Kalamazoo stands in for Eastern college town

A scene from Fine’s “Cherry”

THE 2011 SEASON of the Midwest Independent Film Festival kicks off Feb. 1 with the dramedy “Cherry,” for which Jeffrey Fine put his successful career as a director for Discovery Channel and National Geographic on hold to write.

Michigan-shot “Cherry” is based on a pivotal episode in Fine’s life when he was a freshman at Brown and became smitten with an older woman raising a rebellious teen daughter.

Fine said “Cherry” was so personal to him that he turned down offers from producers to buy his script to direct it himself.

With the help of his brother, Matthew, a sculptor, they raised the under-$1 million budget and, sold on Michigan’s film incentives which stretched their budget, shot entirely in Kalamazoo, with Western University standing in for an unnamed Ivy League school.

Kyle Gallner, Laura Allen, Esai Morales and Chicagoan Kirk Anderson star.

Jeffrey Fine will attend the screening. Producer’s panel at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7:30, at Landmark Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark St. $10, reserved seating $15. After party at Forno Diablo, 433 W. Diversey Ave. See midwestfilm.com.

Naperville producer Edmond Coisson

PRODUCER EDMOND COISSON of Our Path Production LLC and the executive director of the Naperville Film Festival, will hold auditions Jan. 29-30 for the feature suspense drama he is developing.

“72H” is about a fireman, Viet Nam vet and widower, investigating the murder of his best friend and trying to help his long-lost daughter kick heroin.

Coisson adapted the script from his own short story with his wife and producing partner, Glessna Coisson.

Fred Williamson, Larry Thomas, Joe Estevez, Robert Z’Dar, and Sonny Landham are attached.

Auditions are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Quigley’s Irish Pub, 43 E. Jefferson Ave., Naperville. First come, first serve. See ourpathproduction.com.

JOE LOSURDO of Regressive Films is looking for extras in dark punk attire for his punk rock musical, “Sacrificial Youth,” that shoots Sunday, January 30, 4-7 p.m. at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St.

Email info@regressivefilms.com or see facebook.com/pages/Sacrificial-Youth/107180119335238.

Executive producer Tirf Alexius

“ONE WEEK IN HAITI last year was an experience that changed us forever,” says producer/director Tirf Alexius who went to the earthquake ravaged island with his producer partner, Hugh Grady, to deliver aid and also document the devastation.

Their ensuing doc, “I 2 Believe,” is in postproduction and scheduled for completion in April. See i2believe.org .

Meanwhile, Alexius and Grady completed their urban drama TV pilot, “Breathing Room,” which will screen at the Jan. 30 San Digeo Black Film Festival.

Taj McCord directed, Ron Conner wrote the script Andy Sparesus was DP, Alexius edited and Jon Pierre scored. Starring Erica Ratcliff, Kelvin Roston, Darryl Satcher, Alexius and Conner.

See www.driven-ent.com.

Producer Stacy Laiderman

STACY LAIDERMAN, senior producer for See3 Communications, is independently developing the TV show “Travel with a Conscience,” exploring opportunities for volunteer-oriented tourism, with Katie Harwood, her former Columbia College classmate.

Harwood is a Boulder, Colorado photographer, who works in the adventure travel business.

In February, they’ll make a preliminary trip to Ecuador where they’ll volunteer with Third Millennium Alliance, a rainforest conservation group, and Rio Muchacho Organic Farm.

They’ll capture their own volunteer experiences and interview the program staff.

They’ll use the Ecuador footage to pitch the show to funders and networks. See facebook.com/pages/Travel-With-A-Conscience/144982472225263. —Ed M. Koziarski

Ed M. Koziarski is co-director of the feature film “The First Breath of Tengan Rei”. Email: Ed M. Koziarski