Chicago Screenwriters Network co-founder, Kenneth Mader’s theatrical feature directorial debut, Displacement, will finally find its place on the red carpet when it premieres in Los Angeles tonight at the Laemmle Monica Film Center as well as on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.
The film, which has enjoyed a great festival run, will then have a limited theatrical release opening at the Logan Theatre in Chicago on May 12 followed by a limited run in Dallas.
Starring The Bold and the Beautiful’s Courtney Hope, Superman I & II’s Sarah Douglas and X-men’s Bruce Davison, the mind-bending sci-fi thriller tells the story of a young physics student (played by Hope) who must find a way to reverse a deadly quantum time anomaly and solve the murder of her boyfriend while battling short-term memory loss and time slips caused by the event.
The premiere represents the culmination of a very personal journey for Mader which began with the death of his mother in 2009.
“When my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, she wanted to the see the ocean one last time and we planned to go the following week. But then she became too ill,” Mader explained. “That experience with my mom became the heart of Displacement’s story, and the inspiration that drove it. After my father passed away in 2012, it was then I got the final kick in the pants. You begin to think about your own mortality. I knew I had to jump off the cliff and get this made.”
So Mader, whose first film was the direct-to-video, Carnivore (2000), began the process of bringing the script to screen. He represents a growing number of filmmakers who, since the studio business model moved away from buying spec scripts, are making the films they want to make themselves. “I knew I needed to make a film that delivered at a high level, but could also be produced on an indie budget. Most of my previous scripts are… ambitious to say the least.”
With the screenplay nearly finished, Mader began to pique the interest of British actress, Douglas. “I first met Sarah at a science fiction convention. We were introduced by a mutual friend and I always had her in mind as Dr. Miles. And she loved the script.” However due to Douglas’ busy schedule, Mader found himself in the position of suddenly having to put together the film in a month during the winter of 2013. “Because Sarah was traveling back and forth from London, I had to mount this in a month. It was crazy.”
Hope, whom Mader has known since she was 15, quickly signed on to play Cassie Sinclair. Mader says that she was the first person who came to mind after Sarah was cast. “Courtney was already reading a book on Einstein when I sent her the script. She’s very smart, and really grasped the complexities of Quantum Physics and time travel in the story.” After signing on, Mader says they shot 10% of the film on the first day.
Although production began quickly, as is the case with many indie films, the project became a two and a half-year labor of love. Mader laughed, “Courtney had a great stylist who managed to keep her hair looking the same the entire time.” Mader explained the group shot weekends and basically “whenever it was possible.” Oscar nominee Davison and Golden Globe Winner Susan Blakely signed on during this period. Post took another few months before the film began its festival run in early 2016.
The film won Best Science Fiction Film and Best Supporting Actor for Davison in the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and the Chrononaut Time Travel Award in the Boston Science Fiction Festival.
“I Fire the Writer”
Mader, who wrote and directed Displacement, explained his process moving from in front of the laptop to behind the camera. “When I get on set I tend to fire myself as the writer.” Mader, a self-proclaimed fan of actors, allowed the talented group to embody the characters and let the story grow naturally. “As a writer/director I have to protect the story, but you also need to let go at some point and allow things to evolve organically. I would say the movie turned out superior to the original script because of that.”
Displacement premieres tonight and runs through May 4 at the Laemmle Monica, and then at the Logan Theater in Chicago May 12 through 18, with Mader in attendance and hosting a Q&A after the screening on Saturday May 13. Mader states that other cities will be added to the run. You can purchase tickets here. And view the exclusive Chicago trailer here.
Production companies: Maderfilm in association with Illumina Productions, Sunset Production Studios and Z-Ville Productions
Distributor: Arcadia Releasing Group
Cast: Courtney Hope, Susan Blakely, Bruce Davison, Sarah Douglas, Christopher Backus, Karan Oberoi, Lou Richards
Director-screenwriter: Kenneth Mader
Producers: Zander Villayne, Kenneth Mader
Executive producers: Brent Courtney, Angela Crates, John Crates, Lori Cruz, Carol Faltis, Sarah Carson, Cecile Cinco, Richard Folwarski, Lionel Hubbard, Kenneth Mader
Director of photography: Bill McClelland
Art director: Tiffany Smith
Editor: Kenneth Mader
Composer: Bruce Chianese
Casting: J. Howard Sable
LA-Based Colin Costello writes for film, TV, advertising and of course, Reel Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.