Eric Anderson and Amelia Dellos’ screenplay, “Oriole Park,” a tale about John Wayne Gacy’s decade-long killing spree, won “The Pitch” prize of $20,000 of in-kind services, sponsored by IFP Chicago.
The screenplay bested five other projects that pitched Sunday, Oct. 25 during the 51st annual Chicago International Film Festival’s first “Industry Days,” offering a different take on the Gacy legend, very much in the vein of Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam” and David Fincher’s “Zodiac.”
“It’s really about a working class neighborhood coming to terms with the idea that there is a monster in their midst,” explained Anderson, co-owner of Corn Bred Films with Dellos, his wife.
“The idea for ‘Oriole Park’ really began when I was in seventh grade,” said Dellos. “My teacher told us a gruesome story about a man living in our neighborhood who was murdering young men and burying them in his basement. Living only a few blocks away left an impression. I knew it was a story I wanted to tell.”
Over the course of four years, the married writing and producing team developed the screenplay, garnering the interest of Jennifer Scher, producer on screenwriter/director Steve Conrad’s “Timms Valley,” and writer/producer Sonny Mallhi (“The Lake House”).
Christian Stolte, from “Chicago Fire,” portrays the evil Gacy. Other talent attached are Joey King (“The Conjuring,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”) and Joel Murray (“Monsters University, “Mad Men”).
The feature, budgeted at $1-$2 million is in development, pending funding, at which time they will draw on the in-kind services they won.
But the real prize for the filmmakers was “winning in front of your peers and gaining their respect, and also that we were chosen by these important judges as the project they most wanted to see.”
“The Pitch” judges were producer/director Steve Pink (“Sirens”), producer Amy Hobby of female-driven Tangerine Entertainment, Aijah Keith, IFP Films acquisition coordinator and writer/producer Brett Hudson.
A distribution deal is in place with Shoreline Entertainment.
Anderson and Dellos can be reached at