Debut feature ends 25-year filmmaking hiatus for fine artist and gallery co-owner Bruce Wood

Internationally recognized experimental filmmaker Bruce Wood returns to filmmaking after a 25-year hiatus with his debut feature “The Door,” shooting Feb. 22-March 22 in Chicago and southwest Michigan.

A former options trader, Wood is a fine art painter who co-owns the Fenway Gallery in Wicker Park and New Buffalo, Mich., and the art print house afa Press in Lakeside, Mich.

Wood was roused from cinematic retirement last May when Chicago Filmmakers approached him about featuring his 1979 short “Edge Forces” in their “Chicago Filmmakers at 30” retrospective screening.

“I’d made a strong body of work in experimental film as an extension of my painting in the late 70s,” recalled Wood, who got his MFA from the Art Institute in 1975, studying under Stan Brakhage.

“Part of the reason I stopped was the expense of 16mm film. I said, ?when the technology gets around I’d like to try it again.’ Well, guess what?it has.”

After his “rediscovery” by Chicago Filmmakers and subsequent screenings of his work at New York’s Anthology Film Archives, London Institute of Contemporary Arts, and Paris’ Museum of Modern Art, Wood picked up a camera for his first film in 25 years, the six-minute experimental short “New Kisses.”

“But I realized I had changed and my current interest was more along the lines of narrative,” Wood said. He took a class in digital video, bought a Panasonic DVX100 24P DV camera, and sat down last summer to write his first script, which became “The Door.”

“The Door” is a supernatural mystery about a dream guide who “loses sight of his mission and plays the role of the genie in the lamp, giving people what they want and causing havoc in their real lives,” Wood said.

Wood, who is writer/director/cinematographer/ editor, is self-financing the five-figure budget through his Dreamfast Cinema. Lucas Brown of Lucas Brown Productions is producing. Script supervisor is Tribune entertainment writer Jessica Volte.

“The Door” stars theater veterans Bill Ferris, Kerla Magnan, Mary Grill, January Scartino and Chase Stoeger. It’s a non-union production, but the principle roles are paid.