Algonquin native makes it to Cannes Film Festival

Algonquin native Alex Flees said she had wanted to work in the film industry since she was a child. Her parents created a theater in the basement where she would host movie marathons despite her parents pushing her to be outside more.

Now she returns home after going to Cannes, France, to screen a film she produced at the Cannes Film Festival.

“I’m still in shock. I’m still surprised it wasn’t a dream,” she said.

The seven-minute short film “Reasonable Doubt” was created by Wisconsin-based production company Pico Blvd Entertainment, with Flees as its leading producer. It is a legal drama following the aftermath of a car crash involving college-aged young adults and a mom whose son died in the crash. It screened at the prestigious and international Cannes Film Festival after winning awards at Filmapalooza in Lisbon, Portugal, a first for the production company.

The District 300 Harry D. Jacobs High School graduate has produced many other short films with Pico Blvd Entertainment.

Her role as a producer is to be a manager of the film cast and crew, making sure everything is working seamlessly behind the scenes, she said.

“I’ve always said that producing is suffering in silence, and I never hear from her so, she does a really good job,” Director and owner of Pico Blvd Entertainment Daniel Pico said.

Their success with “Reasonable Doubt” is even more impressive because it was written, filmed and edited within 48 hours as part of The 48 Hour Film Project. Teams are given a genre and a line that needs to be incorporated into the film Friday evening, and it needs to be submitted by Sunday evening, Pico said.

“Reasonable Doubt” was filmed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where Pico Blvd Entertainment is based. Pico said he hopes to “democratize” the film industry away from Los Angeles so filmmakers from anywhere can create films.

“There’s a community, but there’s not the business of film here,” Flees said. “We’re trying to get the business of film to be here.”

Flees, Pico and some of the team went to Cannes for the screening. Flees didn’t see her film screened at the festival because she gave up her ticket to someone else. Instead, she stood outside the venue and showed people the film on her phone, Pico said.

“Reasonable Doubt” should be available to the public in the fall, Flees said.

“She really knows how to be a producer and make people happy,” Pico said. “I was really proud of her for taking that one for the team and then continuing to promote the film at the same time.”

The production team’s most recent 48 Hour Film Project is a short horror film called “The Tie That Binds,” which is currently up for awards. Pico hopes to make it into a full-length feature film.

Flees has worked on seven of the eight films Pico’s production company has created. She has climbed from working on-set to assistant director and producer in two years, Pico said. Flees hopes to write and direct a feature film of her own in the future.

“The future is completely open for her to wherever she could end up,” Pico said. “She’s only limited by her ambition, drive and perseverance.”

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