Lumberyard Productions’ Thomas Stelter, Alek Petrovic and Eric Nordness. Their feature premieres at the Biograph April 25.
Local Lumberyard Productions is taking a page out of feature producers Jeff Daniels and Bob Brown’s book by self-distributing its feature to theatres and building up momentum for video and cable as the main revenue sources.
Their movie, “Now You Know,” marking the directorial debut of writer/actor Jeff Anderson (“Clerks”), plays in Chicago April 25 at the Biograph.
The made-in-L.A. movie comes here after playing Crown Theaters in New York and Minneapolis. It may go on to Phoenix, home of one the film’s investors.
The romantic comedy stars Jeremy Sisto (“Six Feet Under”) and Rashida Jones (“Boston Public”) as a couple who call off their Las Vegas wedding at the last minute and return home to New Jersey to sort out their relationship. “Clerks” director Kevin Smith also makes an appearance.
“The theatrical run is, for the most part, a marketing campaign, unless you’ve got a franchise like ?Lord of the Rings’ driving box office,” said Lumberyard partner Eric Nordness.
“When we told distributors at the American Film Market in February that we had theatrical, that differentiated us from 90% of the films out there. We’ve got great reviews from the cities we played in. The advance publicity got distributors interested.”
Lumberyard is sorting through a variety of offers from cable outlets and video distributors, Nordness said.
Nordness and partners Thomas Stelter and Alek Petrovic raised the budget of “just under a million dollars” from a handful of private investors. “Now You Know” was the partners’ first foray into film production after careers in finance and technology.
The Libertyville High School friends entered the film industry with an abortive attempt at writing their own script, drawing from their business experiences. Struggling with the creative process, they met Anderson while courting screenwriters to complete the script for them. Anderson convinced them to produce his script instead.
“We went from failed writers to producers,” Nordness said.
Lumberyard is developing another Jeremy Sisto project, an adaptation of the David Foster Wallace novel “Hideous Men.” They’re in talks about a few projects with indy icon Chris Gore. And they’ll be scouting Midwestern locations in April for a film by Northwestern University alum Dave Wendell.
Lumberyard recently branched into offering business development services for other young production companies. “We approach things more from a business perspective rather than a creative perspective,” Nordness said.