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THE GRASSHOPPER, a Sundance Labs finalist, is the debut feature film by award-winning Chicago-based filmmaker Brad Bischoff starring Malik Bader (Street Thief). The story follows a suburban contractor who decides to skip work one afternoon to spend the day honeymooning with his wife in their suburban paradise home.
In the words of DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, “It is different. It is daring. Most of all, in its own terrifying way, it is a love story…”
The film is a modern take on Aesop's classic fable, The Grasshopper and the Ant - a man and his wife who are pursuing the American Dream of old, but are tempted by play and relaxation, seeking out a way around the hardworking 9-to-5 lifestyle, that for so many young people, is no longer a reality.
The film is a nod to the Chicago suburban landscape of John Hughes—however, with each passing hour, and subsequent cocktail, the tides of an Americana paradise come crashing onto the shore of a very painful reality.
THE GRASSHOPPER is a Chicago movie through-and-through. Watch as some of the same locations from the historic Ferris Bueller's Day Off become re-imagined in this Chicago-based feature. We have already secured shooting permits for the historic Save More Liquor Lounge off Lincoln Ave. and several hidden streets that were found deep in the nooks and crannies of suburbia.
Two other Chicago directors have already signed on to star in the cast—Malik Bader (Street Thief) and Frank V. Ross (Bloomin' Mud Shuffle, Tiger Tail in Blue). With many supporting roles still available, the filmmakers are looking to Chicago and it's deep talent pool to fill the sheet, and is already key crew'd up by an exclusive heavyweight class of the independent Chicago filmmaking scene.
Bischoff, a Columbia College Chicago Alum ('09), is also working with local schools to offer several on-set shadowing opportunities for students (1 Director, 1 Cinematographer, 1 Production Designer).
Brad Bischoff (Writer/Director)
Brad Bischoff's films have screened all over the world, including the Festival de Cannes, Starz Denver, Montecatini, and Chicago International (x5) where his film won in competition ('09). His stories touch people’s hearts and challenge their conventions.
He is an alumni of the Telluride Student Symposium ('07) and Columbia College Chicago ('09). Brad has been featured on the Independent Film Channel and in 2013 his award-winning short film WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM was staff picked and voted as one of the best short films of 2013 on Vimeo. In 2015, Brad was a second round finalist for the Sundance Labs.
Malik Bader (Lead Actor, Producer)
Malik Bader is an award-winning director, writer, and actor based in Chicago.
His first feature, Street Thief, premiered at the Tribeca FIlm Festival and has screened at festivals around the world, including Locarno, Chicago International and Buenos Aires where the film won in competition. Since it’s release Street Thief has garnered a cult following for it’s unflinching depiction of the life of burglar Kaspar Carr.
His second feature film, Crush, starred Lucas Till (X-Men) and Sarah Bolger (The Tudors) and was produced by Millennium pictures. Malik most recently directed Cash Only, which was filmed in Detroit and is just wrapping it's strong festival run ("Best Director" winner at Fantasia Fest, '15) and most recently was picked up for distribution.
His prior works include numerous award winning short films and music videos, which have screened at film festivals including Tribeca, IFP, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Locarno.
Frank V Ross (Supporting Actor, Producer)
Frank V. Ross has completed 7 full-length feature films including “Quietly On By,” “Hohokam,” & “Present Company,” which premiered at the South by Southwest film
festival 2008. The 2010 SXSW film festival premiered the award winning
(Sidewalk Moving picture festival best picture, and Nice Shoes award from the
indie-Memphis festival) “Audrey the Trainwreck,” which was rated one of the top
25 films of the year by The New Yorker.”
Crew List (Ongoing):
Producer: Olivia Curry, Phil O'Neil, Malik Bader, Frank V Ross, Brad Bischoff
Director of Photography: Jake Zalutsky
1st AC: Casey Bohrnell
Why We Need Your Help
Films are incredibly expensive to make.
What we have is an incredible script, a director, an incredible location, a crew, and our lead character. What we need is your donation to make this vision come to life. It would be my dream-come-true, and a perfect world, if I am able to shoot this story on film, as the look and feel of the movie is inspired by strong character studies from the 70's & older, romantic films from the 60's... but it will depend on how much we can manage to raise! Specifically, money donated through Kickstarter will be used for:
- Equipment rental costs
- Film stock & processing
- Production insurance
- Location fees
- Production design and costume costs
- Food for cast and crew
- Post-production costs (Edit, Color/Finishing, Sound)
Everyone who gives can participate! Not only do we have some pretty cool rewards for donors, but we’re going to keep in touch and foster a community along the way.
This is a movie about our current culture and it’s the right time for it to be made. We have a director with the experience and capabilities to follow the project through to completion, and a heavyweight Chicago-crew stepping up to the bill. Join us!
Exclusive Kickstarter-Only Behind-the-Scenes
Q. What will the film look like cinematically?
Q. Why does everyone hate the suburbs?
16 oz. arc can glass
Printed Production Still (Mike Kunicki)
Mike Kunicki is a Chicago-based actor, photographer, and behind-the-scenes guru. He will be taking production stills throughout the entire course of our film and you will get to hand select which one you would like printed in exchange for your generous donation.
The Original, "THE GRASSHOPPER" Oil Painting (Frame Included)
Own this one-of-a-kind oil painting that was commissioned by the Director for the film. The artist, Jeff Wells, was born in the suburbs of Chicago. Jeff paints primarily in the 'Alla Prima' fashion as he finds the immediacy of his response to his subject, the interplay of light with form, coupled with his emotional connection helps to yield a beauty that can only be captured with this method of painting.
How Does Kickstarter Work?
Risks and challenges
Making films and telling stories is our passion and we aim to do it as truthfully as possible. While we can't promise you where the film will have it's premiere or which company will distribute it, you can look at our combined bios & accolades for reference. Together, we've had films premiere at major festivals all over the world (Cannes, SXSW, Tribeca, Locarno, Fantasia, and Chicago International) and have secured distribution across major outlets (Netflix, A&E, IFC, Fandor).
We are all working filmmakers who have individually dedicated the better half of our lives to the craft. With over three decades of professional experience between us, we are battle-tested & are extremely excited to make this movie.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)