Tag Archives: The News Room. News. Indie

Big News For Indie In The Windy City!

Hey folks, it’s The Critic’s Word Editor in Chief, Clifford Kiyabu (aka The Master) here with some really big news for you coming at us right from the heart of the indie scene. Our good friends over at Filming ‘Round Midtown have a fully loaded show for you tonight filled with all the things you care about in the indie scene and more!

Some of the things you’ll be expecting in tonight’s brand new episode will feature a very special announcement from rising filmmaker, director of The Social Media Massacre, Ron Purtee on an upcoming project of his. Also discussing their April Sunday Movie Screening event featuring Casey Miller’s short film: “Montgomery”, as well as talk of Ron Fitzgerald’s ‘Dark Realm’ project funding effort. Casting calls, and a special segment with Joe Mistretta of Four Finger Effects showing how to make professional ‘scar’ makeup, and Horror Society news and updates and so much more.


Watch live streaming video from egentv at livestream.com


And if that wasn’t enough awesome to put you in an indie coma then get this; they’ll also be giving away a one weekend pass, good for two, to the 2012 Indie Horror Film fest this weekend! Pretty sweet huh? Well, the only way to learn how to win it is by tuning in tonight at 8pm CST on www.livestream.com/egentv

And if you’re in the Chicago area then you’re welcomed to drop by and watch the show live in person at 810 N Clark St, Chicago IL.

Also, while you’re at it make sure to ‘Like’ them at: Facebook.com/filmingroundmidtown

The Social Media Massacre Filmmaker Plans Big Announcement!

Last year, indie horror fans were treated to the release of “The Social Media Massacre” a web-series brought to us by rising indie filmmaker Ron Purtee and his production company, They Call Me Ron Productions. His series saw the talents of many well established actors and actresses and some rising stars which include the likes of; Tina Renee Grace, Nikki Farce, Heather Dorff, Brandon Nichols, Kelsey Zukowski, and Amber Rose Rodriguez.

The main focus of the series is to show “the darker side of social media,” with every episode standing uniquely on its own, telling a story of unspeakable horrors and praying on your deepest darkest fears deep inside the World Wide Web!

Now you’re probably wondering why this is being brought up as news, if it was originally reported on last year? Well, there’s good reason: Ron (the man) Paurtee, has gone on record saying that he will be making a very big announcement once a TSMM Facebook page reaches its goal of 250 Likes. I spoke to Ron recently and this is what he had to say:

“Clifford Kiyabu I enjoyed watching this little installment of TSMM… Is it too soon to call it a classic? 😉

Ron Purtee: No because I have an announcement to make. Only thing is, I need to get the fan page to 250 likes first. So close, yet so far! haha”

So with that being said, the Fan Page is already at 235 Likes (last checked), and with only 15 more likes to go, Mr. Purtee will have no other choice but to spill the beans to the eager fans soon. So head on over to Facebook and Like The Social Media Massacre fan page by clicking HERE. And if you haven’t seen the talked about series yet, then scroll on down to watch the Webisodes:





Extra Tidbit: It’s still way too early to speculate what the haps on this announcement could be, but it would be interesting to see where Purtee goes with it.

FatHead Films Co-owner Announces Formation of New Film Company

FatHead Films co-owner Justin R. Romine has announced the formation of a new film company, Sweet Berry Wine Productions. Romine, the director of the controversial independent films What They Say (Best Actress Heather Dorff, 2011 Chicago Horror Film Festival) and Afraid of Sunrise (Best Actor nominee Andy Schatner, 2011 Chicago Horror Film Festival), said he started Sweet Berry Wine Productions in order to separate grittier upcoming projects from those at FatHead, which is in pre-production for the children’s chiller Trapped.

Asserting he will remain equally involved with FatHead Films, Romine explained: “Sweet Berry Wine Productions was created so I could delve into the darker, more adult and horror-oriented materials. This will give us a platform to showcase those films, whereas with FatHead Films, we can focus on the education and acting prowess of the children we work with on a regular basis.”

Sweet Berry Wine Productions is in pre-production for its first films under the new banner, including What in the Sam Hill, written by and starring Willy Adkins (Spook Show Entertainment), and featuring Michael Schmid (4Lizard Productions) and Romine. Also in pre-production is soon-to-be cult classic Zombie Clowns, written by Romine and Adkins, and The Good Life, where Romine will be teaming up with former UNLV classmates Dustin Martin (Plainfield Entertainment) and Jason Tillmon. These three films are only the first of many, Romine promised.

Sweet Berry Wine Productions is also happy to announce that they will be involved in FatHead T.V., a horror sketch-comedy show that will be playing regularly on local cable. Romine says film is not Sweet Berry Wine’s only interest, however. “The studio is open to all facets of media and art. Having met, befriended, and worked with so many people opens up a huge avenue for us to discover all kinds of mixed media.” Romine says that the company will also offer instruction in screenwriting, acting, directing, filmmaking, producing, and editing, among other things. Romine instructs college classes in film, literature, and screenwriting. Private instruction is also available.

Sweet Berry Wine is: Justin R. Romine
President, C.E.O. and Principal Producer in Charge of Production IMDB

Michael Schmid
Co-President, Head Editor, and Principal Producer in Charge of Post Production IMDB

Find Sweet Berry Wine Productions on Facebook

Extra Tidbit: Justin R. Romine and horror legend Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination films) have worked together in Joe Hollow’s ‘Disciples’ (shown in the photo above) a film Justin also co-produced.

‘Hand of Glory’ Director Responds to Threat of Picketing Premiere

Jan. 25, 2012 – Stuart Wahlin, writer and director of upcoming thriller Hand of Glory, responded today to what he described as a “veiled threat from anonymous cowards” who allegedly plan to picket the film’s March premiere at the Indie Horror Film Fest in Chicago.

Wahlin said he received the message from an individual via Facebook, an online social-networking community. The message expressed concern regarding the content of the upcoming film, which centers on an alcoholic prostitute.

“When we learned your movie is to include a child-rape scene, we found that particularly troublesome,” the message indicated. “That eclipses the already-questionable glorification of alcohol abuse, degradation of women, violence, murder and immoral spiritual themes.”

The message signature claimed to be from a group calling itself the “Coalition for Decency and Ethics in Film,”or CDEF, but when Wahlin tried to reply to the individual’s message, he found the account had been deleted.

Calling the tactic cowardly, Wahlin noted the sender also suggested the group would “crash the party…to send a clear message that this type of irresponsible trash has no place in cinema.”

Wahlin, however, feels the anonymous sender is overreacting.

“I can count on one hand the number of people on my crew who’ve seen the film, so I know it hasn’t been leaked,” Wahlin stated. “Without having seen it, these [CDEF] people simply don’t know what they’re all in a huff about. This guy’s distorted summary of what we believe to be an excellent film is unfortunate, because I’m willing to bet it’ll be one of the tamer pictures at the festival.”

Wahlin said he hasn’t had an opportunity to discuss this development with promoters yet, but that he’d understand if asked to withdraw from the festival.

“There are a lot of great films screening that weekend, and I don’t want to be the reason someone’s big day is ruined if these people show up with megaphones and picket signs,” he concluded.

Extra Tidbit: I can’t help but wonder if this group will actually show up or not during the festival.

Words Like Knives!

The most dreadful thing about a rumor is that it’s like a feather in the wind; once it gets momentum there’s no telling where or how far it will go, but the worst part about the existence of a rumor about you is the long term repercussions that comes with the territory. The more time passes by, the more the rumor becomes fact, and once that happens, it becomes truth. Words Like Knives is an up and coming psychological horror written, produced and starring Kelsey Zukowski (What They Say and Echo Lake) the WLK is a compelling short that deals with real world issues such as rumors and how dangerous they can be to someone’s life, and how far it can spiral a person down to the edge of sanity.

Synopsis: Emma has a loving family, caring boyfriend, and loyal best friend. One rumor might rip this all away from her though. She fights to hold on to her old life as one mean-spirited rumor becomes so real she can’t find the light through the encompassing darkness. Emma tries to run from it, but it becomes so real and takes on a life of its own. She finds herself powerless to it and unable to distinguish rumor from reality. What if she can’t escape it and hold on to her dwindling sanity?

Words Like Knives is a short dark drama written and starring Kelsey Zukowski and directed by Travis Legge. It also features Jeff Scaduto, Valerie Meachum, Myke Wilson, Melissa Revels, and Aley Kreinz. Shooting is scheduled for April 2012 in Rockford, IL.

Legge and Zukowski first worked together in March of 2011 on a Grindhouse trailer entitled, Monster Mash, which also starred Revels and Kitsie Duncan. Legge was a producer on the dark short, What They Say, which Zukowski wrote and acted in. The film was nominated for Best Short at The Chicago Horror Film Festival in September of 2011.

Legge has worked with the entire primary cast before, being well aware of their abilities and how they work best. Valerie Meachum appeared in Legge’s twisted Christmas short, Holiday Carvings, as well as Legge’s first feature film, Raymond Did It. Myke Wilson directed one of Travis’ scripts, Event Invitation, which wrapped filming in October of 2011. Legge worked with Melissa Revels both in Monster Mash and Windershins along with a number of projects they have in the works.

“Words Like Knives deals with very disturbing material, but that’s part of the point. I like tackling uncomfortable material. I find it far more interesting. It’s a delicate balance between seeming exploitative and meaningfully bringing out the darker side of humanity. I’m thrilled with the team that has signed on for the project. Everyone involved really believes in what the film is trying to accomplish and will be a part in bringing this disquieting vision to life”
Said Zukowski while discussion the upcoming project.

Although, it tackles very taboo material it also deals with the universal themes of a rumor spinning out of control and how damaging idle gossip can be. It simply takes this to a more severe level and examines the possibility of the horrors that can be locked deep inside any one of us when pushed far enough.

Words Like Knives Teaser Trailer

You can show your support to Words Like Knives by going to their official IndieGoGo Page and show your support by donating to the project or by helping spread the word.

To learn more about this developing project and stay up to date visit the official Words Like Knives Facebook Page and click “Like.”

Also stay up to date on twitter by following the official Words Like Knives Twitter Page.

Side Tidbit: Words Like Knives (2012) will be the second film consecutively that Kelsey has written and starred in with a three word title, the first being What They Say (2011).

Casting Call for New Indie Horror “The Hazed”

One of the worst things about joining a fraternity or sorority is the hazing that comes with the territory of pledging. Yeah it’s commonly known that hazing is highly unethical then alone illegal in today’s age, but just because something is deemed wrong doesn’t mean it stopped. But what if some took hazing to a whole new level of humiliation? What if some elevated it to a whole new level of horrors? From the creators of Echo Lake and Sick Flick Productions comes “The Hazed” a psychological thriller that explores the unforgiving and vindictive nature of sorority life. Once you’re in you’re in for life, and the only way to leave this sorority is through death!

The Hazed is set to begin filmming summer 2012 in the Chicago area. The film is written and produced and will also star Jonathan Moody and Kelsey Zukowski. The Hazed will also be Kelsey Zukowski’s directorial debut! Currently they doing a full casting call for both male and female actors and of various age brackets that range from age groups of 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. scroll down to read the synopsis and to get a full detail of the roles up for casting. And when you’re done be sure to drop by the official Hazed Facebook Page and click “Like” to keep up to date on all things regarding the project.

Synopsis: When Kate tries to pledge a sorority, she learns that a mistake from years ago is still haunting her. The sorority sisters are completely unforgiving, deciding to have their fun with Kate by torturing her and the other girls to no ends. Kate is determined not to let her win. She has her friends, Tyler and Hailey by her side to help her stay strong. The deeper Kate gets in though the more she realizes that these are not your typical hazing pranks. There is something much darker that lies within these girls, setting up a brutal cycle of jealousy, revenge, and a very twisted perception of reality.

The Hazed Character Breakdown

Kate: Female (18-25). Independent, determined, and spunky. Kate has always been an outsider, but isn’t going to let that get in the way of what she wants. She made a mistake years ago that Melissa isn’t willing to let her forget. Kate refuses to be a weak person though and is ready to take everything she throws her way. Role requires nudity, limited or implied is negotiable.

Melissa: Female (18-25). The head sorority sister. She loves being in charge and is used to everything going her way, blaming her problems on others when they do arise. She’s unforgiving and has a very dark nature, far beyond the bitchy façade that lies on the outside. Role requires nudity, limited or implied is negotiable.

Courtney: Female (18-25). One of Melissa’s best friend’s, runs the sorority house under her. She sticks by Melissa no matter how merciless the hazing becomes.

Kelly: Female (18-25). Melissa and Courtney’s other best friend. She is loyal to her sisters and is determined to get vengeance on Kate for Melissa’s sake.

Jenna: Female (18-25). The only reasonable sorority sister. She isn’t out to humiliate and torment the pledges and isn’t interested in getting revenge on Kate. She goes along with it to an extent, but she wants to just get through this year more than anything. She’s far more concerned with school and her long distance boyfriend who she hopes to be with when she goes to graduate school next year.

Brittany: Female (18-25). As she gets deeper in to the sorority and sees the consequence of Melissa’s jealousy her enthusiasm for the sorority quickly falls. She has a lot to deal with, but refuses to let Melissa and the other sisters run all over her. Limited clothing is required.

Lexy: Female (18-25). Almost connected at the hip to Anna. Both of the girls put all of their energy and hopes in to getting in to the sorority. They have more shallow reasons than the other girls. No matter how twisted things get the price is never too high to get what they want. Limited clothing is required.

Anna: Female (18-25). Lexy’s best friend. It quickly becomes them against the other girls. They intend to do whatever they can to get in to the sorority even when things turn morbid. It’s shocking to them at first, but they put their better judgment aside when their own desires blind them. Limited clothing is required.

Brad: Male (18-25). Head of one of the school’s fraternity’s. He treats woman horribly, especially his girlfriend, Melissa. He has been cheating on her for years and really has no qualms or guilt about it. He comes from a wealthy family in the same social circle as Melissa’s; part of the reason their parents want them to be together. Nudity is required.

Chase: Male (18-25). Sexist and objectifies woman. He’s Brad’s best friend and one of the brothers, but cannot stand Melissa. He’s a good friend to him regardless. Chase is one of the only people to really reject Melissa and show his interest elsewhere.

Chris: Male (18-25). School football star and one of Chase and Brad’s brothers. He’s crude and violent towards others.

Jennifer: Female (22-35) Jack’s wife. She loves her husband, but is going through a very hard time in her life. She hasn’t really been happy in a long time and acts on this unhappiness. She desperately wants to put that all behind them and learn to be happy with Jack again.

Jack: Male (25-40) Jennifer’s husband. She’s broken his heart and he can never be the same again. We begin to see him breaking before us, unable to hold on any longer.

Bryan: Male (20-30) Jenna’s long distance boyfriend. He is very caring and sincere, doing everything he can to try to be there for her. He tries to keep her rational and focused amongst all of the mayhem that ensues in the house.

Dr. Lucas: Male or Female (Min. age 25, but could preferably middle aged). The psychiatrist who tries to piece everything together in the aftermath. (S)he is desperate to reach his/her patient so they can accept what they’ve done and have hope for recovery so nothing like this ever happens again.

Lauren: Female (20-30). Kate’s Resident Advisor. Once she realizes Kate is going through something serious she steps in.

Delivery Man: Male. (Min. age 20, but preferably middle aged) Once he’s in the house he lets his curiosity and imagination get the best of him. He never would have expected what lies within this house.

Waitress: (Min. 18, but can be any age). Waitress at a steak/seafood restaurant that serves Hailey and Tyler.

Please email the character or characters you are interested in auditioning for to kels_z3@sbcglobal.net they are accepting video auditions for desired roles. Filming is set for summer 2012.