L.A. BASED ORIAN WILLIAMS, who produced the Joy Division biopic Control, has signed on to produce Winnetka native actor/director Alex Beh’s feature directorial debut, the coming-of-age story Warren. “Orian has become a good friend of mine through friends out here in Los Angeles,” Beh says.
“He’s a great guy and a stellar producer. We are doing our best to get this Chicago picture in production by late spring/early summer.”
Beh’s then-girlfriend Jennifer Love Hewitt was previously attached to star in Warren before the couple separated last spring.
Working with the LA collective Brotally, Beh has written, directed, produced and acted in the shorts Babe, Campus Cops, The Philosophy Teacher, Bus Stop, Sugar, and The Car That Ran Out of Gas for Funny Or Die.
A COMEDY SERIES, Hero Bar, is being developed by Phillip O’Neil’s Eyeromp Films and Be Creative Studios.
It stars of Strangers with Candy as “a bar owner who provides a safe haven for off-duty superheroes (and the occasional villain),” writes producer O’Neil, who offers rental packages through EyeRomp including a Sony PMW-F3.
“Hero Bar will explore (and exploit) the awkward and often disturbing behavior of superheroes after a long hard day of fighting crime,” featuring a rotating cast of local actors and comedians.
The project evolved out of the 48-Hour Film Project short I AM…Excelsior.
THE 5TH ANNUAL PEACE ON EARTH FILM FESTIVAL, dedicated to exploring nonviolence, tolerance, and social justice, runs Feb. 23-28 at the Chicago Cultural Center.
POEFF opens with Free Spirit Media’s youth-produced Sounds of Freedom, about the meaning of freedom across cultures, Keo Woolford’s Lunchtime, about the friendship between a bullied fifth grader and his former teacher, and Olivier Morel’s documentary On the Bridge, about Iraq War vets suffering from post-traumatic stress, including a Chicago police officer.
Other highlights include Kevin Breslin’s (Living for 32) Occupy doc #whilewewatch, Afrin Eghbal’s short animated documentary about Jorge Videla’s military dictatorship in Argentina, Abuelas, and the Midwest premieres of Harry Kakatsakis’s drama Admissions starring James Cromwell, and Charlie Gage’s Inspired: The Voices Against Prop 8, on Feb. 25.
PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS accepts submissions of screenplays and stage play scripts with lesbian characters Feb. 1-April 10 for the second Women’s Work Contest. Winners receive staged readings by the Pride Films and Plays Artistic Ensemble during Women’s Work Weekend, July 27-29 at the Center on Halsted’s Hoover-Leppen Theater.
CHRIS OLSEN’S DOCUMENTARY Beneath the White City Lights has its broadcast premiere Feb. 23 on Ch. 11. It’s about Thodos Dance Chicago’s 2011 ballet based on the 1893 Columbian Exposition, featuring Tony-winning choreographer and dancer Ann Reinking.
Olsen has been an animation director for Veggie Tales, Ursula the Über-Girl, and the forthcoming The Karl Dahl Show. He runs the commercial production company Kai/Harding, and directed the Emmy-nominated documentary The Artsiders.
E1 ENTERTAINMENT releases Mark Harris’s drama Black Butterfly http://www.facebook.com/1555Filmwork on DVD March 13. Mahogany Monae stars as a high school swimming champion recovering from a rape. With Richard Gallon, Sheree Bynum, Keeland Ellis, Lionel Gentle and Tiffany J. Curtis.
BRAD BRESSER AND VINCE CLEMENTE’S The World of Z about bipolar Chicago artist Zbigniew Daniel Fiks, best documentary winner at the 2011 Hollywood Film Festival, screens Feb. 2 at 7:45 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.
A PREVIEW SCREENING Feb. 5 of scenes from Junko Kajino’s and my in-progress documentary Uncanny Terrain, about organic farmers facing Japan’s nuclear crisis, is presented by High Concept Laboratories.
We will return to Japan in March to capture the anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown. Benefit reception 5-8 p.m. at 1401 W. Wabansia.
Our composer Tatsu Aoki and his band The MIYUMI Project will perform a live score, 6-7 p.m. Art by David Tanimura. No cover. RSVP required.