‘Doll Eyes’ come to life for Chicago director Piñeiro

(Piñeiro signs aboard Doll Eyes)

Felix Piñeiro has signed on to direct ​Doll Eyes​ written by award-winning screenwriter Amir Mohabbat. The horror film follows a developmentally disabled man who protects his sister from an abuser with “unique, desired eyes.”

Piñeiro is a two-time DCASE Grant recipient and Finalist for the 2018 Chicago Filmmaker in Residence Award. His latest project is a short film entitled ​Adjunto​ about a struggling artist from Puerto Rico who ventured to Chicago to get clean and start over.

Piñeiro directed a narrative-based music video for the band Local H entitled ​Innocents​ featuring Michael Shannon, which has won a multitude of awards.

Kevin Cooper, the film’s Los Angeles-based producer, said, “We are thrilled to be working with Felix, an up-and-coming, gem-of-a-director who has a powerful vision for ​Doll Eyes​. We can’t wait to see what he does with this script in a genre that’s always evolving, a really cool opportunity for a storyteller like Felix to push the envelope!”

“It’s an honor to be chosen to bring ​Doll Eyes​ to life,” Piñeiro said. “I’ve never felt more ready to direct a feature film in my entire life, so here it is! For me it’s an opportunity to further showcase the power and evolution of the strong collaborations I’ve made with DP Herman Asph and composer Tom Schraeder over the past decade. I don’t want to give too much away, but I tend to see things differently so expect it to be unlike anything you’ve ever heard or seen before.”

John Condne, the other producer, recently made a splash with his recent documentary series ​America to Me​, which examines race and achievement at a diverse high school in Chicago. The 10-hour mini-series premiered at Sundance Film Festival and has aired on STARZ and MTV. It received critical acclaim and was rated the #1 Series by the Hollywood Reporter and Rotten Tomatoes.

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Amir Mohabbat’s screenplays have received recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship, the International Screenwriters’ Association: Top 100 Emerging Screenwriters, Austin Film Festival, Stage32, ScreenCraft, Fade In Magazine and others.

Cooper, a long-time development executive, worked at Digital Domain, Fox 2000 and Bay Films producing films like ​Secondhand Lions​ starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall at New Line, and — along with his producing partner and wife DeAnna Cooper at Amarok — they’ve produced a series of films including ​Miss Arizona, Chasing the Blues, I Heart Shakey​ and TV Pilot ​Vendors​, directed by Joel Murray.

The dark horror film is funded by a team of Chicago-based investors looking to open up the market for Midwestern film and TV, tapping into the local industries eager to be back in production after the COVID shut-down.

Condne said, “Working with Felix, in a town full of hungry and talented artists and technicians, we’re ready to seize the day. We’re all biting at the bit to show off what Chicago is capable of producing as Hollywood productions mount all around us.”

Under the guidance of Minimal and Amarok Productions, the film has a target start date of lensing in Chicago February 1st, 2021.

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