Columbia senior Lerchen directs his second feature

January’s upcoming slate of entertainment projects looks like a good omen for Chicago 2015 production, as two indie films and a TV pilot, so far, are scheduled to get underway this month.

Cameras start rolling Jan. 2 on the comedy “Less than 30” for four weeks in the city and suburbs. Director and co-producer is John Lerchen, of Forever Safe Productions, a senior at Columbia College working on his BA in directing. 

Lerchen is far from a newbie filmmaker, however. His cinema chops began in middle school when he starting making short films, several of them earning festival prizes.

The screenplay was written by actress Angela Morris who stars as Alex, a young woman being pressured by her mother (Ann Hagemann, also coproducing) to find a relationship.  She takes an interesting approach by only dating those men who matched at less than 30% on a matchmaking website.

DP IS Ryan Kerr, who is shooting with a Canon Cinema EOS, gaffer is Justin Thomson.  “Other positions are still in the process of being filled,” says Hagemann. The film is operating under a SAG-AFTRA ULB contract.

“Less than 30” is the second feature that Lerchen has directed, out of a trio of features.  He wrote and directed the first, “Dearest Jane,” about a troubled girl who is sent to live with her uncle in Indiana’s isolated countryside. It’s now screening at festivals.

Forever Safe’s third feature, in development, is “A Sweet Goodbye,” a romance/thriller about a blonde who gets revenge for herself and others who were taken advantage of bout a greedy, young stockbroker in a scheme to steal millions,set in Chicago’s financial district.

Film and TV veteran Pamela wrote the screenplay and will coproduce with Lerchen.  She is best known for writing the  Oscar-winning original story “Witness,” which starred Harrison Ford.  Ann Hagerman co-stars with Dante Basco.

“Goodbye” also will operate under a SAG AFTRA Low Budget Agreement