Independent Production Roundup

PHIL DONLON’S Super 16mm short “A Series of Small Things,” which shot here last May, has its local premiere in a private screening Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Adler Planetarium’s Universe Theater, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive.

Doug Jones (“Hellboy”) stars in this 23-minute drama about the personal aftermath of a fatal hit-and- run. Producers are Dale Ingram, cinematographer Jim Andre of Film Branch and editor Steve Ordower of Rhythm & Light.

Ordower and Donlon are developing the feature “Streets of Heaven,” based on Donlon’s award-winning short “Wrestled.” “We’re introducing ourselves as a director-producer team, much in the same vein as George Tillman and Bob Teitel,” Ordower said.

“Small Things” will screen at Michael Medved’s Damah Film Festival in Los Angeles March 11-12. See

SPLIT PILLOW is offering $500 awards to the seven screenwriters who will be chosen to write the group’s third collaborative feature, through their new script development project Realization.

The nonprofit production company’s 2003 debut “The Cliffhanger” is out on DVD. Their second feature, “Brushfires,” written and directed by seven women, debuted at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, screened at Reeling: Chicago Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in November and will screen at the Phoenix Out Far! Film Festival Feb. 4-6.

The seven writers who are ultimately selected will build off one another’s work over a 14-week writing process overseen by Split Pillow executive director Jason Stephens and one the “Brush Fires” filmmakers, dramaturge April Winney. Entry deadline is Jan. 7. Application info is available at

Michael Caplan

MICHAEL CAPLAN’S documentary “Stones from the Soil,” about the Jewish school in Germany that saved his father from the Holocaust, will get its national PBS broadcast in May. Caplan is in production on the magician doc “Experiencing the Impossible.” He produced the narrative features “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me” and “Peoria Babylon.” See


SALTBURN partners Dan Consiglio, Brad Demarea, Johnny Ray Meeks and James Schwartz are in post on a demo trailer for “Alleyball,” a $100,000 16mm feature comedy to shoot here next summer. “Alleyball” is the story a group of wiffleball-playing friends facing the impending onslaught of maturity. Reach Consiglio, a commercial director for Cramer- Krasselt, at or see

VANCE MELLEN of Mellenhead Productions is in development on his second feature, “Revelations,” a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Mellen, who is seeking a producer, plans to shoot on HD next year on a $50-$80,000 budget in and around his north suburban studio/barn.

“Revelations” is an apocalyptic comedy about a country preacher training a young boy to become the Antichrist. Mellen’s first film was the 1997 thriller “Screatures.” He teaches film and video at the American Academy of Art and has worked at Sundance and the Chicago International Film Festival. See

Stuart Helm in “The King, the Lawyers and the Cheese”

BRIGID MAHER’S documentary “The King, the Lawyers and the Cheese” screened opening night Dec. 9 at the Portland Underground Film Festival. “The King” follows cartoonist Stuart Helm’s legal battle with Kraft Foods over his use of the pseudonym King Velveeda (he now goes by the moniker The Unknown Artist). Maher teaches film and video at American University and Columbia College. See .

STRAY DOGS PRODUCTIONS screened a pilot for its new proposed sitcom project Dec. 4. Reach director Joselito Seldera at .

CIRCLE PRODUCTIONS is in post- production on its 35mm feature “Something Missie in the Life of Jordan Bank.” See

TRANSIT STUDIOS will shoot the reunion show of the punk band The Blue Meanies Dec. 23 at Metro for DVD release.

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