Chicago partner-swapping feature has Dec. 6 Film Center premiere

Brandon Finney’s Chicago-made “A Lover for My Husband” premieres Dec. 6 at the Film Center.

It’s been a long road for Brandon Finney, from the day in 1994 that he decided to make a film about partner-swapping, to the day in 2002 when the CEO of Urban Entertainment (“Undercover Brother”) walked through his apartment door.

A Columbia College graduate, Finney had spent the early ?90s trying to sell his scripts, to no avail. He resolved to write something he could make himself.

“At that time partner-swapping was all over entertainment, in movies and on talk shows,” Finney said. “I needed something with no action but with sex, something risqu? that people would gravitate to.” The film he made was “A Lover for My Husband,” which has its theatrical premiere Dec. 6 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Cassandra Finney, Brandon’s wife and one of the film’s producers, stars as a successful woman who, seeking more from her sex life, convinces her husband to answer a partner-swapping ad.

“This is a feeling that a lot of couples go through,” Brandon Finney said. “I tried not to glamorize it, but to make it as true to life as possible, but make it funny and interesting at the same time. From the feedback I’ve gotten at screenings I think I’ve accomplished all that.”

“A Lover” won best romantic comedy at the 2003 New York Independent Film and Video Festival, through which it screened in New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

“I can’t wait to get back home with people who’ve heard about it for years, they’ll be able to see it and I can watch their reactions,” Finney said. “Reactions have been different every single time.”

The Finneys, along with producer Eric Mayes, independently financed the five-figure budget and shot in Chicago for 12 days in 1997. Brandon did a rough edit at SMS, then the Finneys moved to Los Angeles 1998, shot additional scenes and began posting at Prime Post.

Costs exceeded their means, and the film languished until Urban Entertainment head Michael Jenkinson watched a screening copy and agreed to supply finishing funds in exchange for a share of the distribution deal. Urban is now seeking a third party distributor to make that deal happen.

The Finneys are developing their second film, a psychological revenge thriller called “Sadistic Circle,” which they hope to shoot in Chicago in fall 2004.

“A Lover for My Husband” co-stars David Bjaolie. DPs were Anders Uhl (Chicago) and Gennadi Balitski (L.A.) Music is by Luqman Hunter and Brandon’s brother Corey Finney.

“A Lover for My Husband” plays Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. Tickets are $8.

See ? by Ed M. Koziarski,