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Bridgeport Film Club's Project Explores the Concept of 'Real Americans'

By Casey Cora | August 9, 2013 8:24am
 The nascent film club is casting for an intriguing new short film.
Bridgeport Film Club
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BRIDGEPORT — Although the group is small in number — there’s about four people in it — the Bridgeport Film Club aims to help budding filmmakers create movies that connect with the larger world.

The club is the creation of Lance Eliot Adams, a Bridgeport playwright whose writing credits include “Empty Bottles Broke Hearts” at Lakeview’s Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. and a co-production of “Close Your Eyes” at the Chopin Theatre's basement stage.

“This past year I just kind of decided to jump in the pool and start up the Bridgeport Film Club,” said Adams, a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University.

“My feeling at the time was that if you study to be a writer, you’re probably going to end up teaching a writing class," he said. "Whereas if you study to do something else, that’s what you’re going to do and then in your free time you do what you’re passionate about.”

Adams’ most recent project, a short film he wrote and directed called “Really Seriously Really,” is about "a man who tries to seduce the woman he's interested in under the guise of helping her with her taxes to disastrous results."

Along with West Town filmmaker Eugene Sun Park, he's parlayed one of that film's character's into a web series called “Harold in the Zone.”

Adams said he chooses settings in the city that are a departure from the typical Chicago scenes, like, say, Buckingham Fountain. That might means his productions might take place within the colorful confines of Bridgeport’s Jackalope Coffee and Tea House and Mitchell’s Tap, or maybe tucked somewhere within Humboldt Park.

The club’s latest project is a collaboration between Adams and Park's Full Spectrum Features. The pair met at Chicago Filmmakers, an Andersonville arts group that hosts screening and discussions.

The main character in their forthcoming “Self-Deportation: The Untold Tale of a Marginal Man” is an Asian-American man who encounters casual and explicit racism on a subway car and is ultimately told to go back where he came from.

Park brought his idea to Adams, saying "let's take the concept really, really literally."

So the character builds a box, climbs inside and deports himself, setting in motion a fantastical journey that begins with a farewell tour to American archetypes placed inside their own boxes —  oily politicians masquerading as patriots and a 1940s-era housewife among them — and ends with the character back where he came from: New Jersey.

Park, 35, said the story originated with one of those middle-of-the night fits of creativity that shook him awake. But instead of losing it to the night, this one stuck.

The pair hopes to pair up with a Chicago art gallery for an opening night art installation and photo exhibit, where the boxes containing the the real-life actors portraying the American archetypes would be out on display.

Bur for now, they’re seeking actors for the production and are hosting a casting call 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Aug. 17 and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at Constellation Chicago, the former home of the Viaduct Theater at 3111 N. Western Ave. Here’s the rundown of who they’re looking to cast in the film.

It's a labor of love.

An effort to secure some grant money fell through, so they're putting up their own money for the production. And they're writing scenes, hosting casting calls and collaborating whenever and wherever they can.

Adams, who works in research for a downtown company, uses his smart phone to write scripts and short stories during his daily commute.

"If it's important to you, you find ways to make it happen," he said.

Shooting for “Self-Deportation: The Untold Tale of a Marginal Man" is scheduled to begin in October. Anyone interested in joining the Bridgeport Film Club is encouraged to contact Adams via the club's official website.