Benefit for IFP grant winner to raise additional funds

IFP/Chicago 2003 Production Fund winner Karen Friedberg holds a benefit for her film, “King of the Tango,” to raise additional finishing funds not covered by the IFP’s $85,000 in-kind grant.

The benefit takes place March 22 at I-Space and Schneider Galleries, 230 W. Superior, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Friedberg plans to shoot “Tango” in June 20-25. “At this point I’m producing the film,” said Friedberg, who is in the midst of pulling together key crew.

IFP chose Friedberg’s script from among dozens of applicants across the Midwest last November to receive services donated by local vendors and organizations.

Friedberg adapted “King of the Tango” from a chapter in Chicago writer and Columbia College teacher Joe Meno’s 1999 novel “Tender as Hellfire.”

“King of the Tango” is the story of a boy named Dough, who moves into a trailer park. He befriends an old man named El Rey who tangos naked at night to commune with his late wife. “Dough learns that beauty is to be found in the ugliest of places,” Friedberg said. “It’s a gritty, bittersweet coming-of-age story.”

Friedberg said she “fell in love with the El Rey character,” explaining what attracted her to Meno’s material. “I found his dancing a very sad and romantic way of keeping his wife alive, an intimate way of connecting with his loss.”

Friedberg, who has a 1995 MFA in film from Northwestern, is an active indie filmmaker. Her films have screened at the Chicago International Film Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, Houston International Film Festival, and Charleston International Film Festival, and played on Ch. 11’s “Image Union.”

She has been an associate producer for Ch. 11’s “Chicago Matters”, produced some segments of the “Art Beat” series and has taught screenwriting at Columbia College and Northwestern.

She is adapting Meno’s 2001 novel “How the Hula Girl Sings” into a feature-length screenplay, which she intends to direct.

“Tango” DP is Chris Rejano, who shot the feature “Boricua” in 2002. IFP advisors are Bob Hudgins of the Illinois Film Office, and veteran location manager Noel Olken, who directed the recent DV feature “Slave.”

The 2001 Production Fund winner, Bruce Terris’ “Flying,” was one of 11 short films worldwide to play as part of the official selection at the 2002 Cannes International Film Festival.

Among those donating services to the 2003 Production Fund were AT&T Broadband, Charter ABS, Chicago Film Office, DGA, Film Branch, Film Craft Labs, Fletcher Chicago, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Film Office, The Independent Film Channel, Jaz Casting, entertainment attorney Tim Kelley, Kodak, Maestro-Matic, Panavision, RAH Chicago, RSL Rentals, SAG, Swell, and Tenner Paskal Rudnecke Casting.

The $50 benefit admission includes a tango performance and lesson by the film’s choreographer, Erica Sutton; Argentinean wine; and food from Argentinean restaurant Tango Miel.

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