Walking Shadows gears up for
‘post-contemporary’ Macbeth film

Walking Shadows partners Kirk Sanders (left) and Jon Gaunt

On the verge of finishing “Broken Echoes,” the film they intend to put them on the map, Walking Shadows Productions is poised to launch their dream project: a “post-contemporary” adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

“Broken Echoes” is a 30-minute short by writer-director and Walking Shadows partner Kirk Sanders, a drama about a young married couple dealing with the loss of their child. “I wanted to explore the differences in the ways men and women deal with a crisis, so the story is told from two perspectives,” Sanders said.

Walking Shadows plans to wrap post on “Broken Echoes” by Thanksgiving and begin submission to festivals and markets. “The real benefit of ?Broken Echoes’ was to complete a full film project as a company, to let the world know that we’re really on the ball,” said partner Jon Gaunt, who produced with Richard Diaz.

DP Bill Frye shot on 24P DV in May. Crew included UPM Mike Kwielford, gaffer Joey Domaracki, and sound mixer Nick Clemente.

Sanders and Gaunt founded Walking Shadows two and a half years ago to develop Sanders’ and Diaz’ adaptation of “Macbeth.” Their 2001 “Macbeth” trailer won the award for best trailer at Chicago Community Cinema.

Sanders was a founding member of the Folio Theater Company, presenting Shakespeare’s work in its original, complete text. His interest in a “Macbeth” film, presented in original verse and a contemporized setting, grew out his parallel work acting in films and conducting educational outreach at Chicago Shakespeare Repertory Theater.

The themes of “the quest for power and the pressure to succeed give the play such relevance for what’s going on in the world today,” Sanders said. “The project defies category. It has appeal for Shakespeare fans, as well as young action fans looking for ?The Lord of the Rings’ meets ?The Matrix.'”

Sanders and Gaunt anticipate a less than $1 million, privately financed digital production to shoot in Chicago in 2004. “This city in all its glory will make this film shine,” Sanders said.

“We’re determined to take what is normally done on an epic scale and attack it with a low budget and a high quality concept,” said the British-born Gaunt. “We’re breaking a lot of rules, doing Shakespeare without Kenneth Branagh attached, taking English literature and approaching it with an American mentality, American music and American locations. People I’ve talked to in the U.K. like the idea of a young company full of Anti-Branaghs attacking this work.”

Gaunt runs Walking Shadows’ corporate media division, which operates parallel to the company’s film work, providing a full array of production services to clients ranging from small local firms to Fortune 500 companies.

See walkingshadowsproductions.com. ? by Ed M. Koziarski, edk@homesickblues.com.