“Knives and Skin,” our second film, is released in theaters and on video on demand by IFC Midnight on December 6; in Chicago, it opens at the Music Box on December 13.
Our journey began in earnest about two years ago when we launched our first feature, “Signature Move.” Jennifer Reeder directed that film with us, and when it came time to bring her first “auteur” feature to life, we decided to work together again. By the following summer, we were in production.
Although the film is set in the rural Midwest, it was filmed in Chicago or within thirty miles of the city limits. Our small-town high school is Taft High, a Chicago Public School on the Northwest Side, where, Jim Jacobs attended in the late fifties and found inspiration for writing his own music-infused story, “Grease.” Our film’s family homes are in Jefferson Park, Melrose Park and Morgan Park. And everything else is in Lemont, including the high school football field featured in the film. As is the quarry, where we undertook nearly a week of overnight shoots in surroundings that are beautiful on film, but hot, buggy, and sometimes as scary as it is on screen, especially when coyotes started howling.
The challenges of filming under less-than-ideal conditions can, in some cases, blow up a project when tensions boil over. In the case of “Knives and Skin,” those adverse conditions brought the cast and crew together. The film is the articulation of a singular vision, from the mind of Jennifer Reeder, and everyone working on it was in love with the project. So much so that dozens and dozens of cast and crew flew to Berlin and Tribeca in New York for our two major premieres, on their own dimes.
Of course none of this matters to you if the film is not worth seeing, but you’re going to want to see this, and see it on the big screen if you can. Drenched with lush colors, shot in anamorphic widescreen format and featuring a soundtrack the likes of which you’ve never imagined, it epitomizes what a theatrical film should be, and can be. Also take note of the extraordinary actors, all cast in Chicago (including four Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members), and allow yourself some hometown pride.
Can you tell we’re proud too?
Look for Newcity’s December 2019 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at newcity.com/subscribe.
In this issue:
DESIGNED OBJECTS 2019