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Chicago Filmmaker Stephen Cone Wins Two Grand Jury Awards at Outfest

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 18, 2011 6:40PM

2011_7_18wisekids.jpg It seems like just the other day we posted a casting call for The Wise Kids, Stephen Cone's newest film. Well, over the weekend his film was awarded multiple prizes at Outfest 2011, the 29th Annual Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

A coming of age drama, The Wise Kids took home the Grand Jury Awards for outstanding U.S. dramatic feature film and outstanding screenwriting. Outfest is arguably the most prestigious GLBT film festival in North America. The film was shot last summer in South Carolina and Chicago (with Charlie's on Broadway as one of the locations.) It was financed partially through Kickstarter.

"During my teenage years I also began grappling with faith and doubt and sexuality and, to a certain extent, watched others do the same," Cone told The Advocate. "Also, as a preacher's kid I became an eyewitness early on to all the different kinds of lonely and questioning souls in the church and was very sensitive to that. All of these things, combined with knowing that there are millions of church youth out there right now, just trying to find their own way, are what led me to make The Wise Kids."

The next stop for the movie is NewFest 2011 in New York, where it screens this Saturday. We haven't received confirmation yet, but hopefully it'll be at Reeling here in Chicago this fall. It's certainly been a very busy summer for Cone. Another film of his, In Memoriam, just had a week-long run at the Siskel; and he also originated the role of "Michael" in About Face Theater's production of The Homosexuals, which is currently enjoying great success.