Nearing’s period mystery premieres at Black Harvest

Filmmaker Dan Nearing of “Hogtown”

WRITER/DIRECTOR DANIEL NEARING’S murder mystery, Hogtown, with a multi-racial cast of 70, filmed in black-and-white and set in post WWI Chicago, premieres at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s 20th Black Harvest Film Festival, Aug. 22 and 25. 

Set in 1919, against the backdrop of race riots, the Black Sox World Series fixing scandal, and the end of World War I, Hogtown follows the investigation into the disappearance of a wealthy theater owner during a blizzard.

“While it is on the one hand a murder mystery and a love story, it is intended as a celebration of the city while exploring the isolation and emotions of many of its inhabitants,” says Nearing, who produced with with Sanghoon Lee and Rachel Rozycki

The ensemble cast starring Herman Wilkins, Diandra Lyle, Dianne Bischoff and McKenzie Chinn and a full symphony evolve directly from the ensemble process of the making of Nearing’s previous feature, Chicago Heights (now The Last Soul on a Summer Night).

Roger Ebert called Chicago Heights, Nearing’s loose adaptation of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio “one of the best art films of 2010.”

LUCIA MAURO has shot her short In My Brother’s Shoes in Chicago and Rome.  Danny McCarthy (Betrayal) stars as a man making a pilgrimage to Rome wearing combat boots that belonged to his brother, who was killed in action in Iraq. 

Mauro is the writer of the historical feature Anita, starring Leticia Sabatella as 19th Century Brazilian revolutionary Anita Garibaldi, and Stephen Baldwin as her husband, Italian revolutionary leader Giuseppe Garibaldi.  It’s slated to shoot next year.

RICARDO ISLAS of Alpha Studios is prepping the thriller The Sacrifice, about an Indian American family that adopts two children from India and finds death following their every step.  Islas releases his previous horror feature, Bachelor’s Grove, for free on July 4. 

KEITH DUKAVICIUS (Egon, Daniel Wong, I Am James Mason),   in pre-production on Breakfast at Marley’s, a love story between a transgender indie rock singer (Ben Pardo) and a newspaper arts critic (Jeff Dumas).  With Alba Guerra, Audrey Budris, Kevin Biol and Russell Hackney.

J.R. Jones named Dukavicius “best underground filmmaker” in the Reader’s 2010 Best of Chicago issue.

GERARD JAMROZ of Microwavable Films has begun filming The Murals: How Art Saved America’s Soul.  It’s about Henry Varnum Poor and the murals of Carl Sandburg, Louis Sullivan, and others that Poor made at the Uptown Post Office, commissioned by the federal Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. 

Jamroz is also in post-production on the musical drama The Cockups.

MICHAEL GLOVER SMITH (At Last, Okemah!) is directing the romantic drama feature Cool Apocalypse this summer.  It’s the story of two post-collegiate couples at opposite ends of their relationships’ respective life cycles, and the way their lives intersect over the course of a day and night.  Clare Kosinski is producing. 

Vincent Bolger is shooting. Grant Winship and Andy Roush are composing.

KYLE THOMAS reunites with his collaborators from the short Stiletto, star Kristin Anderson and writer Mikal McLendon, on the web series Sex + Love

“The show dives into the romantic landscape of millennials today,” Thomas says.  “Romance and real connections have never been harder to find, but that doesn’t stop people from trying.”

Indie cinema is alive and well in Chicago and Ed Koziarski reports on weekly in the Reel. We welcome news from producers, directors, actors, DPs, editors – everyone involved in a Chicago indie film.  Send your news to