Crime Drama ‘Helix’ to Begin Non-Stop Chicago Filming in Late March 2008 With Lead Alexa Vega

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CHICAGO – on Monday learned about yet another Chicago film that can be added to the local list with a wide array of first-time talent: “Helix”.

While the Windy City has seen local filming from major films including “The Dark Knight” (Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman), “Wanted” (Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman) and now “Public Enemies” (Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard), so has the city had its recent fair share of independent films including “Chicago Overcoat,” “The Root of All Evil” and now “Helix”.

Actor, writer and director Aram Rappaport
Actor, writer and director Aram Rappaport.
Photo credit: Annie Moses on Feb. 3, 2008

“Helix” comes from the mind of 20-year-old actor, writer and first-time director Aram Rappaport. Rappaport previously wrote multiple television episodes, a dramatic short and several independent films that include “Prism” and TV pilot “Dakota Blue” (in which he also starred).

“Helix” has attached Alexa Vega (“Spy Kids”) as its lead, has confirmed. Samantha Long is also confirmed as attached to the film, which is a 100-minute graphic crime drama being shot in cooperation with the City of Chicago from independent TV and film production company Windward Entertainment in Beverly Hills.

Alexa Vega will star in Aram Rappaport's Chicago film Helix
Alexa Vega will star in Aram Rappaport’s Chicago film “Helix”.
Left photo credit: Leslie Bohm on Feb. 4, 2008
Right photo credit: Ray Mickshaw, on Aug. 8, 2004

“Helix” is being produced by first-time producer and Evanston, Ill. native James Toland with first-time co-executive producers Aaron Becker and Alex Becker. Windward was founded in 2006 by Toland, Rappaport and both Beckers.

“Making a film like ‘Helix’ requires a great deal of planning and flexibility,” Toland said in the Monday statement. “We’re extremely pleased to have city officials and the Chicago Film Office working diligently to help us keep the camera rolling so we can tell the story as it really happened.”

Actor, writer and director Aram Rappaport
Actor, writer and director Aram Rappaport.
Photo credit: Annie Moses on Feb. 3, 2008

Plans are under way at the end of March 2008 to shut down several areas of Chicago during the filming of “Helix,” which will be shot in a single take. Here is the film’s plotline:

Based on a true incident, “Helix” is the compelling tale of five disparate lives that become inextricably entangled one cold Chicago morning. Vega stars as a beautiful young woman abducted by two desperate urban youths (Austin O’Brien and Chicago actor Carlo Lorenzo Garcia).

A street dweller witnessing the dramatic events is torn between becoming involved and remaining silent. Completing the cast of characters is a corrupt cop who too late realizes the devastating implications of his self-serving motives.

The non-stop thriller … taps the themes of individual choice, courage, survival, loss of innocence and redemption. With no cuts or breaks once the camera starts rolling, the picture presents a special challenge for the actors who will have only six days of rehearsal before shooting begins. The movie will be shot in its entirety once a day for five successive days.

Rappaport says the single-take method is “essential” to preserve the authenticity of his story. He added in the Monday statement: “I wrote the story of ‘Helix’ with the intention of depicting its truth as it physically happened, which is how violent crimes like abductions unfold. I cannot conceive of making the picture any other way. To edit it would be an injustice.” editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman


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'Helix' group will be on ABC 7 Chicago TV on March 18, 2008

I just learned that the “Helix” group will be on ABC 7 Chicago television on March 18, 2008.'s picture story on 'Helix,' comparison to film 'Russian Ark'

A scene from the one-take 2002 drama Russian Ark; credit: Wellspring MediaFollowing ours, just published a story about “Helix”. From the story:

The 2002 film Russian Ark (pictured on right) is about to get some company, by way of Chicago.

Later this month, writer turned director Aram Rappaport, who is all of 20 years old and already an experienced show business veteran, will be rolling the cameras for his one-take movie.

There will be six days of rehearsal and then five successive days during which the film Helix will be shot at least once, per day.'s picture

'Helix' ad on Craig's List for 'experienced AC'

The following ad for “Helix” was posted on Craig’s List on March 10, 2008.

“Helix,” a 90 minute experimental indie shot in the style of “Russian Ark” starring Alexa Vega seeks Assistant Camera who has experience working with the Panasonic HVX200 as well as experience operating in support of a steadicam operator.

Grip and lighting experience a plus.

This is a low budget production, but is a supreme opportunity to showcase your skills in a format that has been done few times in cinematic history.

Pay is for six days of tech walkthrough in addition to five days of shooting. $1,250

The contact e-mail is

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