Premiere for 2010 Production Fund winner

“Salvaging,” the short film that won IFP’s 2010 Production Fund Competition, was written and directed by Joe Lyons, who works as a Local 476 union electrician and grip.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer/director and finally had the chance to go for it, as the IFP Fund allowed me to finally produce one of my scripts,” Lyons says.

“Salvaging” was the recipient last year of a grant worth $100,000 in in-kind services donated by local vendors that allows a filmmaker to complete his project.

The 15-minute short will premiere Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, when IFP will announce the recipient of the 2011 fund, followed by a reception honoring the lucky filmmakers.

“Salvaging” is a about “a father-son relationship caught in a downturn,” as Lyons describes it. “They are pushing their old car to a junkyard and there’s tension between the stepfather and his stepson,who resents him trying to take his father’s place. They come to learn to trust each other and a new relationship develops between them as they get through the day.”

The stepfather is played by Steve Key, a stage actor who appears in several episodes of “Chicago Code.” The stepson is 17-year old Bubba Weiler, who has appeared in Steppenwolf’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Bubba Weiler as Freddie and Steve Key as Paul. Photo by M. Artes

“Salvaging” was produced by Lyons’ friend, Pat Fisher, a local spot producer. The duo has co-written scripts for two features, which Lyons says he is currently revamping to shop around.

He also has written scripts for some 20 shorts and has directed a number of spec commercials and micro shorts.

“In grip and electric I work all the time,” he says. He’s on the crew for “Chicago Code” and “Shameless,” and last summer worked on “The Dilemma.” He’s been a best boy on a couple of earlier features. “Columbia College was great,” says, Lyons, a 1995 graduate, “but being on set and meeting people have been my film school.

“I’ve always paid attention to how the professionals do their jobs and I try to incorporate little bits from each of them in to how I approach my own filmmaking,” he says.

Lyons rose through the crew ranks and joined Local 476 in 1998 when it had opened its doors to welcome new members.

Among the local vendors who contributed to the Production Fund were Fletcher Camera, Essanay Studio & Lighting, A to B Rentals, Astro Labs, RSL trucks, Astro Labs and Black Cat Editing. —Ruth L Ratny