Bertha Palmer a Ch. 11 Women’s History Month doc

Bertha Palmer, activist, socialite, community leader

Amelia Dellos’ documentary Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha & Potter Palmer, will have its broadcast premiere March 24 over Ch. 11 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the station’s slate of Women’s History Month programming.

Love Under Fire tells the love story of Bertha Honoré and Potter Palmer (the original founder of Marshall Field’s and Palmer House fame), who together were instrumental in rebuilding Chicago after the 1871 Great Fire.

Dellos ran across Bertha Palmer’s story while conducting graduate research on the 1893 Columbian Exposition, in whose development Bertha Palmer was very active.

“I was surprised to find that here was this amazing woman who led an incredible life, and her story is virtually unknown to the public at large,” she says.

Dellos first wrote a screenplay about Palmer, called Courting Bertha, which she still hopes to film, as well as adapt into a stage production.

In 2010 she began developing the documentary, quickly securing a letter of intent from Ch. 11 to broadcast the film.  The station’s commitment “helped me sell the project and get people on board, since they knew we had at least one distribution channel in place,” says Dellos.

She funded the film through private donations with the International Documentary Association as fiscal sponsor.

Documentary and commercial voiceover actress  Donna Jay Fulks narrated.  Steven Bartels shot and Kyle Olson did sound and music — both were Tribeca Flashpoint students at the time.  Editing by Laura Madalinski of Red Car; post sound by CRC’s Ian Scott and color correction by Fred Keller of Filmworkers Club. 

Production company has 3 more films underway

Amelia Dellos of Corn Bred FilmsThis is a pivotal year for Corn Bred Films, the company Dellos owns and operates with her husband, Eric Anderson.  Along with the release of Love Under Fire, their feature, Ink, is set to shoot here this spring. 

Anderson and Fulton Market Films’ director Scott Smith adapted the script from Charles Dickenson’s novel Rumor has It, about a reporter for a failing newspaper who’s pressured to cover up a scandal.  

Then, their first narrative feature goes into production in late winter in New York.  The romantic comedy Other Plans, will be directed by their producing partner, Joe Eckardt, of New York-based Rock On! Films.

Jennifer Scher of Elephant Pictures (Pursuit of Happyness, The Weatherman) in Bucktown is developing Dellos’ script Oriole Park, “loosely based on my experiences growing up near the neighborhood where John Wayne Gacy lived,” she says.  

“It’s a coming of age story set in the months leading up to Gacy’s arrest and the revelation that a serial murderer had been living in the neighborhood.”