A chance meeting at a restaurant between two budding screenwriters 11 years ago led to more than love and an exchange of “I do’s” at the altar. It also resulted in the creation of a most ambitious new production company.
Husband-and-wife team Eric Anderson and Amelia Dellos launched Corn Bred Films, a moniker they thought fitting, since their projects will originate in the Midwest (a la “corn country”).
They also aspire to help strengthen Chicago’s position as a strong production contender to the coasts.
“L.A. is the main focus of the industry, with New York as the second focus,” says Anderson, a former marketing professional who previously earned recognition in screenwriting competitions.
“While we have a great reputation of getting productions to film here in town, such as Superman and The Dark Knight, why are the crews primarily Los Angeles-based?”
Indeed, asks Dellos, “Why aren’t there more homegrown productions? We have an untapped talent pool in Chicago, and Corn Bred Films is looking to utilize those resources.”
Several films are in various stages of production
In just a few months, Corn Bred Films has impressively loaded up its plate with several projects in the works.
First among them is Anderson and Dellos’ 24-minute, $125,000 documentary, Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha and Potter Palmer, directed by Dellos, who is working with a crew from Tribeca-Flashpoint.
Writer/producers Anderson and Dellos are partnering with indie filmmaker New York-based Rock On! Films for five movies. They include Black River, a feature-length thriller in which wrestling celebrities Hulk Hogan and Diamond Dallas Page have agreed to star. L.A.-based international sales agency Shoreline Entertainment recently acquired the worldwide sales rights.
Additionally, Anderson, who has penned 13 screenplays over the last 10 years, has co-scripted Ink, an adaptation of Charles Dickenson’s novel about the last days of a dying newspaper, aiming for the American film market in November.
Fulton Market Films’ John Fromstein and Scott Smith are executive producers. Actors attached include Jim True-Frost of The Wire. Tracy Letts from Steppenwolf Theater, and Tony-winner Deanna Dunagan.
A script by Dellos being developed is Oriole Park, which weaves a series of interconnecting stories set in a Chicago neighborhood in 1978, prior to the arrest of John Wayne Gacy.
Horror film in process of fund-raising via new Sokap
But perhaps the most exciting is a $250,000 horror film, The Devil’s Promenade, co-written by Anderson and Kermet Key, about a mysterious bridge in Kansas where Satan can be summoned. They plan on shooting this fall, with award-winning shorts director Alex Ranarivelo and DP Pete Biagi.
Corn Bred is partnering on Promenade with Sokap, an innovative new social utility fund-raiser for movie, music, and publishing projects.
“We’ve been pushing all this stuff uphill for several years, and now it seems as if they’re reaching the top all at once. It’s obviously a good feeling,” says Anderson.
“It’s our hope that we can get a few of these projects up and running and then start taking submissions from others in the Midwest, help other artists produce their works, and make a bigger, better name for the Chicago production community.”
But the first step, Dellos adds, “is having a successful film. Then comes the ultimate goal: holding the door open for other Midwestern filmmakers.”
Veteran freelance writer Erik Martin pens articles for national publications, such as the L.A. Times, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, Patch.com and others. Martin, who has a film/communications degree, runs CineVerse, a weekly film discussion group and accompanying blog. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.