Midwinter’s first film plays at 2 fests this week

Midwinter Studios, financial expert Brett D. Thompson’s multimedia production company, has gotten off to an auspicious start.

Since its debut last August, Midwinter’s inaugural feature, “The Scenesters,” won Slamdance’s “Most Interesting Film Award” in January, and has a double premiere this week at CIMMfest, March 5 and the Lake County Film Festival, March 6.

The budget, Thompson says, was “more expensive than a lot of condos, but still under a million.”

“The Scenesters” mockumentary was written and directed by Todd Berger of L.A.-based The Vacationeers, the creative team behind a series of comedy shorts.

“The Scenesters” was their first feature, about hapless L.A. videographers tracking a serial killer who preys on hipsters.

It stars Sherilyn Fenn, Blaise Miller, Berger, Jeff Grace, Kevin M. Brennan, James Jolly, Monika Jolly, and Suzanne May. John Landis, for whom Berger is writing the Depression comedy “Epics Proportions,” makes a guest appearance.

A mutual friend introduced Thompson and to The Vacationeers. “I read the script and was immediately consumed. These guys were dedicated to this project and so creative, they just needed someone on that business side to fill out the team.”

A principal at Ernst & Young, Thompson’s background is business-finance and project management, “which, it turns out, is a pretty good fit for producing movies.”

Thompson flew to L.A. and they all agreed it made sense for him to join the team. “I also loved the fact that three of the four Vacationeers (Kevin M. Brennan, Jeff Grace, and Blaise Miller) all had lived and worked in Chicago for a while, so there was that instant bond.”

Thompson helped polish the business plan and worked on contracts, finances and investor relations, gradually taking on a creative producing role.