The Vision is also Alaniz's return to the psychological thriller movie genre that he visited in his 2005 film Barrymore's Dream that won the Best Feature Award at the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield, Illinois in 2007. Inspired by the events and characters in that film, The Vision picks up three years later. Ellie Barrymore is now 16 years old and is trying to come to terms with the fact that she has psychic abilities. When an over ambitious reporter stirs up an old controversy surrounding a series of unsolved murders, Ellie and her friends enlist the help of a college professor with a plan to expose the identity of the killer, when it is believed that Ellie's reoccurring vision of the future may be the murder of the professor.
"I love thriller movies from the 70's and 80's that are about people caught up in stories where they have powers that they never really wanted, but have to accept, in order to live a somewhat normal life," says Alaniz. "This movie is makes nods to films like Director Brian DePalma's Carrie, The Fury, and Dressed To Kill with a dash of M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense thrown in. But it also has many moments of comic relief in between the suspense and drama. It's entertaining."
Scenes from the movie were shot in Café Milan, Empire Books, Kosta's Restaurant and Nancy's Pizza in Frankfort. Other locations include Beacon Hill Antique Shop in Orland Park as well as offices at the Network Real Estate Group, LTD. in Tinley Park. Some of these locations will double for ones in the story. For example, the New Lenox Village Hall will double as a courthouse in the film.
"It's also great to incorporate real places into the script to add authenticity to the story," says Alaniz. "One of those places was the 22nd Century Media offices where the local Frankfort Station Newspaper originates. I am very grateful to them for letting us use their name and location in our storyline. Be sure and watch for Editor Lauren Traut in a brief cameo! "
Following its World Premiere at the historic Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Robert Alaniz's The Vision will have its Chicago Premiere at the Music Box Theatre on Friday, May 8. Stars of the film will be arriving by limousine starting at 7pm. Showtime is at 8pm. There will also be a Q & A session afterwards with the director and cast. ". Tickets are $10 at the door that night or can be purchased in advance on line at www.thevisionmovie.com.
ABOUT PRODUCER-DIRECTOR ROBERT ALANIZ
At the age of six, Robert Alaniz had already begun to draw pictures and cartoon characters. By the time this native of Blue Island reached Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, his name was already engraved on numerous plaques and awards honoring outstanding artwork. At that time, Alaniz wished to be a commercial artist; however, this aspiration faded when a teacher challenged him to participate in the school's production of Auntie Mame. Fortunately for today's independent film fans, one of the student-actors bowed out just weeks before opening night, thus creating an opportunity for Robert to recognize his true calling.
Knowing nothing about drama, he met the challenge and became fascinated with the theater. When school closed for the 1972 summer break, Robert organized his own drama group, the Calumet Park Players, in the community where he lived. For the original plays he wrote, Robert casted friends, neighbors, and a few willing strangers. During his senior year, Robert acted in two school plays: Neil Simon's Plaza Suite and William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Over the next few years, Alaniz continued writing and directing his own plays and productions, which soon numbered about two dozen.
As a student at Moraine Valley Community College, Robert acted in another production of Plaza Suite, this time playing a different role in the three-act trilogy. There, he took a Film Appreciation class, which inspired him to leap from theater to film. His first effort, Of One's Own Will (shot on Super 8 Sound film), earned him the top grade in his class. After college, Robert took a job at WGN-TV in Chicago. Meanwhile, his movie projects continued as his love for filmmaking grew stronger – as did his productions, in both substance and length. When asked once why he didn't make shorter films, he replied: "I can't think that small. The stories I tell take time."
In 1982, after completing Barrymore's Dream, his ninth film, the cold, hard, financial truth of filmmaking dealt Robert a setback. The expenses and resources required to properly produce and promote new films became more and more unobtainable. It seemed his passion and love for making movies might be an impossible dream. So, as dreamers often do, he set aside his creative passion to focus on real life: marriage; business; home; etc.
That all changed in 2003, when a second chance at filmmaking came from local supporters in his hometown of Frankfort. This group believes it is never too late in life to follow your dreams. As a result, Timeserver, Robert's first film in over 20 years, premiered in Joliet at the historic Rialto Square Theater to a larger-than-expected audience of over 1,000. Recalling that night, Robert says: "It is a moment in my life, I will never forget. Though not the first time a filmmaker in this area premiered their movie in a theater, we pulled it off with a crew made up of a handful of volunteers, and funds that gave deeper meaning to the term low budget."
Robert's second film in 2005, Barrymore's Dream, is an updated remake of a high school class project. What began as a short story, written by Alaniz as a class assignment in the '70s, morphed several times into what would be its final incarnation. "I learned a lot during the making of Timeserver," Robert says, "and I knew the time had come to take that knowledge to the next level." Barrymore's Dream premiered at the Marcus Theatres in Orland Park, November 11, 2005. It was the first Alaniz film to be available on DVD. In September 2007, Barrymore's Dream won in the BEST FEATURE FILM category at the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield..
His most recent film project, Bitterblue, represented a real change of pace for Robert, who wanted to do something completely different. "I had this story floating around in my head for many years about a boy who suddenly loses his parents. Because of this tragedy, he distances himself from everyone, leading those who know him to think something is psychologically wrong with him," explains Robert. "By hearing that assessment so often, he soon begins to believe he really is mentally disabled. Thankfully, through his friendship with an intellectual and curious girl, he eventually sees himself in a different light and comes to terms with the loss of his parents."
Bitterblue, Sole Productions' first family film and a story with a very positive message, completed production in October 2006 and became his second film to be available on DVD. Bitterblue had a wide audience appeal and was a local success, getting attention from local investors interested in Robert's next project.
He had an idea in his head for a follow-up story to Barrymore's Dream, when people who saw the film constantly asked him about the ending that unintentionally left it open for a sequel. He and the young actress in the film, Samantha Kuebler would joke constantly about a second movie, calling it Barrymore's Dream 2 – Ellie's Revenge. "Actually, I love sequels", says Robert. "As a writer, it's a real challenge to come up with story that continues what was started in the original, but can stand on it's own without relying too much on the first one. As a director, it's a challenge to try and do everything you did before, except better."
He lives in Frankfort with his wife Carol and two cats, Peanut and Snowy.
ABOUT JODI LONDON
Jodi London is cast in another leading role as Angel Thomas in Robert Alaniz's The Vision. Her most recent accomplishments include a leading role, Kelly Wells, a paraplegic, in the movie Timeserver, a minor role as one of Kate's (Sandra Bullock) surprise party guests in the movie The Lake House also starring Keanu Reeves and Lynn Collins and a reoccurring role, Gabriella, in the TV pilot series, The New Life.
Native Chicagoan, Jodi is proud that she was previously with the Second City and that she has also studied "The Michael Shurtleff Technique" with The Audition Studio. Jodi has been fortunate enough to receive excellent guidance from many leaders in the industry including Irwin Winkler, Garry Marshall, Lou Gossett Jr, Jane Alderman and Jack Valenti
Her love of the theater began as a small child when she landed her first theatrical role at the age of 6 as The Statue of Liberty Narrator for her school play. This passion for acting continued on throughout grade school, high school and on through college. She has always aspired to be a screen actor and had some minor breakthroughs in commercials, student films and extra work on major motion pictures. Timeserver was her dream come true as her first leading role in a full length feature film. Barrymore's Dream is the extension of her dream and she will also soon be producing her own film, Run While You Can, a romantic dram-edy that she wrote based on the story of her life.
Jodi is also one of the film's producers. "My belief in his polished development as a Director/Producer has motivated me to become a producer of this film," she says. "I am very excited about working with the seasoned cast and crew together again as a team of focused and creative professionals."