Writer/director Jamal’s music drama about a ‘90s band

SMASHED! A short film by writer/director Theophilus Jamal, about a band struggling to stay together during the changing Chicago alternative rock music scene in the ‘90s starts production Sept. 23 on a micro-budget.

Producers are Jamal’s Hipsters Union Productions and Kristine Kruse’s Red 27 Productions.  Jamal is a second year DePaul graduate student and Kruse is an MFA graduate student in DePaul’s Digital Cinema school. 

The faculty has given the project “enthusiastic support,” says Jama, as well as the use of the school’s Red camera.

Writer/director Theophilus Jamal

Smashed! stars Jeremy Iverson, actor and author of the book “High School Confidential,” as the lead singer of the band Fearse Kreatures; Matt Ukena, is the band’s lead guitarist (“The Sad Café”)and Cyn Dulay, who portrays the band’s bassist is also a film producer.

Jamal wrote 12 original songs for Smashed, including Black Metal Rose, available on iTunes and Live Forever, played by recording artist Moby.

DP is Rob Sepulveda and Sally O’Brien will edit. 

Musical artists of the era, drummer Joe Daniels from the band Local H and producer Preston Klik of the band Big Hat, have cameo roles.

“I want to convey a sense of real history and of the growth with these characters.  Smashed is ultimately a love letter to the Chicago music scene then and now,” he says.

Click here to see a trailer.

COMEDY/DRAMA FANCYPANTS, starring Maywood ex-con Patrick Gleason as the wrestler nearing the end of his career and whose only remaining fan is an 8-yer old boy, will premiere at the AMC River East theatre on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. 

Patrick Gleason stars  in “Fancypants”

Fancypants is the first indie film from Humble Pie producer Daniel Hanson, who also owns non-film businesses, and his partners crreative producer/DP Jim Andre, creative producer Jim Poole and Fancypants writer/director Joshua Russell, a screenwriting instructor at DePaul University.

Gleason is a childhood friend of DP Andre, who served 15 years in Illinois prisons for the attempted murder of a policeman and a bouncer outside a bar in Stone Park in 1989. To prepare for the role, Gleason trained with the masked Mexican wrestling group Lucha Libre.  

Click here to see the trailer.

NIGHTLIGHTS, David Midell of Play on Productions’  indie film drama about autism has completed principal photography and is now in post.

It stars Stephen Louis Grush (The Chicago Code, as Jacob, who has low-functioning, non-verbal autism and Shawna Waldron (Little Giants) as Erin, his twin sister and and Leslie Easterbrook. 

David Midell: “Nightlights” producer/director Midell, a special education teacher in Mt. Prospect, formed Play On Productions to produce films about individuals with development disabilities.

“I felt the specific struggles the characters experience in NightLights were ones that were rarely depicted and were some of the most profound struggles I witnessed through my work,” says Midell, who directed the feature.   

The writer is Nick Izzo; producers, Adam Dick and Keaton Wooden, who have a documentary background; DP, John Klein; associate producer Don Albert; line producer Ed Eberwine III; first AD Michael S. Chandler, and production designer Megan McDonough. 

In May, Play On’s short film, By Any Other Name, was honored by the National Association for Down Syndrome for its efforts to promote disability advocacy and inclusion.

Indie Focus’ Ed Koziarski is in Japan shooting a documentary until fall.  During his absence, send news of your indie projects to ruth@reelchicago.wpengine.com.