Independent Production Roundup

VELVET STEAMROLLER PRODUCTIONS has officially signed on to produce L. Pat Williams’ horror pic “10,000 Doors.” Williams, who co-wrote with her father, composer Robert A. Williams, cited a $5 million budget before signing with Velvet Steamroller but declined to name a budget after the signing as the script undergoes rewrites.

Williams is producing through her SerpentWise Films with VS VP/Acquisitions Steve Bulzoni. VS CEO Jonathan Bross is executive producing. Erica Hubbard (“Cinderella Story”) is co-producing through her E. Hubbard Productions.

The filmmakers aim to shoot here this year, but plans aren’t finalized. Velvet Steamroller’s first feature, “2001 Maniacs,” stars Robert Englund (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) and is being sold by GreeneStreet Films horror subsidiary Raw Nerve. See

Coquie Hughes in Yvonne Welbon’s “Sisters in Cinema”

COQUIE HUGHES starts production June 1 on her fifth feature, “Granny Ballers.” It’s the story of a group of older women who enter a basketball tournament to win prize money to pay off their friend’s defaulted mortgage and save her from eviction. Hughes directed a theatrical version of “Granny Ballers” at Malcolm X College in 2003.

Her previous features are “Hell’s Most Wanted,” “Daughters of the Concrete,” “If I Wuz Yo Girl,” and “Gotta Git my Hair Did,” named by The Independent as the first digital feature by an African-American woman. Hughes is the founder of the nonprofit educational group Urban Chi Filmmakers. She produced and directed the making-of doc for the Steve Harris feature “The Unseen” in Georgia last year. Hughes’ short “Did I Just Look at Her?” screens in Women in the Director’s Chair, Friday, March 18 at 9 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph. See

“Cup of My Blood” director Lance Catania (center) with produces Ken Nillson (left) and Noel Olken

LANCE CATANIA’S debut feature, the horror pic “Cup of My Blood,” screens for buyers in its native HD format at the Charles Aidikoff screening room in Beverly Hills March 8 thanks to producer’s rep Susan Jackson of Turtles Crossing (“Cabin Fever”). Editor Sal Pecorraro is onlining in Fletcher Chicago’s HD Final Cut Pro suite. Lynette Duensing is color correcting at Filmworkers Club. More than 500 people packed the Vic Theatre for a Feb. 13 preview screening. A veteran commercial director, Catania runs X-Ray Productions. Noel Olken of Waitergonebad Productions produced with Ken Nillson. See

“Hamburger America”

GEORGE MOTZ’ doc “Hamburger America,” which premiered here in a private screening last April, has its public premiere in the IFP/Facets film series Wednesday, March 9 at Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton. Workshop with Motz at 6 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. followed by Q&A, then a reception at the Billy Goat Tavern, one of the doc’s subjects, 430 N. Michigan, lower level. See

Michael Kwielford

MICHAEL KWIELFORD of Vision Pictures, who is event producer of the Midwest Independent Film Festival, finishes shooting his HD short “Fire in the City” in late March. Kwielford, who wrote the script with producer Will Combs, describes the picture as “a mix between ?The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and ?The Fast and the Furious.'” Jean-Baptiste LeConte of Open Road Productions is shooting on gear from Fletcher Chicago. Charlie Drehr is also producing.

“Fire in the City” stars A.J. Carpenter, Lauren Ryland, Monty, Tiffany Madison and Jeffrey Damnit. Production started in December, “but it got way too cold,” Kwielford said. “I’ll push it back as much as I can without compromising continuity.” Call 312/642-4222 or email

ANDREA KLUNDER of Chicago Scriptworks directs a staged reading of Rana Kazkaz’ screenplay “Gibran.” It’s a biopic about Lebanese novelist Khalil Gibran, author of “The Prophet,” “the second best selling book in American history.” Scriptworks is presenting with Silk Road Theatre Project’s Al Kasida Staged Reading Series.

The reading features Khaled Alshaer, Ravi Batista, Winston Evans, Kamal Hans, Anil Hurkadli, Carol Karaguez, Vincent Mahler, Fawzia Mirza, Matthew Pearsall, Martha Teagle, and Ashourina Yacoub. Kazkaz will take questions after the reading. Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m. at The Chicago Temple, First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington, 2nd Floor, Dixon Chapel. Call 312/236-6881 or see

DIRECTOR PHIL DONLON’S film, “A Series of Small Things,” was an official selection of L.A.’s April 1-8 The Method Fest, a.k.a. “the actor’s festival” since focuses on talent. Donlon’s new short film, “The Man in the Silo,” co-written with Christopher Ellis, will be filmed in Chicago and L.A. in late September. Actors signed through an L.A. casting agent are Doug Jones (“Hellboy”), Dian Bachar (“BASEketball”) and Jodi Shilling. DP is Joey Domaracki, producer/editor is Steve Ordower, Wes Tabayoyong is production designer. See

IFP/CHICAGO presents a five-part Producers Workshop Series: From Concept to Distribution, starting April 2. Sessions are Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., followed by screenings and Q&A sessions.

Material covered includes: Getting Started April 2, Getting Money April 16, Production April 30, Post-Production May 14, Distribution May 21. Sessions are $25 for IFP members, $35 non-members, $10 Columbia College students, lunch included; series passes are $100 for members, $140 non-members. At Columbia College Film School, 1104 S Wabash, 3rd floor screening room.

IFP is also launching its first screenwriters competition, open only to IFP members. The winning script will have a staged reading produced by Chicago ScriptWorks this August. Annual membership is $85, $60 for students. Call 312/235-0161 or see

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