I tried to catch up with filmmaker Alex Beh at his Los Angeles home, then at a wedding in Dallas. I finally connected with him on Monday after he arrived at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Beh, a Winnetka native and graduate of New Trier High School, will be introducing his feature film debut "Warren" at 2015's first Midwest Independent Film Festival at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3. at the Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St., Chicago.
"It started out as just an idea of something I wanted to do back in 2003," he said. A few years after that, he buckled down and wrote an outline of the movie.
"Two weeks later, on a rainy Friday in Chicago, I wrote 30 pages in one day. The next day I wrote 80 pages. It was just one of those things that came out of me. It was in my head for so long, it just finally came out!"
The movie, shot in Chicago, follows the titular character (played by Beh) figuring what to do next after his dream of becoming a Chicago improv star hasn't come true. The attractive portraits of the Windy City were shot by French cinematographer Christophe Lanzenberg.
"A Frenchman shooting Chicago," Beh said. "The only way to do it!"
Go to midwestfilm.com.
Film critics notebook:
• The Blue Whiskey Cinema series starts its 2015 season with a screening of the 1993 Academy Award-nominated romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle," directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, at the Star Cinema Grill, 53 S. Evergreen Ave., Arlington Heights. Advance tickets $6; $8 at the door. Go to BlueWhiskeyCinema.com.
• Yes! You can see all the Oscar-nominated film shorts in both live-action and animated categories before the Academy Awards show on Feb. 22. A few tickets are left for the Feb. 14 showings at the Catlow Theatre in Barrington. (Shows for Feb. 21 are sold out.) Go to squareup.com/market/the-catlow-theater-2 to snag remaining tickets.
In a hurry? You can also catch the Oscar-nominated shorts starting this weekend at the Century Centre Cinemas, 2828 N. Clark St., Chicago. Go to landmarktheatres.com for tickets and schedules.
• It's back! Dann & Raymond's Movie Club's annual Academy Awards preview, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg. Come dressed as your favorite movie star and be fashion-judged by me and James Bond novelist Raymond Benson. Film clips of the major nominees. Free admission! Go to schaumburglibrary.org.
• Dann Gire's Reel Life column runs Friday in Time out!