“We Believe” Cubs doc producer sued by investors

A CAUTIONARY TALE.  A couple who believed that their investment in the upbeat 2008-09 Cubs documentary, “We Believe,” would return an ROI has filed a lawsuit against the producer who invited their investment.  

Husband and wife plaintiffs, Peter Cerbin and wife Hilary Carr, invested $650,000 of the doc’s $1.5 million budget with producer Chad Smith. They claim in 2008 Smith told them he had secured distributors and corporate sponsors. Not true, their lawsuit alleges. 

The plaintiffs are suing Smith for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and civil conspiracy.  None of the other producers involved in making the doc was cited in the law suit.

“We Believe” was shot in 2009 and had its premiere in June, 2010.  No distribution data is available on the usual movie box office reporting sites.   

“We Believe” was produced and directed by John Scheinfield, a respected documentarian with more than 40 docs on his resume, including those about John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Bette Midler, Ricky Nelson, Andy Williams, et al.  

PROLIFIC DIY DIRECTOR JOE SWANBERG, king of the current “Mumblecore” movement of indie low-budget relationship films, will be the special guest of Chicago Filmmakers Meetup May 17, which makes going there, doubly worth your time; 7-9 p.m., 5243 N. Clark. 

Swanberg has directed eight features, many filmed locally and distributed by IFC and three web series and he hasn’t celebrated his 30th birthday yet.

AUTHOR VERONICA ROTH, a 22-year old recent Northwestern grad who is making Chicago her home, not only sold her young adult book, “Divergent,” to HarperCollins, but just sold the movie rights to Summit Entertainment for an undisclosed sum.  

“Divergent,” the first of a trilogy – which couldn’t be better for the movie deal — is set in a futuristic, dystopian Chicago in which society is broken into five parts, of which each is dedicated to a virtue: honesty, selflessness, peace, bravery and intellect.  At age 16, society members must choose which set to join, a choice that will affect the rest of their lives.

“THE DREAM PLAY,” a feature length drama written and directed by L. Michael Toth, will premiere at the Midwest Independent Film Festival May 3.  The film was produced by Toth and Christopher Gentry’s Life is a Dream Productions.  Toth is a spot director and producer/director/editor of short and feature-length docs. 

OSCAR WINNER LUKE MATHENY, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based filmmaker/writer/actor is the opening night guest of the May 5-7 CineYouth Festival at Columbia College, where he’ll present his winning short “God of Love,” and some of his other films.

“God of Love,” Matheny’s thesis at NYU’s graduate film program, is a comedy about a lounge-singing darts champion who receives a package of love-inducing darts.  It also won several other awards.   

The 7th annual festival from Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival will showcase 100 films by filmmakers 20 years old and younger.  It’s free and open to all.

FILM WISCONSIN: It’s reassuring to know that the Badger State still has some film life left, after its successful incentives program was dismantled in 2009.  “The Surface,” an indie scheduled to film in Milwaukee this summer, will star Tom Berenger.  UPM is Nick Langholff, who produced the Tony Shalhoub movie, “Feed the Fish,” writer/producer is Jeff Gendelman and DP/producer, Jimmy Sammarco.