Drawing Underwater

Drawing Underwater

Latest News

10:56 PM

Latest News / Production Diary
by C.J. Arellano

MARCH 1, 2011 - "Drawing Underwater" has been selected to screen at the EgoFest Film Festival, March 18-19, 2011, at the CLC Chalberg Theatre in Brainerd, MN.

AUGUST 31, 2010 - "Drawing Underwater" has been selected to screen at the Chicago International REEL Shorts Festival, Sept. 18, 2010 at 4:30pm, Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash.  Hope to see you there!

AUGUST 22, 2010 - "Drawing Underwater" has just been accepted to the Big Bear Lake International Festival! They will be screening the film on September 17, 2010.

JULY 28, 2010 - For our Floridian friends, "Drawing Underwater" will be screening at the Central Florida Film Festival on Sept. 4, 2010, at 1:30pm.  Can't wait!

JUNE 23, 2010 - P to the S, here is the link to our IMDb page, although anything you can find on it you can also find here.  Still, it's always fun to look yourself up on IMDb, no?:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1636763/

MAY 29, 2010 - Today we held a private screening of 'Drawing Underwater' for cast, crew, friends, and family.  We were able to hold it at the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks to our key grip and poster designer Tim Weidelman, who works there - score!  After seeing the film for months in tiny little Quicktime and Final Cut Pro windows, viewing it on a nice, big, fat, deluxe screen was a treat.  Even cooler, however, was seeing the lovely and amazing cast and crew again.   With this premiere screening, we collectively breathed a sigh of accomplishment and put a pin in this project.  Then Josh, his girlfriend, and I went back to his apartment, popped open champagne, and watched reruns of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Success!

APRIL 22, 2010 - Today's Earth Day!

APRIL 12, 2010 -  Josh and I began writing the script for 'Drawing Underwater' 7 months ago.  Working from a short story written by Josh, we hammered out the first draft over a period of two days and spent the next month in revisions.  One of the challenges revolved around the main character Mark.  In the original story, he's the first-person narrator, so much of the tension stems from his feelings of anxiety in any given situation. (For example: "I kept pushing myself up on my palms because the seat felt like it was dropping through the floor of the car, and I could only sort of see out the windows, and I hated that feeling, like being a little kid.")

How were we to translate something so internal to a visual medium?  We would have to pay careful attention to the concision of dialogue, as well as recalibrate scenes to make them more external and image-driven. But most of all we realized that this story as a short film would live or die by the performances of whomever we cast.  If the actors couldn't telegraph the hidden emotions of their characters to the audience, the story would deflate on arrival.  We were lucky - doubly lucky - to have found Kelley Minneci and Andrew Knight, two actors who understood that a split-second reaction on film can equal pages of prose.

APRIL 6, 2010 - Check out the movie poster:

Designed by Tim Weidelman.  Our co-producer Seth Alexander came up with the tagline.

MARCH 18, 2010 - We're still almost done with post! Just wrapping up a few sound and music issues and then it's time to send our little infant film off into the big bad world of festivals and programmers.   Our sound designer Matt Relstab has constructed what we believe to be a crisp and sophisticated soundtrack, and Geoff Shell is bringing it with his evocative, understated music.  Go team!

MARCH 4, 2010 - We're almost done with post!

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10:54 PM

"Masquerade" by Josh Rosen & Geoff Shell
"Ancestors" by Raise High the Roof Beam
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10:53 PM

an OFF THE PAGE production


produced, written, directed by


KELLEY MINNECI as 'Cynthia Palmer'
ANDREW KNIGHT as 'Mark Porter'

LISA LENNINGTON as 'hair drive girl'

DAN PORST as 'Uncle Tony'

DEBORAH LYNN as 'Mark's mother'

MELANIE FERGUSON as 'Cynthia's mother'

BRYAN HARRIS as 'Mark's cousin'

JULIA BORCHERTS as 'Mrs. O'Connor'

COURTNEY JONES as 'debate opponent'

MICHAEL PEREZ as 'Mark's father'

JIM ALLETTO as 'man at lake'


AMANDA CLIFFORD - director of photography


TIM WEIDELMAN - key grip / poster design

LORELEI GAGNON - makeup effects

MARGARET RATLIFF - camera assistant

SETH ALEXANDER - co-producer

C.J. ARELLANO - editor

JOSH ROSEN - songwriter / vocalist
GEOFF SHELL - songwriter / original score composer 

production assistants
KATE KNIBBS (not pictured)

original art 

additional music by

(c) 2010

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10:53 PM


('Mark Porter')

Andrew Knight is very pleased to make his film debut in "Drawing Underwater." He recently finished filming his first feature length movie, The Ah of Life, which will be released this fall.  Before moving to Chicago, he spent a season with the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, where he appeared in The Merchant of Venice (Lorenzo), Much Ado About Nothing (Balthasar), a new musical adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit (The Boy), and Kiss Me, Kate (Nathaniel/Ensemble).  Other credits include work with ShawChicago, the National New Play Network Showcase, McLeod Summer Playhouse, and Great Plains Theatre.  He is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. 

('Cynthia Palmer')

Kelley Minneci is a Chicago girl, born and bred.  She attended St. Andrew School on the north-side and graduated as valedictorian from Good Counsel High School.  In high school, Kelley joined the (former) Steppenwolf Theater Cross-town Teen Ensemble. She also appeared on several episodes of the ABC sitcom “What About Joan” alongside Joan Cusack. 

She then ventured to NYC to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received a B.F.A. in drama, studying at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School and StoneStreet Film and TV Studios, with minors in applied theater and sociology.  Kelley also spent a semester at NYU in London soaking up some of the best theater she has ever seen!  

“Reality Check,” a pilot in which she co–starred in, was an official selection at the Chicago Pilot Comedy Fest and the Los Angeles ITV Fest.  “Stay With Me,” a Columbia College graduate film Kelley starred in, recently screened at the Dixie Film Fest and the Macon Film Fest.  Other notable film work includes features “In Memoriam” (ConeArts), “Sketch” (Mindlight Films), “Coopersville” (William & James Motion Pictures), and “Hag” (BYOB Productions).  Commercial/industrial work includes The Closet Factory, Adele Dallas Orr Boutique, Senario, Fantasy Diamonds, and the National Safety Council.

Kelley can also be seen throughout the city on stage.  Chicago theater credits include “Living Quarters” (Strangeloop Theatre), “Stunt”, “Kiss”, “Unnamed Time Play”, “78” (the side project), “Summer Re-runs” (ARFTCO), “The Birthday Paradox” (Point of Contention), “Little Women” (Bog Theatre) and readings of “Beautiful Broken” (Chicago Dramatists) and “Eastland Secrets” (Writer’s Bloc).

In her spare time, Kelley enjoys spending time with her wonderful husband and dog, going to Cubs games, reading, and baking.

('Cynthia's mother')

Melanie has appeared in student films for both Columbia College and Northwestern University. She has studied acting at  the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston and is a member of the Junior Board of Lookingglass Theatre. She has also worked with Stanley Tucci, Vince Vaughn, and has appeared on the NBC-TV drama series ER, directed by Northwestern alum Laura Innes. Her next project is appearing in Ludicrous Theatre's production of Phaedra's Love.

('Mrs. O'Connor')

Julia Borcherts is a local writer-performer with featured appearances in 2009 at 2nd Story, Orange Alert, The Parlor Reading Series, Second City/Third Person, Quimby’s Bookstore, Victory Gardens Theater’s “Fresh Squeezed” series and Literary Gangs of Chicago.  She is the co-founder and co-host of both Reading Under the Influence and Nerds at Heart; is a frequent contributor to Metromix/RedEye and Time Out Chicago; and teaches fiction writing workshops at Columbia College Chicago. This past year, she has published stories in and on Criminal Class Review, freshyarn.comSin: A Deadly Anthology” and “Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year,” the last of which earned her a nomination for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.


(producer, writer, director)

C.J. Arellano is a writer and filmmaker from Chicago. He has created film and video for Second City, the Joffrey Ballet, The National Science Foundation, Sears, Intel, Yelp, and more. His writing work has been published in Newcity Chicago, Word Riot, Edge New York, and the San Luis-Obispo Times.  He was thrilled when "Parasitic," a short horror film he wrote and co-directed with Josh Alletto, won the jury selection for 1st Prize at the Chicago Filmmakers' Citywide Film Showcase.  He aims to create stories at the doorway between what is and what could be.  Learn more at www.CJarellano.com.

(producer, writer, director)

Josh Alletto promised to write a bio.

(director of photography)

While Amanda has made socially conscious documentary the main focus of her career as a cinematographer, her penchant for telling great fictional stories has never waned.  In her five years working in the field, she has gained a wealth of technical and artistic experience shooting commercials, feature documentary films, and music videos in addition to her excursions into the world of narrative filmmaking.

Amanda is an adventurist with an insatiable need to travel and an ongoing mission to somehow save the world.  She strives to enlighten her community with the images she captures while documenting the controversial, ecological, and social events and happenings from afar and inspire others to start their journey.

Feature film credits include Mass Romantic, which has screened at festivals worldwide, and A Message from the East, which had its world premiere at Mammoth Festival 2009.  Her photography has been featured in Jettison Quarterly, Auto Trader Classics, and the Chicago Tribune.  Her work can be seen at the following online locations:

(sound design)

Matt Relstab is a sound engineer who has worked on albums, audio books, short films, and at live venues.  He's also a musician, photographer, and general shenanigan-ist.
Portfolio website: www.mattrelstab.com

(original music)

Geoff Shell is a composer and performer from Chicago.  He's written music for numerous features, short films, theater, software, and advertising.  He contributes widely to music education as both a clinician and composer, and his concert music has been internationally performed.  As a bassist, he has toured the country with Chicago Afrobeat Project and The Hue.  He supports local singer/songwriters as both a performer and producer, and he regularly plays with a heavy rotation of jazz, funk, and rock musicians in The Liquid Beat Allstars.  When not focused on music, he's an avid photographer and writer who enjoys discovering art in the unlikeliest of places.

(original art)

Aireen Arellano is a freelance art director creating branding in rich media, print and packaging design under the guise of Aerial Ardour. Her partial client list includes: Wrigley, Jimmy John’s, VeeV Açaí Spirit, Coors, Southern Comfort, and Radio Flyer. In a competitive world of consumer advertising where the message can easily overpower the integrity of design, she fights for the freedom and love of design. When she’s not working, she’s a foodie that eats anywhere and everywhere with her fiance, Jeff, burns those calories with long distance running, cuddles with her Boston terrier and dachshund (Angel and Max – her “office mascots”), plays tennis, bakes (and eats!) cupcakes, and travels.

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Production Photos

10:52 PM

View 'Drawing Underwater' production photos here!

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'Drawing Underwater'

is a 12-minute drama about a girl in mourning who tries to befriend her antisocial classmate.

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