Actor Stolte signs with Orlandino’s “Anita” feature

VERSATILE ACTOR CHRISTIAN STOLTE will play the role of American seaman John Griggs, in Joe Orlandino and Lucia Mauro’s historical indie feature about Brazilian freedom fighter Anita Garibaldi (Leticia Sabatella). Screenwriter Mauro says she has admired Stolte’s work in Chicago theatre since her days as a theatre critic and is delighted to be working with him. 

Anita fought side by side with her husband Giuseppe Garibaldi (Stephen Baldwin) in 1849 during Italy’s early struggles for independence, fighting their most ferocious battles at sea. Griggs was a dedicated Quaker American member of Garibaldi’s sailing crew.

Steppenwolf’s Rick Snyder directs the under $5 million film.  Also starring singer-actress Carol Lawrence, David Pasquesi, Rich Cotovsky, Anthony Fleming III, James Joseph, Ricardo Gutierrez, Dawn “Sam” Alden and Keith Erick Davis.

Orlandino expects to film in Sardinia next year.

 “THE SMALL ASSASSIN,” a thriller based on a Ray Bradbury short story, produced by Beverly Ridge Pictures, achieved its original goal set 6 years ago of worldwide distribution. After producing the feature “Chicago Overcoat,” Beverly Ridge director Chris Charles, along with partners John Bosher Kevin Moss and JoAnne Moss, returned to the short, reediting and rescoring to turn it into a prize-winning festival favorite.

As a result, Beverly Ridge landed distribution deals with Shorts International, the world’s largest short film distributor, subscription VOD IndieFlix, and independent film marketplace IndieReign and Shorts Entertainment Networks for short, about a couple who fear that their newborn baby is out to kill them.”  

KARTEMQUIN’S SUCCESSES brimmed over during the month of October, starting with “The Interrupters” winning an Emmy from the New York News and Documentary Emmys, followed by securing $87,550 in grants and a successful gala benefit.

And at last week’s Good Pitch Chicago, eight foundations pledged support for “The Homestretch,” Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare’s doc about homeless youth in Chicago.

Kartemquin is now prepping to send three films to IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam), the world’s largest doc fest, Nov. 20-Dec. 1. Usama Alshaibi’s “American Arab” and “The Trials of Muhammad Ali, directed by Bill Siegel will screen there, while Dan Rybick and Aaron Wickenden’s “Almost There” was selected to deliver a Central Pitch there.

And starting next year, Kartemquin will be releasing a record 8 new films in theatres and/or on TV.

FOR ANIMATORS AND FANS, the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, Nov. 9 at the Nightingale Cinema, is a bonanza of outstanding experimental, abstract and unconventional animation curated from new and rare animations and overlooked works.  Equally varied is the film content of cosmic abstraction, psychedelic characters, geometric patterning and surrealist narrative.

At 1084 N. Milwaukee, screenings at 2:30, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; $10 admission; $30 festival pass includes the 2013 festival poster, designed and printed by Sonnenzimmer.

LITTLE CABIN FILMS on Nov. 16 sneak previews “Vannin’- A Documentary,” about the late ‘60s and early ‘70s realization of life on the open road when stock vans were converted to crazy custom rides. 

Directed by Andrew J. Morgan and Nick Nummerdor “Vannin’” follows the events the largest van assembly in the country — the 40th Annual National Truck-In — and uncovers the Vanning lifestyle through its history and the community that made it a vital part of American culture. 

At the Patio Theatre, 6:30 p.m., $5; screening followed by a panel discussion. Co-sponsored by the Chicago Cinema Society and Shiner Beer.

“APPROACHING MIDNIGHT” writer/director/producer Sam Logan Khaleghi’s crime drama about a returning wounded Army veteran, has been released on DVD and is being distributed by LA-based Monterey Media to all major retail outlets. 

Filmed in areas around Chicago and Detroit, it stars Jana Kramer(“One Tree Hill”), Brandon T. Jackson (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”) and Mia Serafino (“The Butterfly Effect 3”).

A Mt. Prospect resident, Khaleghi heads SLK Media Group, LA, which produces commercials, corporate, music videos and other entertainment projects out of Chicago, Detroit and LA.

THE DOC “INK 180,” about the inspirational life and work of tattoo artist Chris Baker, will be introduced Nov. 19 at a  launch party at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.  The doc is about the rescue mission and hope extended to individuals saved from human trafficking and gang life.  It was produced by the Total Living Network (TLN) of Aurora and TEC Services.

Ed Koziarski is currently shooting overseas and will return to the Reel in early December.