Sci-fi ‘Breathers’ short a Pipeline contest finalist

Scene from Justin Madson’s comic book ‘Breathers’

FILMMAKER ADRIANNA MCKINLEY’S character-driven sci-fi short drama, Breathers, based on the Breathers comic book by Justin Madson, is in postproduction being readied for two local film festivals this fall.

The story is about a young girl who attempts suicide by breathing the planet’s deadly air, but discovers she can breathe it without ill effects and she sets out to learn why. Her brother believes the deadly air is a government plot to control society.

The ultra-low budget of $8,000 was raised Kickstarter style on Breathers website, says producer Kamelya Alexan, an accountant with Fletcher Camera & Lenses, who has produced other films with McKinley.

McKinley directed and edited the 8-minute film.  She co-wrote with L.A. writing partner Will Wallace, with Madson contributing to the script and animated sequences.  DP was Mike Stanislawski.  Pamela Pratt, Nick Cardiff and Steve Pringle star.  

A crew of 12, many of the Columbia College grads, shot in four locations in late 2009.

McKinley says she came across the comic book in a shop near her North Side home that sells self-published titles “and I was drawn to the art.  A month later, it was still on my mind and I found the author and obtained the rights for a screenplay.”

Breathers is one of 10 finalists out of 3,500 entries in the L.A. Pipeline Writing Competition to discover new screenwriters. Four top winners will be announced August 14.

The short was accepted in the North Shore Film Festival and the Sycamore Film Festival, both running in November.

Lizzie MacKenzie with River North Dance Chicago dazzles in ‘Dancing for Life’

DANCE FOR LIFE, the performance dance documentary, created by Scott Silberstein and Matt Hoffman’s HMS Media, in collaboration with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, will premiere on WTTW/11 on August 11 a year after the project began.

Dance for Life, which celebrates its 20th anniversary with a live benefit concert August 20, was created as a one-time only performance in the 1980s by Chicago dance professionals when they were confronted by the AIDS epidemic.  

The one-hour special, shot in HD with Sony XD cameras, features more than 40 dancers and aerialists from six Chicago dance companies, who performed pro bono. 

Executive producer Silberstein first proposed the idea for a special based on Dance for Life in the mid-1990s, but feels the wait was worth it.

Matt Hoffman directed and edited; Catherine Haremski was associate producer. Documentary photography in HD by John Ford, Matt Hoffman and Gino Russano; audio by Steve Haskin. Live performance videography by John Ford, Joe Lukawski, Greg Stasezski and Tom Szklarski; audio by Josh Jones.

A SPECIAL FACETS EVENT Monday, July 25 is the award presentation and one-night-only screening of Chicago filmmaker Dawn Sinclair Shapiro’s documentary, The Edge of Joy. 

She will receive the 2011 Nafis Sadik Award for Courage for the making of the film by the Rotarian Action Group for Population & Sustainable Development, part of Rotary International.  

Narrated by award-winning journalist, Eliza Griswold, and featuring animation by Yoni Goodman, this portrait of Nigerian pregnancy and childbirth shows the consequences of poor maternal health as it explores the nuances and complexities of bringing emerging health technologies to the developing world.

The 7 p.m. screening will be followed by a Facets Film Dialogue and reception.  For more information, click here