Hugh Schulze joins Signature Move as an Associate Producer

I first met Hugh Schulze when I got to know the team behind the outstanding Chicago film “Animals” a couple years ago. Hugh was an investor in that one, but I got to know his creative work as well, including the excellent film he wrote, produced and directed, “Cass.” Since then, we’ve become quite friendly and it was especially pleasing that he became one of the first investors in “Signature Move.” This is one of Ira Sachs’ exec producers, after all, and Sachs’ star has been only climbing since Hugh got involved with him. Hugh is a successful filmmaker AND film investor, a rarity anywhere.

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Signature Move Casting Update: Shabana Azmi to Play Parveen

Shabana new copy

We are ecstatic and honored to announce that Shabana Azmi, one of the greatest actors in Indian history, a pioneer in India’s art-house Parallel Cinema movement and a legend of Bollywood, has signed on to play Parveen, the mother of Zaynab, one of the leading roles in the film.  [Read more…]

Signature Move Casting Update: Audrey Francis to Play Jayde

Audrey Francis 2

We are stoked to share the news that Audrey Francis has signed on to play the role of Zaynab’s mentor in wrestling (and life?), Jayde. She’s gonna kick ass, literally. [Read more…]

Flashback: Entertainment Lawyers in Chicago

Tom Leavens, from the Newcity Film 50 photo shoot/Photo: Joe Mazza-Brave Lux

Tom Leavens, from the Newcity Film 50 photo shoot/Photo: Joe Mazza-Brave Lux

Unless you’re writing your own material, one of the first things a film producer needs to do is to obtain rights to something to film, either a finished screenplay or perhaps some underlying work (fiction, magazine article, etc.). To do this right (meaning you’ll be able to distribute the movie you’ll ultimately make), you’ll need to find a lawyer, ideally someone specializing in such things. It turns out that making a film is a mountain of contracts (and legal bills), so this is an important decision. While Chicago is not the entertainment-law beehive that is LA or NY, we have some fine lawyers specializing in the practice.

To find them, I asked people I knew in the film and entertainment industry for referrals. I got a few from trusted sources, and set out to meet them. [Read more…]

Signature Move Casting Update: Charin Alvarez to Play Rosa!


We are thrilled to announce that Charin Alvarez been cast in the role of the other woman in Alma’s life, her mother Rosa.  [Read more…]

Signature Move Casting Update: Sari Sanchez to Play Alma!


We are thrilled to announce that Sari Sanchez has been cast in the role of Alma as our romantic lead, the woman who is destined to capture Zaynab’s heart. [Read more…]

Signature Move Casting Update: Mark Hood to Play Milo!

Mark Hood Headshot + Resume

We’re excited to start sharing casting news, starting with the news that Mark Hood has been cast in the role of Milo, the bar owner who plays a small but pivotal role in bringing Alma and Zaynab together. We’re working with Chicago casting agency Paskal Rudnicke Casting, Inc. ( by the way. [Read more…]

Angie Gaffney joins Signature Move” as Co-Producer

ag headshot

One of the most important roles in making a film is the line producer, which is sometimes combined with production manager on low-budget films. Simply put, the person in these roles is responsible for everything that makes the movie production work as a business entity: creating the budget and the schedule for principal photography and hiring and managing much of the crew. Chicago has quite a few well-regarded line producers and we got to know a bunch of them over the course of the last couple of years. They’re quite busy, given all the TV activity in town these days, and part of the challenge for any project is availability. This is definitely not a last-minute hire. But we are ecstatic that one of the best in town, Angie Gaffney, has joined “Signature Move” as co-producer, a role in which she’ll perform or directly oversee the line producer duties, lead the hiring of the production crew and help execute a whole host of other essential duties. [Read more…]

Christopher Rejano joins “Signature Move” as Director of Photography


Building a team for a film is a fascinating process when it’s your first time out. Some of the roles are filled through extensive interviewing, networking and auditioning. Others are based on prior relationships that a member of the team brings along. Our director of photography, Christopher Rejano has shot each of director Jennifer Reeder’s recent short films, the two of them have established a creative rapport that finds its expression in powerful images on the screen. We’re stoked to have Christopher shooting “Signature Move”! [Read more…]

The Making of the Trailer: Behind the Scenes of a One-Minute Movie

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It was early August when I had coffee with the Chicago International Film Festival’s Anthony Kaufman and he mentioned that, for the first time, CIFF was inviting filmmakers to contribute trailers to promote the festival’s theme, “Because Everyone Loves Movies.” I brought the news back to Fawzia and Eugene in our weekly meeting and suggested we make one, using Fawzia in her “Signature Move” character Zaynab, albeit in a different scenario than those included in the film. This might be the foundation for a promotional technique we might deploy throughout pre-production, and would give the film a nice boost if CIFF chose to use it. And, it would give us a chance to work together as a team, rather than just talk about it, not to mention the opportunity to work with a director who might be a candidate for the director’s chair for “Signature Move” as well.

We did not have much time, as the finished trailer was due to CIFF by September 15, about a month away. And Fawzia had a heavy travel schedule for performances and screenings of her short films, one of which was working its way through the highly competitive NBC Universal Short Film Festival. Eugene had met Wendy Roderweiss at the Athens Film Festival, where both had short films. Since she was from Chicago and was working in the comedy genre with her short-film series in process, “Stages,” he thought she might be a good candidate for us. We had coffee with Wendy, she was interested, and off we went.  [Read more…]