STEPHEN CONE’S OUTFEST-WINNING DRAMA The Wise Kids, about teens in a youth group in his native South Carolina thoughtfully questioning their Christian faith, will be released by Wolfe Releasing this November on VOD, and on DVD in January. Roger Ebert called The Wise Kids “honest, observant and subtle.”
Chicagoans Molly Kuns, Tyler Ross and Allison Torem star along with an ensemble of Chicago and South Carolina actors. Cone produced with Sue Redman and Laura Klein.
In March, Cone wrapped production on his follow-up, Black Box, starring Austin Pendleton as a horror novelist visiting a college drama department that’s adapting his work. With Josephine Decker, Jaclyn Hennell and Alex Weisman.
JOHN BOROWSKI’S DOCUDRAMA, Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance, has its world premiere Sunday, Aug. 12 at the Portage Theatre. Borowski is the award-winning director of H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer and Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation.
Criminal and serial killer, Carl Panzram befriends young jail guard Henry Lesser, at the Washington, D.C. jail in 1928. Learning of Panzram’s torture, Lesser sends him one dollar and convinces Panzram to write his autobiography while secretly supplying him with pencil and paper. Panzram writes over 40,000 words documenting his entire life and incarceration, torture, rape, and murder.
Doors open at 4 p.m., screening at 5 p.m. Borowski and cast will be present for Q&A and autographing DVDs; with vendors, props and film costumes and raffles for unique prizes. Tickets are $10.
ANDREW MORGAN and Nick Nummerdor of Little Cabin Films wrapped production on the documentary Vannin’, shot in July at the 40th National Truck-In show van competition in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
“We lived out of two mid-70s custom Dodge vans and filmed for five days straight,” Morgan says. Little Cabin has a skate park documentary on hiatus.
Morgan is DP of Chris Hefner’s thriller The Poisoner, and Nummerdor is working on Ryan Ferguson’s documentary about comedian Hannibal Buress at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
BRYAN MCHENRY IS IN PREPRODUCTION on Polaris (formerly Oblivion), a gay sci-fi film about an ex-Marine smuggler and a teenage runaway. McHenry’s Columbia College colleague Josef Steiff is producing.
“I have wanted to make a science fiction film since I was a kid, but I wanted to make [Polaris] specifically because I was tired of the clumsy, offhand, metaphoric, or generally just non-existent portrayal of openly gay characters on screen in science fiction,” McHenry says.
“I know so many gay men, like me, who enjoy good sci-fi and want to see strong, unapologetically gay characters on screen. It is almost a form of activism, through fiction because it allows us to dream in new frontiers.”
JASON KNADE BEGINS PRODUCTION this month on Searching for Venice, about a dysfunctional family reunited by tragedy at an uncle’s vineyard.
Featuring Ted Tremper, Herman Wilkins, Ariana Dziedzic and Adam Soule. Wonjung Bae is DP. Knade is producing with John Burks. Daniel Nearing of 9:23 films is executive producer.
Knade is also producing Nearing’s period drama Hogtown.
DIRECTOR ERIN BABBIN of On the Real Film and DP Michael Sullivan have completed the first episode of their web series Break the Bread, following food artist Nick Jirasek of Guerilla Smiles, a fixture at Chicago art events, where his conceptual catering is customized to complement the art on display.
ERIC NEAL of SIGSALY Entertainment wrapped production on the suspense short Fate Accompli, starring Erin Breen as a call girl who turns the tables on her hit man client (Walt Sloan).