North Side dentist learns the pain of filmmaking with first indie film

Jet Chiranand just finished post for “Kyle & Heidi,” the feature he made at his dental office Celebrity Smiles.

When visionaries talk of synergies in the entertainment industry, production company and dental office may not top the list of likely combinations.

But it works for Jet Chiranand.

Chiranand draws many of his dental patients from the ranks of the Chicago industry. And now the Thai-born dentist is getting in on the game himself with his feature debut, “Kyle and Heidi.”

The self-financed “less the $50,000” DV picture lensed last September in and around his dental practice, Celebrity Smiles, at Belmont and Southport. He has run the “Kyle & Heidi” production out of the same office through his Celebrity Smiles Entertainment.

Chiranand pulled elements of the script from stories he heard from behind his surgical mask. “There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not sitting down with one of my patients asking about their love life,” he said.

Many Celebrity Smiles patients make appearances in “Kyle & Heidi.” “My patients who are actors would show up for appointments and we’d throw them in the film,” he said.

In “Kyle & Heidi,” Chiranand plays a playboy dentist falling in love with an abstinent schoolteacher, portrayed by Aimee Bravo.

“I got the idea from my own relationship, though my girlfriend was not practicing abstinence,” Chiranand said.

Chiranand formed his plans for the film with the guidance of patients. “In my practice I meet a lot of writers and directors and actors, and I learned a lot from them,” he said.

Indeed, “Kyle and Heidi” cinematographer and associate producer Amber Chapman is one of Chiranand’s dental patients.

Chiranand wrote the script during dental school. The film is the culmination of a life-long dream that had been deferred by his professional responsibilities. “My parents both deliver babies. I come from a family of lawyers and physicians, and they always expected I would grow out of my cinematic ambitions, but instead I kept making films,” he said.

He prepared to make his feature with an array of classes at the Screenwriters Group, Act One and Chicago Filmmakers, plus extension classes at UCLA and a six-week “Director’s Cut” seminar in L.A.

Chiranand is now researching a film blowup for the picture and crafting his strategy for festival submissions and courting distributors.

Chiranand’s short film, “Carpe Diem,” played at the 2002 New York and Los Angeles independent film festivals. There, he met Paul Freedman of Los Angeles-based 2-Pop Editorial, who cut the film and supervised post.

Cast includes Laura Scheinbaum, Suzanne Cobb, Sam Weiss, and Daniel Shay.

Contact Chiranand at Celebrity Smiles, 773/883-1557, 3208 N. Southport, or at
– by Ed M. Koziarski,