Big Wins for Chicago Pilots, DelPurgatorio

Big Wins for Chicago Pilots, DelPurgatorio

Major wins for Chicago to report this week, with a Chicago commercial director and filmmaker winning a huge competition from PROJECT GREENLIGHT and Clive Barker, to a number of Chicago pilots cracking a prestigious lineup at the upcoming New York Television Festival. Let's take a look...

THE NEXT GREAT CHICAGO PILOT? The New York Television Festival has announced their official selections for their Independent Pilot Competition, and Chicago pilot creators are all over this lineup. Take a look:

BASICALLY HAPPY. Created by Liam Gallogly and Mollie Rehner. Mollie and Liam have a tendency to take everything to the extreme, especially when it comes to their relationship.

GENTLE DAN. Created by Dan White, Kyle Bethea, and Tim Lyons. When Dan’s temporary rough patch becomes an extended residency in the basement of his sister’s McMansion, he slowly adjusts to a new life in the suburbs and all the people who come with it.

GUILTY: THE WEB SERIES. Created by Katie Novotny, Erin Conroy, and Emma Smith. Katie Donovan, a 20-something in Chicago, is dealing with different temptations every day. From drinking too much before Mass to dating outside of her religion, Katie must find the strength to shed her Catholic guilt to be the person she wants to be instead of the Catholic girl her parents raised.

RAP SKOOL. Created by Nnamdi Ngwe and Amechi Ngwe. Rob and Davis join a school of rap for the middle class and realize it’s tougher than they expected.

STARVING ARTISTS. Created by Dewayne Perkins and Aasia Bullock. Comedy duo Aasia and Dewayne go to extravagant lengths to reach their goals of international stardom and complete world domination. Starving Artists is a show about being young, gifted, and black in a world that praises straight, white, and wack.

DRIVE SLOW. Created by Terrence Thompson. A teenager from the South-Side of Chicago attempts to finish his college essays and struggles to boil down his complex surroundings in 500 words, while his friends’ disparate opinions, racist news narratives, and the threat of lingering danger complicate the process.

PUBLIC HOUSING UNIT. Created by Patrick Wimp, Ted Reilly, and Angie Gaffney. Set in the late 1980’s, three police officers take on both lawmakers and lawbreakers as they work to protect the people of Chicago’s infamous public housing projects. Starring DuShon Monique Brown (CHICAGO FIRE), Kamal Angelo Bolden (CHICAGO FIRE, ROSEWOOD), Antoine McKay (EMPIRE)

LOST & FOUND. Created by Haroula Rose. Stella and Ian’s unwedding unsettles their group of friends in Los Angeles in this dramedy about modern relationships. Starring Melonie Diaz (FRUITVALE STATION) and Will Janowitz (BOARDWALK EMPIRE).

Kudos to NYTVF for presenting their most diverse slate on record, with 56% of all selected pilots featuring persons of color above the line and 44% with a person of color on the core creative team (creator, writer, director). In addition, 71% of the pilots include a woman in a core creative role including 50% with a female creator and 38% with a female director. This is an uptick of from 25% in 2016, the largest of the fest’s history.

Click here for the full lineup of 52 pilots at NYTVF 2017, which takes place October 23-28. And if you want a sneak peek at these Chicago pilots, you can head to the Midwest Independent Film Festival for their annual Pilot Showcase on Tuesday September 5th. Several of these homegrown pilots will be on the big screen as the fest salutes this year's Chicago creators heading to NYTVF.

THE NEXT GREAT HORROR DIRECTOR? Chicago commercial director and aspiring horror filmmaker Danny DelPurgatorio just earned a monumental career catapult from one of the all-time greats. DelPurgatorio and writer Anthony Williams are the winners of “Clive Barker Presents Reel Fear" Horror Contest, which in addition to a mentorship from Clive Barker, also grants them a $300,000 budget to turn their project WITHER into a feature film.

The prize comes from Project Greenlight Digital Studios and Shudder, with the contest receiving nearly 1,000 entries after inviting filmmakers to pitch horror film concepts. After being whittled down by a panel of judges, 10 semi-finalists were voted on by the public. The top five finalists were given funding to direct a short scene representing their abilities, and the finalists were interviewed by Shudder about their vision.

So what's WITHER all about? The film will follow Dr. Spencer Woodrow, who can no longer hide from the ghosts of his past. He has no choice but to revive the dead to trap their souls. In crossing these boundaries, Dr. Woodrow and those he cares about most will suffer consequences far beyond his imagination. As this feature heads into production, as always I'll keep you posted.

Wanna see the scene that won it for Danny and his team? Here it is, buckle up:

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at