Podtalk: Jerry Vasilatos Presents ‘Solstice’ at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Dec. 18, 2018

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CHICAGO – In a bit of a Christmas miracle, a film that was shot in Chicago in the early 1990s will see the light of screen again in the same theater – the historic Music Box Theatre – where a key scene was filmed. Writer/Director Jerry Vasilatos presents the 25th Anniversary restoration of his holiday film “Solstice” on December 18th, 2018, with a post screening Q&A moderated by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com. For details and ticket info, click here.

“Solstice” involves a Chicago man named Nick (Michael Kelley), who is facing a number of transitions on Christmas Eve. He has just broken up with his girlfriend Kristine (Mary McCloud) and he feels his dreams of becoming a filmmaker slipping away. Distraught and somewhat lonely, he walks the streets of a pre-gentrified Chicago – making a stop at the Music Box Theatre during their Christmas double feature singalong – and gradually finds moments of solace along the way. This simple and enlightening story captures the spirit of the holiday though one soul, who is searching for something he didn’t realize he needed to discover.

1990s Flashback: Writer/Director Jerry Vasilatos (center), Mary McCloud and Michael Kelley of ‘Solstice’
Photo credit: SolsticeMovie.com

The film has had many lives to this point of the 25th Anniversary restoration. Writer/director Jerry Vasilatos bankrolled the film with a settlement from an accident in which he lost his leg. It was initially shown on the Lifetime Network in 1994, and has had a number of releases on DVD. But it wasn’t until the last couple years that Vasilatos decided to transfer the original 16mm film stock into a digital format, which was then painstakingly restored frame-by-frame, and given a new soundtrack by Hungarian composer Balint Sapszon.

The result of the restoration will be premiered at the Music Box Theatre, with appearances by Jerry Vasilatos, Director of Photography John O’Shaughnessy, Unit Production Manager Mary Mitchell and two actors in the film, Edward Pinkowski and Christina Ballester. A holiday singalong will be led by Music Box Theatre organist Dennis Scott, who also made an appearance in the original film. The screening is also collecting for the Marine Corp “Toys For Tots” charity, and asks attendees to donate an unwrapped toy for holiday distribution.

In Part One of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, writer/director Jerry Vasilatos talks about the initial 1990s origin of “Solstice” and the details of the 25th Anniversary restoration.

In Part Two, Jerry talks about the challenges of filmmaking then versus now, and the spiritual elements of the film, one week before Christmas.

The 25th Anniversary Restoration of “Solstice” will screen on December 18th, 2018 (7:30p), at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport Avenue in Chicago. Writer/director Jerry Vasilatos will appear on behalf of the film, with actors and crew from the original 1993 production. Featuring Michael Kelley, Mary McCloud, Edward Pinkowski and Christina Ballester. Written and directed by Jerry Vasilatos. Not Rated.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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