Two Chicago-Made Films Premiere This Weekend

July 18th, 2011

With television series “Playboy” and “Boss” set to premiere in fall, Chicago continues to be an financially attractive location for studios who contributed record revenues for Illinois business in 2010 during the production of “Transformers 3” and “Dark Knight”. Yet, what of all the indies with one week premieres at Gene Siskel Film Center or a debut at the Chicago International Film Festival? There are two exciting narrative features produced in Chicago premiering this weekend: “Incredibly Small” by Dean Peterson at the Gene Siskel Film Center (July 22nd-28th) and “Blackmail Boys” by “weirdo queer” filmmaker brothers, Harry and Richard Shumanski (Wrecked, 2009) starring Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg playing at Newfest in NYC (July 23, 27)

The economic climate has changed drastically since 2009 when MovieMaker magazine named Chicago the best city for indie filmmakers to live, besting Atlanta, GA and New York City. The annual survey considers these factors: cost of living, average salary, unemployment rate, job growth, median home price, crime rate,  number of film schools, festivals, movie-related vendors and local movie theaters. Despite the downturn, Chicago remains an appealing place for filmmakers who call Chicago home.

Columbia College Chicago Film & Video graduate, Peterson synthesizes the styles of Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg and his mumblecore counterparts and collaborators the Duplass brothers, Lynn Shelton, Andrew Bujalski. “Incredibly Small” has a wise crack at a young straight couple moving-in together. Anne, a law student and her inert boyfriend, Amir, face a frustrated sex life and an uninvited recently homeless friend. Sounds like a familiar recipe Lynn Shelton handled beautifully in “Humpday” (2009). “Incredibly Small” was successfully funded with a clever Kickstarter video garnering 35 backers and raising $1,497 to pay for shooting, editing, color correcting, and adopting a family in Croatia? Well that last bit isn’t true, but the video is worth watching to hear Peterson joke about his inspiration and life as an independent filmmaker originally from Minneapolis, MN.

While Peterson finally gets his first film released theatrically, Swanberg daringly jumps into the role of Andrew Kenneth Tucker in “Blackmail Boys”. Swanberg plays a closeted religious figure who gets blackmailed by Sam (Nathan Adloff), a part-time student who wants money to get married and honeymoon with his boyfriend Aaron (Taylor Reed). Like many of Swanberg’s flicks, the film is for Andy Webster of The New York Times, “tiresomely about skin,” but the couple’s doomed quest for gay marriage isn’t likely worth the satisfaction of extorting an ant-gay zealot. Blackmail’s trailer promises to be something like Greg Araki’s “Living End” for the 21st century.

Buy tickets to “Incredibly Small” at Gene Siskel July 22nd-28th and see the trailer for “Blackmail Boys” at Newfest.

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