Movieside marks video release of fest organizer Nails’ debut feature

Movieside Film Festival organizer Rusty Nails launches the video release of his debut feature “Acne” with a screening of the film May 15 at Movieside, which also features live appearances and films by legendary directors George Romero (“Night of the Living Dead,”) and Jack Hill (“Foxy Brown.”)

“Acne” is a tongue-in-cheek ’50s-style horror movie about suburban teenagers whose heads become giant pustules through a conspiracy among chocolate and oil companies and the military. Nails made the film on a $16,000 budget in a total of three months over a four- year period, shooting at 75 locations including the Glenview Air Force base.

“I wanted to show that you could make a 16mm black-and-white independent film that had a lot of scope to it,” Nails said. “I wanted to show other independent filmmakers that just because we have a small budget doesn’t mean we have to confine ourselves to a couple of rooms. We should use our imaginations and creativity to give a film a bigger feel than its budgetary constraints.”

Rusty Nails’ “Acne”

Nails is pressing a first run of 2,000 DVDs and 500 VHS tapes, which he’s selling for $19.95 and $14.95 respectively at screenings, and likely through Facets Multi-Media. Along with local record labels Carrot Top and Choke, Facets carries a DVD of Movieside shorts that Nails reported has enjoyed strong sales in its first month.

He turned down an offer from Troma Entertainment (“Toxic Avenger”) to distribute “Acne,” in order to retain rights to the film. “I have a good relationship with Troma,” said Nails, who is bringing Troma president Lloyd Kaufman to town for a Movieside event the weekend of June 18. “But they make no bones about the fact that filmmakers won’t make any money from being in their catalogue, and I’m interested in making back the money we spent on it, at least.”

Nails plans to tour the country this summer, screening “Acne” and a collection of his own shorts. “We’re hoping to develop a cult base and get it in stores across the country and in Europe,” he said.

Nails is working to complete two short films to fill out a 13-film collection for DVD release this fall, and he recently finished a rough cut of his feature doc “Highway Robbery,” which he hopes to finalize in time for the Sundance Film Festival submission deadline. He’s seeking investors to raise the $200,000 budget for his second narrative feature, a horror film “about violence in America” in the vein of “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” planned for fall production.

“Acne” stars Tracey Hayes, Nails, Jim Darley, Mary Luckritz, Timothy Hutchings and Randall Stanton. Richard Menzia shot. Music by Lisa Brandt and Scott Lamberty. Art director, Patrick Roullier.

Reach Nails at 773/856-5220; see For more on Movieside see
? by Ed M. Koziarski,

At the Movieside Film Festival

Jack Hill on Friday at 7:45 p.m. hosts a screening of his films “Spider Baby,” “The Host,” “Switchblade Sisters,” and “Coffy.” Saturday, “Acne” screens 8 p.m. Saturday, followed by George Romero with a screening of his film “Night of the Living Dead.” Romero on Sunday at 5 p.m. hosts a screening of his films “Day of the Dead,” “The Crazies,” and “Creepshow.”

Fest passes are $25. Friday tickets $8 in advance, $10 at the door, Saturday and Sunday $10 in advance, $12 at the door. At the Biograph theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln.