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Chicago Filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos to Shoot Short Film ‘The Dark Knight Project’ This Weekend

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CHICAGO – Chicago filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos says “no copyright infringement is intended” by his shoestring-budgeted short film “The Dark Knight Project,” which he announced to HollywoodChicago.com in the middle of the night on June 13, 2008.

The timing is but hours before the June 14 and June 15, 2008 shoot this weekend. Asserting he’s not looking to get rich or famous with the effort and is merely doing so for the love of the game, Warner Bros. may perhaps empathize.

With his “The Dark Knight Project,” Vasilatos is slyly piggybacking on a buzz-building train for a film that will potentially be 2008’s most prominent.

The Dark Knight Project from Chicago filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos will shoot in Chicago from June 14 to 15, 2008
“The Dark Knight Project” from Chicago filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos will shoot in Chicago from June 14 to 15, 2008.
Image credit: Jerry Vasilatos

The news of “The Dark Knight Project” comes on the heels of our announcement of “72 hours of Batman” whereby “The Dark Knight” will be shown for a consecutive 72 hours in IMAX at Chicago’s Navy Pier beginning on July 18, 2008 for opening weekend.

The following statement about “The Dark Knight Project” was issued to HollywoodChicago.com and is being used with permission.

With the theatrical release of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” approaching in July [2008], an intrepid group of Chicago filmmakers will take to the streets this weekend to shoot a Batman fan film that bridges events between 2005’s “Batman Begins” and the upcoming Warner Brothers blockbuster.

“The Dark Knight Project” chronicles the adventures of Gotham Midtown students Heather Nolan and Mikey Bale (played by Allyssa O’Donnell and David Sanchez).

Intent on being the first people in Gotham City to capture actual video of [Batman] in action for a school project, they set out with their video camera to interview people on the streets.

[They] witness the evacuation of a city block by police in the middle of a bomb scare and ultimately encounter Batman in the middle of a back alley break-in where he saves both high schoolers from a menacing group of thugs working for the Joker.

“I always wanted to shoot a Batman story. He is one of my favorite characters. Since I sincerely doubt Warner Brothers will ever ask me to direct one for them, I decided to use the resources I have available and do one myself,” jokes Chicago filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos, who wrote the story and is also producing and directing it.

“Every time I am downtown, I am reminded of the fact that we live in virtual Gotham City,” Vasilatos said.

He added: “Shooting an HD movie and emulating the same universe that Christopher Nolan created for ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ allows us to brand our short film with a certain authenticity and production value that we hope will have people thinking our story really could have taken place between the feature films.”

Assembling a talented group of filmmakers and cast from Chicago’s creative community, Vasilatos teamed up with co-producer Zoe Triantafillou and director of photography Trevi Albin to produce the film on a shoestring budget. [They are] relying on the downtown locations and authentic costuming to bring the short film to life.

“This is a complete labor of love,” Vasilatos said. “We’re not selling it. We’re not making any money off it.

“I just wanted the opportunity to shoot a short Batman story with high production values and share it with other fans in tribute to the character as well as director Christopher Nolan, who I think has finally nailed the type of Batman movie fans have always wanted to see on the big screen.”

Vasilatos’ crew shoots the film this weekend in several downtown locations leading to the climactic alley fight being shot off Van Buren on Sunday night between Batman (being played by Chicago actor Chris Nendick) and the Joker’s thugs.

Vasilatos also created a MySpace page for his two fictional characters Heather and Mikey where they have been blogging about their efforts to capture video of Batman to visitors. Their MySpace page is at www.myspace.com/darkknightproject.

A dedicated URL for the release of the film online is at www.darkknightproject.com. The short film will be released online in early July before “The Dark Knight” hits theaters.

Vasilatos, who returned to the Chicago production scene last spring, spent 10 years in Los Angeles working as a producer, director and editor with clients including Universal Home Video, The Reelz Channel and Fox Atomic.

His previous producing and directing efforts include the nationally syndicated entertainment news show “Made in Hollywood” and the Chicago Christmas movie “Solstice,” which was originally broadcast on Lifetime and is now enjoying a second life on Amazon.com under its new title “The Night Before Christmas”.

He also recently served as an editor on four episodes of the popular History Channel series “Gangland” during its first and second season. For more information or to arrange a visit to the set on June 14 or 15, call 323-309-7691.

StarRead more of our comprehensive “The Dark Knight” coverage.
StarView our full image gallery for “The Dark Knight”.

HollywoodChicago.com editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman


Clive Young's picture

Long history of Batman fan films made in Chicago

Believe it or not, there’s actually a long history of Batman fan films
being made in Chicago, going back at least as far as 1964, when a
teenaged Don Glut (who later went on to write the novelization of The
Empire Strikes Back and direct a number of B movies) made “Batman &
Robin” in the alleyway next to his apartment building in the Lakeview
district. I interviewed Glut for a book I wrote about the history and
future of fan films (“Homemade Hollywood,” which comes out in
September), and he’s quite the character. If you want to find out more
about fan films, there’s a lot of great websites to explore, including
fanfilms.net, fanboytheatre.com, and my own humble fan film blog, fancinematoday.com.

HollywoodChicago.com's picture

Very interesting

Very interesting. Thanks for the background, Clive!

Christina Ballester's picture

This looks awesome, I

This looks awesome, I can’t wait to see it before the real film. I am glad the fans can be a part of this too.


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