“Hollywood Jerome” wins $100,000 IFP/Chicago Production Fund for adaptation of Yusef poem

Frey Hoffman’s “The Untimely Demise of Hollywood Jerome,” the 2007 winner of the IFP/Chicago Production Fund, is a departure in both content and style from past winners of the fund.

An adaptation of Malik Yusef’s poem “Hollywood Jerome,” it will be the first Production Fund winner to address urban themes, and the first to operate outside the conventions of straight narrative.

Hoffman was awarded $100,000 in in-kind goods and services for the production of a short film.

“The Production Fund has given us access to a huge amount of film production equipment, as well as instant publicity and instant credibility, which will allow us to make the film that much better,” Hoffman said.

Yusef’s recitation of the poem will run as narration throughout the film, which will include only a few lines of dialogue.

Yusef is a veteran of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and has appeared on numerous hip-hop records including Kanye West’s “Late Registration.” Yusef toured with West on the rapper’s “Touch the Sky” tour.

Hoffman collaborated with Yusef on the script, the tale of a 14-year-old South Side gang member who idolizes classic Hollywood gangsters, caught in a police standoff on the North Side.

“It deals with problems that confront a lot of youth in Chicago, and in urban and rural settings across the country,” Hoffman said.