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2021
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Oak Park Community Stands Strong with Social Change Film ‘Gray Area’

Last updated: November 17, 2021

Tarleton/Dawn Productions and Kelley and Ryan Kitley announce that the film, Gray Area, will premiere at the Lake Street Theatre on October 25, 2021. Gray Area was almost entirely funded by the Oak Park community and the executive producers and filmmakers are Oak Parkers as well. 

Gray Area, a short dramatic film based on Kelley Kitley’s memoir “Myself,” focuses on her personal road to sobriety with alcohol addiction, as well as post-partum anxiety, and at the heart of the film, is a strong theme of family values. The film was made in Chicago, with a cast and crew of around fifty people, starring Meghan Maureen McDonough.

Meghan Maureen McDonough stars in the short film Gray Area

Kitley, a prominent mental health expert (Dr. Oz, WGN News, The Drew Barrymore Show) and social worker says, “I hope this film helps those who may be suffering from that “gray area” of drinking; those who may have jobs, families, lives and careers, but whose drinking choices aren’t always the best. I wanted to use my own personal story to help those who aren’t living their best lives, and who ultimately need help.”

Here is a quick look at Kitley’s mission, including her recent appearance on The Today Show

Kitley hopes to use Gray Area as an educational tool to pair with her mental health talks, as well as see it reach larger audiences through the film festival circuit and future distribution. 

Ryan Kitley, a well-known Chicago actor and teacher, and real life husband to Kelley Kitley, is serving as a producer as well as playing a lead role in the film. “I’m very proud of Kelley. Her fundraising efforts were incredible and her ability to show her own transparency to help others is pretty inspirational. I’m looking forward to others seeing the film in hopes that it can help them in some way.”

Adria Dawn and David Tarleton of Tarleton/Dawn Productions serve as the directors and producers of the film. Their recent projects include the multi award-winning Black Lives Matter film, Karen, and the seven-part social change dramatic series, Kids Matter.

Adria Dawn and David Tarleton directed Gray Area

Dawn, a longtime tv/film actor and filmmaker says, “We love making films about social change and feel that especially now, with going through a pandemic and all of the political and racial unrest our country has been dealing with over the past years in particular, our drinking culture has been so normalized it feels right to release this film now.” 

Tarleton, who is a filmmaker and director of the graduate film programs at Columbia College Chicago, says “Gray Area marks Adria and my thirty-sixth project we’ve made together. Each time we try to raise our production bar and elevate our work in terms of dynamic storytelling and creative imagery. We can’t thank Kelley Kitley and the Oak Park community enough for their help in making this film a reality. We’re really looking forward to the premiere.” 

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