Mockumentary based on local film ‘horror stories’

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A mockumentary, “The Great Chicago Filmmaker,”  by filmmaker Michael Jolls, screening Jan. 26 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, aims the camera at burgeoning directors who mar their projects with delusion and self-admiration.

Motivated by real-life horror stories from Chicago film sets, the story is about a young director (Devin Sanclemente) as he sets off to produce the next indie sensation, but stumbles over his own ego – “as big as a bus” — in the process.

Jolls, in a HollywoodChicago.com interview, said his goal was “to tackle the Chicago-based film industry in a tongue-in-cheek approach.

“This meant mocking it in a way that the other projects hadn’t, by actually having actors from the city cameo as themselves on the ‘fake’ sets in the film. Or actually having the main character (i.e. the director) do a green-screen pitch for money.”

The real event that inspired him, Jolls said, was hearing a tale about a grandiose film — its budget, production values and acting – only to learn that it was a 10-minute short and had been on the shelf for two years because the producers couldn’t agree on an ending. 

Natalia Samoylova, who came up with the movie idea, turned her focus toward the delusional mind-set of filmmakers.  She was co-EP with Jolls, one of the film’s stars, and appeared in an earlier Jolls’ short.

Jolls co-wrote the script with Laurence F. Knapp, Josh Levine, Sriram Parthasarathy and  Sanclemente. Roxie Cohen, Vesi Peneva and Logan Stone produced.

Jolls said “The Great Chicago Filmmaker” will be released digitally, since the festival route is not an option.

“Festivals won’t touch it … they get all bent out of shape when they hear about the movie’s content.”

The project is distinctly different from virtually all other movies in one regard: “It’s not-for-profit,” Jolls said. “It would be illegal for us to capitalize on it.  We’re not relying on box office returns or award circuits.  Rather, it was made for our own selfish entertainment.”

Screening starts at 7:30 p.m., Academy Award theme, with special raffle prizes. Buy tickets, $8, here

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