Chicago Roots Run Deep in Festival Fave ‘Star Vehicle’

STAR VEHICLE, directed by Tiffany Yvonne Cox, and featuring an all-star cast of actors with deep Chicago roots, is finally available to the public. The film was recently released on the prestigious shorts channel Omeleto after a successful festival run, including appearances at the Academy Qualifying Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival and the Micheaux Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it received the prize for Best Comedy Screenplay (Short).

Without any further ado, let’s enjoy STAR VEHICLE on Omeleto…

Filmed during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as many actors were struggling or entirely out of work, STAR VEHICLE was created as a comedic love letter to the Hollywood day player. A perfect blend of goofball comedy and biting social satire, the film explores the micro (and macro) aggressions faced by many small role actors in Tinseltown every day.

Asked about his inspiration for this project, screenwriter Will Allan said, “There’s a lot of frustration and anger with this business at almost every level. We wanted to turn that frustration on its head and give people a cathartic experience and hopefully a few laughs. We deal with a lot of nonsense in this profession that we love, and sometimes you just need to laugh at how ridiculous it all is.”

The short features a cast of seasoned stage and screen actors who made their start in Chicago. The cast fulfills stereotypical roles such as “Gay Black Man” played by Londen Shannon (Loyola University Chicago and School at Steppenwolf alum), “Tall Girl” played by Clare Cooney (who has appeared on Chicago Med, Chicago PD, and the Chicago-shot series 4400) and “Middle Eastern Guy” played by Behzad Dabu (Columbia College Chicago alum and Timeline Theater company member who has appeared in The Chi and Chicago PD). Cooney, who recently directed the Chicago-shot feature film DEPARTING SENIORS, also served as editor for the short comedy. 

Screenwriter Will Allan, who also plays “Angry Man,” initially wrote the script as a joke to cheer up his friend and co-producer, Angela Alise (who also plays the role of “Black Woman” in the film), after she had auditioned for the role of “Black Woman” multiple times in just one week. The film has blossomed into a light-hearted but searing commentary of race, gender, and political stereotypes on the studio lot. STAR VEHICLE brings nuance and hilarity to the woes of Hollywood in a way we rarely see, and includes a few inside jokes for Chicagoans.  

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