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Small Films and Big Deals

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on May 25, 2005 6:38PM

Much of the ink spilled over Chicago’s renaissance as a filmmaking hotspot touts all the big Hollywood productions that have set up shop here like Batman Begins and the currently in production Stranger Than Fiction. But independent artists are the ones who are keeping the scene viable and giving local crews the chance to work and network.

2005_05_25_reel.jpgSeveral small fests showcase the work of guerilla filmmakers; recent gatherings include Fast Forward, the Really Short Film Fest and Future Filmmakers. In addition, Split Pillow’s Challenge 3.0 begins its annual Memorial Day write, shoot and edit extravaganza this weekend. Teams will write a script for one team, shoot a script written for them by a second team and edit a third team’s piece. The kickoff will be at Four Moon Tavern on Roscoe and Damen at 7 PM. The films will screen on June 8th at the Lakeshore Theatre on Broadway and awards will be given out by a panel of judges including representatives from GenArt, the Illinois Film Office and the Chicago chapter of IFP. Tickets can be purchased at the Lakeshore box office.

Speaking of IFP, their next event will be a workshop at Facets with the suddenly ubiquitous Guy Maddin. The director of The Saddest Music in the World will, one of his films after leading a workshop on...well, details are sketchy at this point but if you have five dollars and enjoy Canadians who talk about trippy shit then head over to Facets on June 15th.

Finally, Screen Magazine and Reel Chicago are running feature stories about Matt Pletcher, a multi-hyphenate artist who acts, produces, and directs within Chicago’s indie film community. Welcome Back To The Barrio, the first film from his production company Baby Galigo, will see a release this summer. Other films from his company include Two Loon Lake, featuring an appearance by X frontman John Doe, and King Tori, a film about a Godzilla-sized chicken. Nice to hear you can still find a decent “high-concept” film getting made outside of L.A.