$350,000 murder mystery in 35mm is filmmaker Mike Merrill’s third feature

Mike Merrill of N’Site Films will direct his third feature in twelve months this July when he begins production on the $350,000 35mm murder mystery “August.” Merrill, who founded N’Site Films in 1994, has produced and/or directed music videos, TV shows and commercials.

Investment banker Vincent Craig Williams is financing “August” through his Finger on the Trigger Productions. Williams’ script tells the story of a group of businessmen who frequent the titular bar. “When one of the guys at the table gets killed, we see in flashback the motive they each had to kill this guy,” Merrill said. “I met Vince about a year and half ago, and he had such a good script, with so many twists, and he hired me as director.”

Jeffrey T. Brown (“One Week,” “dark,”) will shoot for three weeks. Merrill is in the process of casting principal roles and hiring crew.

“We want to tell an intriguing story, go the festival route and get our names out there,” Merrill said. “We’re aiming for a distribution deal for video and cable, and hopefully a theatrical release.”

Merrill’s first feature, “Even Trade,” premieres June 23 at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. “Even Trade” is one of three Chicago productions in the fest’s 11-feature slate, along with Elliott V. Porter’s “Player in Training” and Stephen Foley’s “Strange as Angels.”

Merrill directed the HD drama “Even Trade” last summer. Longtime collaborator Faris FayCurry produced and starred with David Newman. FayCurry raised the $300,000 budget through his G-Han Films. FayCurry and Newman play old friends and partners in crime who wind up on opposite sides of a deadly kidnapping scam.

Merrill wrapped production in early May on his second feature, the $45,000 DV psychological horror pic “Comatose.” Producer/star Simeon Henderson financed through his Simbolic Entertainment. Newman co-starred.

Merrill has a number of feature scripts in development, including “Checkmate,” a co-production with Randy Holcomb’s Street Gems Productions, slated for a 2005 shoot on a multi-million dollar budget.

N’Site Films is at 400 W. Ontario, Suite 208. Call 312/560-1165 or see www.nsitefilms.com.

??by Ed M. Koziarski, edk@homesickblues.com