Three years ago, on a rainy October night, Adrian Fulle's mother died when American Eagle Flight 4184 crashed in northwest Indiana. For Fulle, a young film student at Columbia College, the days following her sudden death were filled with strange events--uneasy family gatherings and public prayer sessions, a breakup with an old girlfriend and a chance meeting with a new one, unsettling nightmares and his pals' awkward attempts to ease his pain. He began keeping a journal to record the tragedy's aftermath, a journal that would eventually form the basis of his first feature-length film. Three Days, which is being screened this weekend at the Chicago International Film Festival, is a deeply personal account of a young man coping with the loss of his mother.
The screenplay Fulle crafted from his journal entries is purposely rough around the edges. "The way people react in the film seems lame at times," he admits, "but I found that's the way people really do react at difficult moments in real life."
Fulle and producer David Miller hope the film festival exposure will lead to a distribution deal for the low-budget, independent picture. Such deals are rare for small, nonstudio films with no star power, but Miller remains optimistic: "I think our best bet is to hook up with a specialized distributor who could arrange a limited or specialized release for the picture." Miller started out making music videos and industrial films, but now he's concentrating on narrative features; another of his productions, The Ride, is also being screened at the festival.
Fulle says he was compelled to turn his journal into a screenplay but never thought it would get produced. After graduating from Columbia he worked in Lake Forest as a production assistant for high-powered producer-writer-director John Hughes, doing grunt work for good money. He'd met Miller through family friends, and Miller was impressed by Fulle: a couple of years ago he asked Fulle to serve as assistant director on The Ride. Fulle had to choose between his respectable wage working for Hughes and the relative pittance he would earn working closer to the creative center with Miller. He went with Miller. The two filmmakers established enough of a working relationship for Fulle to show Miller his script for Three Days, and Miller offered to let Fulle direct it. "The script came together for me because it was such a personal, real story," Miller explains. "But it was also entertaining and not all really heavy emotional stuff."
Once Miller decided to produce Three Days, he and Fulle went after the $300,000 they would need to shoot the story on a 22-day schedule with a cast of 60 (all but one of them from Chicago). Some of Miller's music video investors put up a large chunk of the money, but to complete the financing Fulle chipped in part of the settlement money his family received when his mother died. "I think my mother would have approved," adds Fulle, "because she first got me interested in doing high school shows and acting."
SOFA Uncomfortable in Miami
This weekend marks the fourth annual International Exposition of Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art (SOFA); the four-day show at Navy Pier has increased its number of exhibitors this year from 82 to 97, and the 110 units of booth space at the '96 show have expanded to 160. But the Miami edition of the show is pulling up stakes after three years; instead producer Mark Lyman will bring the arts and crafts exhibition to New York City next year, with an opening night to benefit that city's American Craft Museum. Notes museum director Holly Hotchner, "SOFA will be a strong asset to the cultural milieu of the city, and it will help the museum expand the audience for craft." The first New York SOFA is scheduled for April 9 through 12, 1998, at the Seventh Regiment Armory on the city's Upper East Side. While SOFA won't be New York's only crafts fair, according to Lyman it will be the only gallery-driven exposition. "The other shows are really comprised of individual artists." Lyman doesn't regret producing a show in Miami, but he believes New York will demonstrate greater growth potential because of its strong cultural foundation: "Miami did not have the growth patterns I had hoped it would." Last spring's third annual SOFA in Miami drew nearly 60 exhibitors, but Lyman says the Latin American presence he'd envisioned never materialized.
The Hunchback of Skokie?
The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie could be the next stop for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the new musical by Styx member Dennis DeYoung. A source close to the production says Michael Leavitt and Fox Theatricals are talking to North Shore Center management about opening the show in its 850-seat main-stage theater in late spring 1998. DeYoung's musical had its world premiere last month at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville, where encouraging reviews apparently prompted Leavitt and Fox to continue developing the show. Hunchback could prove a welcome tenant at the new North Shore Center, which has been searching for a high-profile show to draw audiences and generate rental revenue. Meanwhile, sources say that a new general manager for the center may be selected from among local candidates by the end of the month.
North Pond Cafe Gets Zapped
The opening of the North Pond Cafe, a new year-round restaurant at the north end of Lincoln Park, has been delayed approximately two months by electrical problems. North Pond Cafe owner Rich Mott says he belatedly discovered that the wiring in the former warming hut for skaters lacked the proper voltage to operate a restaurant. Mott will have to cover $70,000 in added electrical work; he now plans to open the restaurant between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Adrian Fulle and Nick Miller photo by Terri Wiley Popp.