Dave Sikich holds

Director Michael Ojeda (left) and producer Joel Goodman will attend the Feb. 27 world theatrical premiere of “Lana’s Rain” at the Music Box.
“Lana’s Rain” star Oksana Orlenko won the best actress award at the Milan International Film Festival.

Dave Sikich’s ISA Releasing is holding the world theatrical premiere of the Chicago independent feature “Lana’s Rain” in an exclusive two-week run at the Music Box Theater beginning Feb. 27.

As producer’s rep through Iltis & Associates, Sikich found a third-party distributor for “Lana’s Rain” in Harmony Gold. The distributor signed on in early 2002, then backed out shortly after the picture’s American Film Market screening in May 2003.

Sikich sought other distributors to take on the film, thus far in vain. “We presented distributors a wide coalition of audiences who could be drawn to see ?Lana’s Rain,’ made up of college students, women, the art crowd, foreign-born audiences, and especially the large number of Eastern Europeans now living in the United States,” Sikich said. “They told us, ?This audience doesn’t exist. We know nothing about these people.'”

ISA is banking on the prospect that this coalition of audiences not only exists, but will come out to the Music Box in strong enough numbers to justify an expansion to the North Shore, Downstate, and beyond.

“Lana’s Rain” was shot over seven weeks between summer 1999 and winter 2000, by director Michael Ojeda and producer Joel Goodman, childhood friends from Des Plaines who attended Columbia College together.

Oksana Orlenko, a former Miss Ukraine, stars as a young Bosnian war refugee who follows her brother, a gangster in hiding, to Chicago. He forces her into prostitution, and she eventually rebels against him and finds redemption.

Orlenko won the best actress award in “Lana’s” international festival premier at the Milan International Film Festival in November. The picture had its U.S. fest premiere at the 2002 Chicago International Film Festival.

ISA is striking five prints for the initial Chicago run, and is ready to make more prints as needed. Assuming the Chicago run goes well, Sikich has his sights on Los Angeles as the second market for the film, as soon as late March.

“L.A. is important for a number of reasons,” Sikich said. “For one thing, they have a very large Eastern European community there. And a lot of home video companies are based there. We need to add value for an eventual sale to video and television.”

The filmmakers and stars will attend the Feb. 27-28 screenings at the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport. Ojeda and Orlenko will attend a sneak preview screening Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State.

“Lana’s Rain” plays the Best of the Milan fest in L.A. in late January and the Moscow Film Festival in March.

See lanasrainthemovie.com. ? by Ed M. Koziarski, edk@homesickblues.com.

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