Cone’s new horror film ‘Black Box’ screens at Siskel

Writer/director/actor Stephen Cone

AWARD-WINNING WRITER/DIRECTOR  STEPHEN CONE (The Wise Kids) returns to his coming-of-age territory with his latest feature Black Box, which starts its theatrical run May 30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. 

Josephine Decker stars as a grad student theater director adapting a young adult gothic novel, rife with sadism, child abuse and an exorcism, whose author (Steppenwolf’s Austin Pendleton) makes an unexpected appearance. 

With Jaclyn Hennell, Alex Weisman, Nick Vidal, Dennis William Grimes, Elaine Ivy Harris, Maggie Suma, Hanna Dworkin, and Matt Holzfeind.  Cone produced with Laura Klein.

DEL LOWREY and NEAL FISHER of Rough Cut Films preview their revenge horror anthology Dead Girls, May 30 at SAE Theatre, 820 N. Orleans.  Coproducer Joe Caballero costarred.

LESLIE THOMAS’s documentary The Prosecutors, about two attorneys seeking justice for survivors of war rape and sexual slavery in Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, premieres at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, the largest ever gathering of its kind, running June 10-13 in London. Angelina Jolie is co-chair. 

Thomas is founding director of Art Works Projects for Human Rights, which has produced a series of activist films including The Children of Syria, The Missing Peace, and Darfur/Darfur.

ERIC ANDERSON and AMELIA DELLOS of Corn Bred Films are developing the feature Oriole Park, about a pre-teen girl growing up in John Wayne Gacy’s neighborhood in 1978, to film this fall. 

The writing duo is also adapting a stage version of their documentary Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha and Potter Palmer and wrote the screenplay for Joe Eckardt’s comedy Other Plans, starring Jamie Kennedy and Rebecca Blumhagen, which is now completed and out to buyers. 

KEVIN COOPER’s short The Painter is competing in the online PBS Shorts Showcase Festival. Thirteen-year-old Ron Caldwell stars as a boy whose art practice offers his only escape from the violence around him.  Cooper’s wife DeAnna Cooper produced through their Amarok Productions. 

They filmed at Columbia College’s Media Production Center, where Kevin Cooper teaches.  They also produced the family dog comedy I Heart Shakey.

MELISSA PIERCE and MARIAN MANGOUBI are making the documentary Born with Curiosity, about U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, whose work on the 51-foot-long IBM Mark I computer at Harvard during World War II helped pioneer the computing industry. 

Pierce is executive director of Chicago Women Developers NFP.  Her 2010 documentary Life in Perpetual Beta screened at the Chicago International Film Festival and won an award of merit at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

JENNIFER READER’s short Blood Below the Skin, filming this summer in Hammond, Indiana, tells the story of three teen girls, two falling in love with each other and the third forced to care for her own mother after her father’s disappearance.  Jennifer Estlin stars.  Featuring Clint Smith and music by Jenne LemonChristopher Rejano is DP.

CLARA ALCOTT (Kick) is making the sci-fi noir short The Distant Architect, a story of self-discovery and perseverance featuring a young woman architect.  Laurie Little is producing.

Send your indie project news to Ed M. Koziarski.