What it’s about
The Catastrophe is the latest movie by Michael Glover Smith, a Chicago-based independent writer/director and film studies instructor. A surreal, darkly comic but ultimately deeply serious work, this 15 minute short film uses Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe from 1837 as a loose framework inside of which the filmmakers paint an incisive portrait of the modern world.
The Catastrophe reunites Smith with many of the talent from his previous award-winning short At Last, Okemah! (www.atlastokemah.com), including producer Clayton Monical and actors Mia Park, Hector Reyes, George Christopher, Duane Sharp, D.J. Collins and Suzy Brack. Joining this team for the first time is exciting talent like lead actress Marla Seidell and lead actor Peyton Myrick, an accomplished North Carolina-based theatrical actor.
Consciously crafted to be a multi-layered experience, The Catastrophe seeks to function as both a universal, intensely relatable statement on the human condition as well as a trenchant political allegory for American relations with the Middle East in the post-Arab Spring. Click here for a full plot synopsis: Catastrophe Synopsis
One of the The Catastrophe‘s most impressive aspects is the way its climactic dream sequence is scored to Bob Dylan’s apocalyptic song “Ain’t Talkin’.” Dylan, known for his reticence when it comes to licensing music, not only granted permission for the song to be used in the film but did so for a discounted rate. This was quite a coup for a low budget independent film production made by a relatively unknown director.
For a short film The Catastrophe also features an incredibly varied array of locations in Chicago and its surrounding environs. These range from the historic, architecturally stunning Up Down Tobacco shop (founded in 1962) in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood to the infamous Rand Manor Motel in nearby Des Plaines, which prides itself on being the “Home of the Original Happy Nap” and rents out rooms in four hour blocks of time. Capturing these locations was ace cinematographer Justin Cameron who shot the film in high definition on the Panasonic AG-AF100 camera.
The Catastrophe will have its world premiere at the Illinois International Film Festival on November 19, 2011.