Actors Showcase of best film performance May 20

Grace McPhillips, actress/founder of CAFM in scene from “Fitting”

Chicago has a large nationally acclaimed talent community, with 6,000 members of SAG AFTRA alone and yet, with the exception of film festivals and Chicago’s own Midwest Independent, there’s no focal place where a local actor’s performance can gain recognition. 

CAFM founder/president Grace McPhillips and the board of the Chicago Acting in Film Meetup want to change that, with the debut Monday, May 20 of the CAFM Actors Showcase, an evening of professional actors’ performances in Chicago-made short films “that help our industry and the public see the work we do,” she says.

Hostess for the evening is actress Eva Saha, a former correspondent for ABC/7’s recently ended “190 North” show

Jay Disney, in “The Last Hug”Members of the five-year old, 155-member organization submitted 40 short films that they felt best displayed their talent.  CAFM’s 13-member board judged the entries, drilling them down to nine performance finalists in seven shorts, says board VP Steve Scholz.

Finalists are:

Joette Waters in director Julian Grant’s drama, “Argyle Street:”

Jay Disney, Walt Sloan and Jen Sall in “The Last Hug,” a family drama directed by Raza Siddiqui;

Marco Garcia, in the dramedy “Kaplan’s Equation,” director, Giovanni Miceli;

Jay Disney, “Going & Coming,” a drama by Northwestern Studio 22;

Grace McPhillips and Pam Tierney in Larry Ziegelman’s comedy “Fitting;”

Steve Scholz in “Foreclosure Soldier,” an episode from Mark Egmon’s proposed comedy pilot, directed by John Mossman;

Rosa SanMarchi in the sci-fi “Victims of Gravity,” a Columbia College production.

Audience members will vote for the Best Performance by one of the actors.

Marco Garcia, in “Kaplan’s Equation”The showcase, open to actors and industry professionals, takes place at the Howells and Hood restaurant in the main floor of the Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan, a few steps east of Michigan Ave.  The cover is a modest $5; open bar and food at menu prices.  Films, running from three to 17 minutes, will be seen on 11 large screens.

A nice touch to the evening is the event’s community-spirited side.  The board formed a Giving Back Committee last January and its first public effort is asking attendees to bring contributions of non-perishable food for distribution by the  Care for Real food pantry to Edgewater families in need.

CAFM membership is open to professional, on-camera actors at $60 a year.  The group meets monthly to discuss current issues affecting careers.