Hesser’s doc wins top prize at its first fest entry

Terry Spencer Hesser

 LOVE IS A VERB, Terry Spencer Hessers documentary about the controversial Turkish Muslim leader and activist Fethullah Gulen, won the Best Documentary award at the recent Maryland Film Festival, the first festival in which the film had been entered.

Gulen, named by Time Magazine in 2013 as one of the most influential leaders in the world, lives in self-imposed exile in the US to avoid religious persecution in Turkey.  His teachings — which combine Sunni and Sufi Islamic traditions with science, interfaith dialogue, and market economics — inspire Suni Muslims around the world.

Three-time Emmy winner Hesser started filming three years ago, in Turkey, Belgium, Iraq, Somalia and the US. Jan Sutcliff was co-writer and editor; Stephan Mazurek, DP and Danny Rodriquez, audio engineer.

Starting today, Hesser is embarking on a six-city tour of community outreach screenings of Love is a Verb across the US.

Her half-hour series, Islands Without Cars, funded by the Sage Foundation of Michigan, premieres on PBS this fall.

LAWRENCE LEE WALLACE of Deep Production Studios premieres the superhero short Night Thrasher: Ravea fan film based on the Marvel Comics character who debuted in Thor in 1989.  Eric Lane (Trapped in the Closet) stars as a vigilante battling a drug ring.  It screens May 24 at 8 p.m. at Esso, 1270 N. Milwaukee Ave.

“I love the character,” Wallace says.  “He was the only black superhero around back then that wasn’t a sidekick.  He had his own team and was his own man.  I really want to revive him for other young black men in this city.” 


A HORROR COMEDY WEB SERIES Logan and Royce, starring Lauren Clark and Deneen Melody as a pair of zombie-blasting heroines, is being produced by visual effects artist, Radek Michalik.


He first set out to recreate effects from The Walking Dead, but was so taken by the chemistry of his test shoot’s two leads that he decided to build a series around them.


“I believe there is room in our cultural landscape for a more tongue-in-cheek romp through an apocalypse,” Michalik says.  “Think Thelma and Louise meets Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, with a sprinkle of The Road for flavor.”


WRITER/PRODUCER JAY PAUL DERATANY of Permoveo Productions has completed the Michigan-set feature comedy Saugatuck Curesstarring Max Adler (Glee) as a young gay man posing as an ex-gay conversion minister to pay for cancer treatment for his mother (Judith Chapman, The Young and the Restless).  With Danny Mooney, Amanda Lipinski, Matthew Klinger and Julianne Howe-Bouwens.


THE INDIE INCUBATOR FILM FESTIVAL accepts short film submissions through May 30 for its 18th incarnation, playing June 3 at 8 p.m. at The Original Mother’s, 26 W. Division St. “Best of Fest” winner will receive a $250 cash prize.  See a highlight reel here. 


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