The Chicago Syndicate: "Chicago Overcoat" to Debut at Chicago International Film Festival

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Chicago Overcoat" to Debut at Chicago International Film Festival

Six Columbia alumni will debut their first feature-length film, Chicago Overcoat, at the Chicago International Film Festival on Oct. 10.

Loosely based on the Chicago crime syndicate, Chicago Overcoat tells the story of Lou Marzano, an aging gangster who is upset with the way the mob functions in the modern era and wants it to be as it was in his day.

Columbia is the presenting sponsor at the Chicago International Film Festival this year, and Chicago Overcoat will be screened multiple times. The movie’s stars, Frank Vincent and Katherine Narducci of “The Sopranos,” as well as Mike Starr, will make appearances throughout the weekend of the festival. The cast also includes Armand Assante and Chicago’s own Danny Goldring.

The presenting sponsors of the festival, Columbia’s National Director of Alumni Relations Josh Culley-Foster and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Eric Winston, joined forces with Columbia’s marketing team to plan the national debut of the film at the festival.

The crew’s independent production company, Beverly Ridge Pictures, produced the film. The crew consists of writer/director Brian Caunter, writer/producer John Bosher, associate producer/casting director Chris Charles, associate producer/director of photography Kevin Moss, director of production William Maursky and co-producer/production designer Philip Plowden.

The idea for the film came from Caunter’s grandmother, who said a “Chicago overcoat” is an old gangster term for coffin.

“[Caunter] thought it was a really fascinating idea and we were thinking about what kind of stories could focus on Chicago [and have] Chicago as a backdrop,” Charles said. “John suggested a gangster movie. We realized that nobody had done a modern-day Chicago mob story [before].”

Shot in more than 70 locations, the filmmakers chose not only the familiar sides of Chicago, but also gritty scenery not seen in most films where Chicago is the backdrop.

“We have underground locations for some of the scenes,” Plowden said. “It provided a layer of realism to the film. For us, it was nice to add that layer.”

Working with a little more than $1 million, Chicago Overcoat conceals evidence of the tight budget through disciplined production schedules, sharp cinematography and devout professionalism, as well as the use of an antique, yet fully functional Thompson submachine gun.

Enlisting the help of Columbia students and recent graduates, the crew of Chicago Overcoat dedicated themselves and each gave their best effort.

“The people in the cast and crew got a lot out of the experience,” Bosher said. It was nice to have a production that really had that independent spirit—that young, go-getter attitude. Their hunger, excitement and desire for making the most of their opportunities allowed us to get an efficient crew.”

Columbia will hold an exclusive viewing night for the college community prior to the world premiere of Chicago Overcoat on Oct. 9. The evening will also feature the short film Burden, created by Charles and Bosher while they were students at Columbia.

“Just to be one of five films from the [U.S.] to be at this festival is incredible,” Charles said. “We’re very excited.” Charles said one of the greatest things about Columbia is being able to network. “There’s a lot of collaboration, whether it’s with your professors who work in the industry or your fellow classmates,” Charles said.

A filmmaker can meet a handful of really good, hardworking people, said Film and Video instructor Clint Vaupel. “If you prove yourself and you do what you need to do, other people will see that, and your name gets passed on,” Vaupel said. “A big family is made and people look out for each other.”

Thanks to Ciara Shook

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! I bet the movie is something to be proud of!


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