Soundtrack release party for Julian Grant feature June 22

Singer-songwriter Grant Stokes, star of ‘Fall Away’

A PARTY JUNE 22 for the soundtrack of 18 original country songs by the Crooked Willow band, from Julian Grant’s feature film, Fall Away, will be hosted by the film’s producer, Boris Wexler of Escape Films, at Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn at 7 p.m.

Crooked Willow was created by Chicago musicians Grant Stokes, who wrote the lyrics and is the band’s lead singer, Ryan Relye, David Golan, Ali Goodman and Hamid Assian.  

Stokes, who has an MFA in acting and extensive stage experience is also the star of Fall Away, about a new country band’s gay lead singer who hides his sexual identity and ends up brutally murdered 

Writer/direrector Julian Grant is an award-winning writer/producer/director, a Columbia College professor and forerunner of the new Chicago-based independent digital cinema movement showcasing indigenous talent and micro-cinema strategies. 

The producers will screen a new trailer and announce worldwide festival premieres and distribution updates.  

Proceeds from the event will be used towards marketing and festival submissions. Admission starts at a $5 cover; $15 cover includes a Crooked Willow CD and signed Fall Away poster; $25, the same, plus Fall Away soundtrack CD and T-Shirt, $50, all, plus an invitation to the film’s VIP Private Screening.

COLUMBIA COLLEGE STUDENT Wonung Bae has done Chicago proud by bringing home the gold from the 38th Student Academy Awards, as  documentary Gold Medal winner for her film, Vera Klement: Blunt Edge.

Student Oscar doc winner Wonjung Bae

The film is an 11-minute biographical documentary on prolific Chicago-based painter Vera Klement. Deeply influenced by abstract expressionism, classical music and her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, Klement’s work depicts isolated and alienated objects. 

Bae is a thesis-level MFA candidate in the Film & Video graduate program, and plans to complete her thesis film by the end of the year.

Only 15 students from the United States and around the world were honored as winners. Presenters included actress Oscar-winning producer Edward Zwick, a Chicago native, Oscar-nominated animator John Musker, actress Jennifer Garner, and Academy President Tom Sherak.

The Student Academy Awards ceremony was held June 11 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. It was the culmination of a week of industry events the Academy arranged for student finalists. 

SUBMISSIONS ARE BEING SOUGHT for the Aug. 5-Sept. 1 17th Annual Black Harvest Film/Video Festival.  The week of worldwide screenings and special guests will again be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Two special showings: the controversial Congolese film Viva Riva! and Kartemquin docmaker Steve James’ new documentary, The Interrupters, recently picked up by the Cinema Guild for theatrical distribution.

Deadline is June 30. To download an entry form, click here.

CROWDFUNDING UPDATES.  Producer/directors Ed Koziarski and Junko Kajino, of Homesick Blues, raised $7,762 of their $28,000 goal through IndieGoGo to fund their documentary, Uncanny Terrain.  To learn more, click here

Michael Caplan’s Montrose Pictures raised $5,885 of its $25,000 goal through Kickstarter, to complete its feature-length doc about Chicago author Nelson Algren. Click here for more information.

During Ed Koziarski’s hiatus from Indie Focus, send your news about new projects, screenings, distribution, events to