Corporate producer Metropolitan Filmworks wraps feature, preps doc

Diana Romero and Jim Griffith of Metropolitan Filmworks

Diana Romero and her husband Jim Griffith were driving across country in March when the war in Iraq began.

“We were going to find out about what people’s fears were,” Romero said, “but when the war happened, we said, ‘let’s find out what people in these small towns are thinking about the war.'”

Romero and Griffith, the team behind corporate production house Metropolitan Filmworks, videotaped interviews with people living along the back roads off the Interstate. They’ve compiled the footage into the feature-length documentary “We the People.”

“People were really generous, they let us in to talk to us, they bought us drinks, but we were really amazed at what they had to say,” Romero said. 23 of the 25 interviewees supported the war, and many were quite vitriolic in their beliefs.

“Everyone we knew in the city was against the war, and we wanted to get the other side, the 70 percent of the population you hear about that supported the war, and that’s largely the people in these tiny towns,” Romero said.

Romero hopes for an eventual cable release for “We the People,” their first doc, a less-than- $100,000 DV project whose score is being composed by Simon Watson.

Up next, Romero and Griffith are shopping for investors for their first feature, a dark drama written by John Berger called “In the Way of a Woman.” The film tells the story of a prostitute avenging the death of her friend, a cross-dresser who was murdered.

Romero estimates a budget between $250,000 and $1 million, depending on the director and cast she can attach to the project, which she and Griffith intend to produce. The film was conceptualized as a Chicago production, but Romero is now considering moving the shoot to Los Angeles.

“There are a lot of great people and great locations here, but if I want to bring in recognizable actors from LA, flying them to Chicago will be a lot more expensive than if I shoot it in LA,” Romero said. Either way, she hopes to be in production on 35mm by July, and said she has “strong prospects” for financing.

In March Romero bought the movie rights to Berkeley novelist Janet Lapierre’s murder mystery “Children’s Games.”

Romero and Griffith started Metropolitan out of their home two years ago. They’ve been steadily accumulating corporate clients and are seeking office space as their workload expands.

Romero was associate producer on a series of history videos for educational publisher McGraw Hill and General Learning Communications. The series garnered silver and bronze awards at the latest Telly Awards. Romero personally produced two episodes of the series.

Metropolitan has an ongoing relationship with Second City, and produced a promotional spot for Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center.

Romero’s short “El Camino” was a selection of the 2001 Chicago Latino Film Festival and the 16th Festival Del Cinema Latino Americano in Trieste, Italy.

Reach Metropolitan Filmworks at or 773/230-7736.
-by Ed M. Koziarski,