Sympathy, Said the Shark, a new POV thriller produced by Chicago native Casey Morris, will premiere in Chicago at Facets Cinematheque in Lincoln Park tonight at 7:30pm. The film, which was written and directed by Devin Lawrence, and executive-produced by Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans, won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2015 Portland Festival — and following the screening, the film also had the longest audience Q&A session of the entire festival.
The movie is a collaboration between Casey Morris, a 1997 graduate of Chicago’s Francis W. Parker School, and Devin Lawrence, known for his work on the popular Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventures.” Their first film collaboration stalled because of weather issues, so Sympathy, Said the Shark grew out of a desire to make a film that could be made “any time, anywhere, for any amount of money,” said Lawrence. “It became a ‘come hell or high water,’ kind of thing.”
The movie begins with a young couple (Melinda Cohen and Lea Coco) opening their door to find their estranged friend Church (Dominic Bogart, who also performed most of the film’s soundtrack) soaked from the rain and covered in blood, claiming that someone is trying to kill him. Thanks to the way the film was shot with a camera rig designed specifically for the film to capture the perspective of each character, the audience can never be totally sure which character is telling the truth or who is really in danger.
“Watching the movie is a little bit like you’re living the video game of this thriller,” said Morris. “I think the idea is that we can all be in the same room and have a very different perspective of what’s going on in that same exact moment. You might think you know what’s going on in a situation, but do you really know the baggage of every person in that room?”
“We have three characters in this film and each of them is the shark,” explained Lawrence when asked about the film’s title. “They’ve all wronged each other, yet they’re all asking for forgiveness, and they must find a way to forgive each other if they’re going to make it through the night.”
Sympathy, Said the Shark premieres at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton on Monday, Jan. 11, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10 or $5 for members and the screening includes a Q&A session with producers Casey Morris, Matthew Mourgides and director/writer Devin Lawrence. Buy tickets on the Facets website. The film will be released worldwide on video-on-demand platforms on Jan. 15.