Nearing’s period drama shooting now through June

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“Hogtown” producer/director Daniel Nearing

THE KIDNAPPING OF A TYCOON set during the tumultuous 1918 Chicago race riots is the subject of Hogtown, being produced by Daniel Nearing’s 923 Films and shooting now until June – a film in progress for the past three years.

The film is based on a novel by Nearing, an associate professor of Independent Film and Digital Imaging at Governors State University.  Earlier, he produced documentaries on a wide range of subjects for The Discovery Channel and several Canadian networks.   

“We think the film is coming together,” Nearing wrote in early January.  “Tomorrow morning, for example, a magician is helping us create the illusion of a live dove flying out of a character’s mouth in a fake snowstorm. If that works, we will proceed with confidence!” 

Producer/DP is Sanghoon Lee, who also produced and shot Nearing’s Chicago Heights, a very loose adaptation of Sherwood Anderson’s novel Winesburg, Ohio

Herman Wilkins, Diandra Lyle, and McKenzie Chinn star.

Nearing is in talks with the orchestra from The College of William and Mary to score.  Roger Ebert picked Chicago Heights as one of the 10 best art films of 2010.

THE INTERRUPTERS, Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz’ documentary chronicling the work of ex-convicts to prevent gun violence in Chicago, is  one of five nominees in the Best Documentary category for the DGA Awards, with winners to be announced Jan. 28.

The Interrupters screens for free in a presentation by Percolator Films and Evanston Community Television, Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

Star Ameena Matthews will participate in a post-screening discussion with Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.

The Interrupters is James’s second notorious snub from the Oscars shortlist after Hoop Dreams.  It is not among the 15 films eligible for nomination in the Oscars’ doc category.

MUMBLECORE FILMMAKER JOE SWANBERG has debuted his hour-long Marriage Material for free on Vimeo. Kentucker Audley and Caroline White star as a couple who reconsider their relationship after babysitting their friends’ infant.

Swanberg and his wife, Kris, costar with DP Adam Wingard and Amanda Crawford. 

Factory 25 is offering a $100 subscription series box set of Swanberg’s completed films Silver Bullets and Art History, and his in-progress The Zone and Privacy Setting, due out this summer and fall respectively.

BITTER JESTER CREATIVE of Highland Park and the Citadel Theatre Company of Lake Forest are producing a radio sketch show for WFMT 98.7 FM featuring members of Bitter Jester’s sister comedy troupe The Comic Thread.

Naomi KothbauerFILMMAKER NAOMI KOTHBAUER, operations manager of Pilsen-based The Media Elixir, is producing “Beyond the Divide: the Burr Oak Cemetery Story,” a doc about the 2009 Burr Oak cemetery scandal. 

She is working with community organizer Edward Boone, who early on suspected cemetery malfeasance and had a tremendous amount of research to contribute to the project.

They have raised some $2,000 of the $7,000 needed to launch the project via IndieGoGo before the Feb. 16 deadline.

She and Boone want to use the film to spark a dialogue about cultural preservation: why it’s important, and what’s at stake for families, communities and individuals if it’s not respected.

ANIKE BAY of Chill Productions is producing the lesbian dramatic series Girls Like Us, about a woman torn between her boyfriend and another woman. 

Bay holds auditions March 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jackson Park Field House, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.

Indie Focus is a weekly feature of ReelChicago. Send your indie cinema news to edmkoz@hotmail.com.

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