On the first Tuesday of every month, the Midwest Independent Film Festival hosts one of the most unique film events in the city. Month after month, presenters put together programs that shine a much-deserved light on productions coming straight out of Chicago, often before they make it big on the national festival scene or in theaters.
Though it focuses on the small screen this time around, the latest program is no exception. On Tuesday, September 5, no fewer than eight new television pilots premiere before they bow at the New York Television Festival next month. That festival puts these independent productions – often made “on spec” (think: proof of concept) – in front of television production bigwigs who may just decide to invest in their ideas and bring them to series.
But first, audiences in Chicago will be able to see these eight local production courtesy of Midwest Independent Film Festival, as each screens in a 90-minute program at Landmark’s Century Center Cinema followed by a Q&A session with the various creative teams.
Featured pilots range from the hilarious and absurd to the thoughtful and intense, and while budgets and production values also vary, each is showcase for the talent and creative energy teeming through the city. Starving Artists and Basically Happy are each the brainchild of a comedy duo who take their everyday experiences to hilarious ends. Black Apple Productions brings a first look at Public Housing Unit, a gritty, 1980s-set police drama about the force protecting one of the city’s most notorious residences, and Lost and Found channels Parenthood and This is Us in a relationship-driven modern drama that weaves together multiple storylines. In between is a farce about learning to rap, a 20-something’s cheeky attempt to shed her Catholic guilt and more.
A full line-up, as well as trailers to each of the pilots debuting on Tuesday, is available here. Tickets are available in advance online and at the door.