Lakeview restaurateur turned L.A. script doctor Harris wraps post on debut feature “Dimension”

It’s fitting, the way Matthew Scott Harris came to make his first film about choice and destiny.

“The Weather Man” was shooting near Harris’ Lakeview restaurant Matilda’s, and Harris approached a representative of Nicolas Cage’s production company Saturn Films.

“I got in with those people and I passed them some of my scripts,” Harris said. “They asked me to come out to L.A. and work on some scripts that they had optioned.”

After a year as a script doctor, Harris felt he’d seen enough scripts languish in development, learned enough of the production process and made enough connections to make his own films.

He returned to Chicago, founded Rusted Rhino Production Company, and set to work on “Dimension,” his debut feature, which is in final stages of post-production.

“Dimension” is the story of the residents of a Chicago neighborhood “who are given the opportunity to change their lives in one small way: by the dimension of three inches,” Harris said.

Paul Turner leads the ensemble cast as a down-and-out hardware store owner “charged to gift this opportunity to anyone who buys a folding ruler from this hardware store,” said co-star and producer Mary Kay Cook (“Design”).

“Seemingly random people come into the hardware store and are unwittingly brought into this mystery,” Cook said.

“We start with characters who make obvious physical choices, to be taller or have bigger breasts, but as the story moves forward the choices become more complex and we see how the characters are able to affect their own destiny. Hopefully people will leave the theater saying, ?how would I use that gift?’ or ?that’s a really creative use of it.'”

Featuring Harlan Hogan, Elizabeth Laidlaw, Ricky Rodriguez, Cedric Young, Sandra Delgado, and Deanna Dunagen.

Harris sold off partial ownership in two businesses to finance the $77,000 budget. He produced with Cook and Christopher W. Marty. Harris and Marty shot on two Canon XL2’s, and edited on Final Cut Pro. I-Cubed is finishing.

“Dimension” shot for 30 days last summer in Chicago, with additional shooting in Vail, Colorado.

“I used more industrial areas of the West Loop and Lakeview, that get overgrown with vines and ivy and wildflowers in the summer,” Harris said. “I always wonder why people don’t film in these places.”

Original music is by locals Pat McIntyre, Fools Gladly, Mike O’Connell, Mike Hodgekiss and The Beer Nuts.

Harris is putting final touches on the script for his next film, “Masks,” a bigger production than “Dimension,” which he plans to shoot this year in New Orleans, Telluride and Chicago.

“I’m committed to a three-to-five year plan for Rusted Rhino,” Harris said. “I’m going to make four or five feature films, the majority of which will be shot in Chicago.”