Chicago-made “Hammersmith” going to Cannes

Hannah Kopen and Nick Wilson in "HAMMERSMITH: Hurdle of Dreams"

Hannah Kopen and Nick Wilson in “HAMMERSMITH: Hurdle of Dreams”

The eight-minute short, HAMMERSMITH: Hurdle Of Dreams, will be the first submission from Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project to screen at the Short Film Corner program of the Cannes Film Festival.

Opening with an impeccably crafted foot-chase over a tribal percussion track, Hurdle Of Dreams was shot and finished within two days by Chicago-based Kalopsia Films in association with Pink Hippo Productions.

From there, it takes a fictitious look behind the scenes of a fictitious action picture starring a fictitious leading man named Ryan Hammersmith.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a test of creativity ability, technical proficiency, and nerves that spans one weekend every year in cities around the world. Billed as “The Largest International Filmmaking Competition,” the event boasts more than 50,000 film submissions since its founding in 2001.

Kalopsia Films at Hotel deVille in Paris (Justin Nico Flocco, Nick Wilson, Kyle Cullerton, Hannah Kopen, Colin Rice, Sam May, Ashley Clark). Photo: Luis Flocco
Kalopsia Films at Hotel deVille in Paris (Justin Nico Flocco, Nick Wilson, Kyle Cullerton, Hannah Kopen, Colin Rice, Sam May, Ashley Clark). Photo: Luis Flocco

The Chicago component, produced by Jerry Vassilatos, has become a tradition among members of the local film community.

By winning the 2017 competition, held August 25-27 last year, Hurdle Of Dreams earned a trip to the 2018 Filmapalooza Festival in Paris, which took place last weekend.

It was judged to be among the top twelve of 4,500 films from 120 cities, which means that its next stop will be the May 8-19 Cannes Film Festival.

Besides the tight time restriction, all of the 48HFP competing filmmaker teams are bound by additional requirements that intensify the deadline. The list almost reads like an old joke: a line, a prop, a genre, and a character walk into a short film contest.

In 2017, the required elements were: “Where did you find that,” a manila envelope, an Action / Adventure or Mockumentary, and Ryan Hammersmith, pest control.

Hurdle of Dreams took it to unexpected highs and hilarious lows.

“Imagine an international spy action adventure thriller,” says Bayou Straits, the fictitious “writer, director, stuntman, star” who introduces himself in the second scene of the movie.

“Now,” he continues, “imagine that ten times better.”



This year’s Chicago 48 Hour Film Project will take place over the weekend of July 13th and follow with screenings at the Music Box Theater July 29th – 30th. The awards screening will be held on August 2nd. For more information, click here.

   Nick Wilson — Bayou Straights / Ryan Hammersmith
   Hannah Kopen — Malaya Banks / Rachel Hammersmith
   Colin Seymour — Colin Rice
   Mendoza — Derrick Bettis
   Pam Miller — Ashley Clark
   Crystal Diamante — Hair
   Caitlin McDonald — Makeup
   Kyle Leland — Russian Scientist

   Mohamed Radwan — Associate Producer
   Kyle Leland — Director
   Justin Nico Flocco — Director of Photography
   Eric Miller — Assistant Camera

   Kyle Leland
   Justin Nico Flocco
   Eric Miller

Original Score
   Paul Moody
   Kyle Leland

Ed Bornstein — Sound

   Justin Nico Flocco
   Kyle Leland

Caitland McDonald — Makeup

   Justin Nico Flocco
   Eric Miller
   Kyle Leland

Special Thanks
   Tara Flocco
   Patrick Daley
   Angie Gaffney
   Edgar Wright
   Michael Bay
   The Office
   Shawn Lent
   Becky Zamora
   Vincent Colombo
   Pink Hippo Productions

To contact Reel Chicago Editor Daniel Patton, email