MORRISON – The Northwest Illinois Film Office will help set up local casting calls for an independent film that will be shot in Rockford and Chicago.
"Screw City", a story about a Rust Belt city teenager trying to escape his hometown through a punk rock band, is getting ready to start production. Rockford was known as the Screw City because of its many factories that produced screws, bolts and fasteners.
“We're ready to go. The script is finished, the shoot dates set. We are finalizing funding, and when we’re finished, we will jump right into casting and pre-production," said Chris Pratola, the film's co-producer.
Post-production is scheduled for August and the official release of the film is set for October 2020.
Pratola was in a rock band growing up in Rockford, and he still lives in the area. The film is written, directed and co-produced by Joselito Seldera, who grew up in Southern Wisconsin. He has lived in Los Angeles for the last decade. Seldera has worked on several productions, including "No Love Song", a short film starring Rosanna Arquette that appeared at several film festivals, including Cannes and Sun Valley.
The film's main character, Chuck, is only weeks from graduating from high school in Rockford. As his friends are getting ready to leave town for other opportunities, Chuck's greatest fear is being stuck in Rockford for the rest of his life. His only way out depends on the success of his punk rock band, Stick Figure, but he must find a way to keep the band together.
The film team has started a crowdfunding campaign that allows investors to get involved in the project on different financial levels. When financing goals are met, the Northwest Illinois Film Office will help the producers schedule and promote casting calls for local talent.
“It's great seeing local indie films like this get the chance to tell their story. We look at ourselves as a ‘film-friendly community’ here, and we stand ready to assist," Whiteside County Economic Director Gary Camarano said.
The film’s producers recently held a webinar to discuss the film, equity crowdfunding, and the finer points of investing in movies.
“I think the entire production team is very creative and artistic, but just as interesting is the way they are approaching the film’s financing," Camarano said.
The film's producers are excited about the prospects of small investors bringing fundamental change to the Hollywood business landscape.
"We want to dispel the notion that filmmaking is an elitist venture, and equity crowdfunding has the potential to do just that by changing the traditional model of how movies are made," Pratola said.
The minimum investment for the "Screw City" project is $250. Information about local casting calls will be released as they are scheduled.