and Full Spectrum Features. This ensemble film offers a glimpse into a colorfully queered world in which the ‘outsider-as-main-character’ dynamic exists without relying on socially-constructed otherness. Donate to the film by clicking here and while you're at it, enjoy this pitch from the filmmakers:

TURNING THE PAGES THIS WEEK: The political thriller THE PAGES wraps production this week. Filming in Evanston and Chicago, Tika Sumpter, Ben Tavassoli and Jamie Lee Curtis star, writer-director is Chicago's Joe Chappelle. The plot centers on a former top U.S. security adviser Elizabeth “Libby” Lamm (Sumpter) who is threatened by associates from her dark past in this story of betrayal and regret. Click here for my full article about THE PAGES earlier this summer and I'll keep you posted as this feature forges ahead into post-production.

AND PAGES TO BE TURNED SOON: Congratulations to Chicago screenwriter Amir Mohabbat, whose script PLAY PAL was a finalist at the Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival and whose script THE HONOUR DIARY was a semi-finalist with the International Screenwriters' Association's Table-Read My Screen Play contest in New Orleans and made the top 15% in the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowships competition.

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