Horror story is first feature for theatre director making the jump into film/TV

From the success of his recent Bailiwick Arts Center production “R3,” Mark Vadik has seen no less than three major opportunities to move from theater into film and television, and a shot at an off-Broadway production.

Vadik adapted “R3,” a “gothic-industrial” take on Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” and co-directed with Jason Palmer. Before the show closed April 3, Vadik had been approached to write and direct his first feature film, adapt and co-produce a film of “R3,” and direct a Chinese TV pilot. “I’m very proud of the play, and it did me a world of good,” Vadik said.

Venture capitalist Tony Namoli approached Vadik with a $100,000 budget raised from Namoli and three other investors. “They wanted to get into film, and they came to me one night after the show and asked if I’d like to try it,” said Vadik, who in addition to his theater work has directed shorts and music videos. “They were allowing me quite a bit of creative freedom. It’s an interesting transition from the theater.”

Judging “R3” to be too ambitious for a first film on a minimal budget, Vadik wrote the original screenplay “The Thirsting,” a horror story about a group of college girls who summon the avenging spirit of Lilith, the mythic first wife of Adam. “We decided horror was an easier genre to shoot in and keep the cost to a realistic number,” Vadik said.

Vadik plans a three-week shoot in August with two 24P DV cameras. Namoli is producing through Vadik’s BYOB Multimedia. Curtis Johnson will do sound, and industrial bands Project 44, F.O.S. and Acumen Nation, who contributed music to the Bailiwick show, are slated for the soundtrack. Most acting roles and crew positions remain open. Auditions are planned for May 29 and 30.

“R3,” meanwhile, is in the works for a New York theatrical run and a local film production. “A New York producer liked the reviews and saw some snippets,” Vadik said. “It has a huge cast, so they’re going through the script now to see if we can make it work from a budgetary perspective, if we can double cast roles more so than we did at the Bailiwick.”

Vadik said Walking Shadows Productions has signed on to make the film of “R3” in October 2005, from Vadik’s already-completed screenplay. Walking Shadows plans to shoot their near-future “Macbeth” adaptation this October. For both films, Kirk Sanders will direct, Jon Gaunt will produce and Vadik will co- produce. “It’s a really nice marriage, we seem to be on the same page creatively,” Vadik said. “I saw their ‘Macbeth’ trailer and it had the perfect tonality.”

Vadik is also in talks to direct the pilot for “Trendsetters” for Chinese station CCTV. “It’s a ‘what’s hot-what’s not’ around the globe, covering artists and celebrities and styles and fashion,” Vadik said.

Vadik studied performance at Northwestern University, then spent ten years practicing entertainment law among other legal areas. In the late ’90s he returned to Northwestern for a master’s degree in theater. He directed Judith Thompson’s “A Lion in the Streets” at the Heartland Studio in 2002, and acted in a number of local shows. He played a supporting role in John Covert’s local independent feature “Shuteye,” and directed the 50-minute short “A Scribbler’s Tale” from his own script. He directed a music video for techno artist Chris Hess and is developing a music video for F.O.S., using footage of the Bailiwick “R3” show.

BYOB Multimedia is at 2650 N. Lakeview. Reach Vadik at 773/871-6667 or see www.byobmultimedia.com. Reach Walking Shadows at 312/337-2048 or see www.walkingshadowsproductions.com.

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

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