Comedy sneak preview leads month of screenings, events

February gets underway with a burst of worthwhile screenings and other events, starting with a sneak preview Friday night, Feb. 3 of co-producers Boris Wexler and Julian Grant’s comedy feature “Roundabout American”, written and directed by Wexler.  The story’s about young French chef who pushes the limits of the American Dream by converting a Chicago pizza shop into an escort-service for the super-rich with the help of a suburban slacker who dwells in his parents’ basement.

It stars Edouard Giard, Patrick Zielinski, Marielle de Rocca-Serra, Torey Adkins, Howie Johnson, Rom Barkhordar, Chris Boykin and Mary Jo Faraci. 

At the Portage Theatre, 4050 N. Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.

AN ADVANCE SCREENING of the Academy Award nominated doc, “Undefeated,” from producer/DP Dan Lindsay, an Illinois native who co-directed with T. J. Martin, will screen Tuesday, Feb.7 at the Midwest Independent Film Festival. 

Called a “Blind Side”-caliber underdog story with heart, the doc tells the Cinderella story of an underprivileged football team from inner city Memphis and a volunteer coach, who win the first team in 110 years to win a playoff game. 

How it got picked up is also a Cinderella story.  Almost immediately after its premiere at South by Southwest, bidding began, with the winner being The Weinstein Company. 

Said distributor and MWFF are offering complimentary screening in celebration of the doc’s nomination and upcoming theatrical release.  To reserve your tickets, Email  Doors open at 6 p.m.

“THE INTERRUPTERS” DIRECTOR STEVE JAMES will be the much-acclaimed speaker at Energy BBDO’s Feb. 9 monthly Creative Salon, featuring inspiring talks with some of Chicago’s most creative scions outside the advertising business.

The Salon meets in the agency’s big, ninth floor open space in the Wrigley Building, starting at 4 p.m.  Beer, wine and light refreshments will be served.  To RSVP, click here.  Doors open at 6 p.m.

NATAS MEMBERS can see a “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,”  from the writer of “Slumdog Millionaire” and the director of “Chocolat” before it opens in theatres Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the Showplace Icon, Showplace Icon, 150 W. Roosevelt Road.

The movie is about a Middle East sheik’s determination to make his fisheries project, deemed both absurd and unachievable dream into reality.  Stars Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor and Kristin Scott Thomas.

To RSVP for two, Enter code: NATASJ31X

DIRECTOR BOB HERCULES returned from the New York premiere of his doc, “The Mavericks of American Dance,” the amazing story of the founding in Chicago of the Joffrey Ballet. “We had two sold out shows and a live simulcast to 45 theatres around the country,” he reports.

The Chicago premiere will be held Feb. 18 and Feb. 22 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, at 8 p.m. and at the Talking Pictures Film Festival in Evanston March 9.

CASTING DIRECTOR CLAIRE SIMON is delightfully profiled by writer Lisa Barr in Michigan Avenue magazine (great photo, too). This month she begins casting 83 roles for the second season of “Boss,” with a scant seven days to prep and cast an episode.

“We get the script the first day, cast it on the second and third days, and then get network and studio approvals, book, and send the cast to wardrobe,” she explains.

“My job is to know the talent in Chicago so that when a film comes here and they give me the script, I can find the [actors] they want,” Simon says. “It’s like painting a beautiful picture with people.”

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