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Producer / Director
At the age of six, Robert Alaniz had already begun to draw pictures and cartoon characters.
By the time this native of Blue Island, Illinois reached Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, his name was already engraved on numerous plaques and awards honoring outstanding artwork.
At that time, Alaniz wished to be a commercial artist; however, this aspiration faded when a teacher challenged him to participate in the school's production of Auntie Mame.
Fortunately for today's independent film fans, one of the student-actors bowed out just weeks before opening night, thus creating an opportunity for Robert to recognize his true calling.
Knowing nothing about drama, he met the challenge and became fascinated with the theater. When school closed for the 1972 summer break, Robert organized his own drama group, the Calumet Park Players, in the community where he lived. For the original plays he wrote, Robert casted friends, neighbors, and a few willing strangers.
During his senior year, Robert acted in two school plays: Neil Simon's Plaza Suite and William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Over the next few years, Alaniz continued writing and directing his own plays and productions, which soon numbered about two dozen.
As a student at Moraine Valley Community College, Robert acted in another production of Plaza Suite, this time playing a different role in the three-act trilogy. There, he took a Film Appreciation class, which inspired him to leap from theater to film. His first effort, Of One's Own Will (shot on Super 8 Sound film), earned him the top grade in his class.
After college, Robert took a job at WGN-TV in Chicago. Meanwhile, his movie projects continued as his love for filmmaking grew stronger – as did his productions, in both substance and length. When asked once why he didn't make shorter films, he replied: "I can't think that small. The stories I tell take time."
In 1982, after completing Barrymore's Dream, his ninth film, the cold, hard, financial truth of filmmaking dealt Robert a setback. The expenses and resources required to properly produce and promote new films became more and more unobtainable.
It seemed his passion and love for making movies might be an impossible dream. So, as dreamers often do, he set aside his creative passion to focus on real life: marriage; business; home; etc.
That all changed in 2003, when a second chance at filmmaking came from local supporters in his hometown of Frankfort. This group believes it is never too late in life to follow your dreams. As a result, Timeserver, Robert's first film in over 20 years, premiered in Joliet at the historic Rialto Square Theater to a larger-than-expected audience of over 1,000.
Recalling that night, Robert says: "It is a moment in my life, I will never forget. Though not the first time a filmmaker in this area premiered their movie in a theater, we pulled it off with a crew made up of a handful of volunteers, and funds that gave deeper meaning to the term low budget."
Robert's second film in 2005, Barrymore's Dream, is an updated remake of a high school class project.
What began as a short story, written by Alaniz as a class assignment in the '70s, morphed several times into what would be its final incarnation.
"I learned a lot during the making of Timeserver," Robert says, "and I knew the time had come to take that knowledge to the next level."
Barrymore's Dream premiered at the Marcus Theatres in Orland Park, November 11, 2005. It was the first Alaniz film to be available on DVD.
In September 2007, Barrymore’s Dream won in the BEST FEATURE FILM category at the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield, Ill.
His most recent film project, Bitterblue, represented a real change of pace for Robert, who wanted to do something completely different.
"I had this story floating around in my head for many years about a boy who suddenly loses his parents. Because of this tragedy, he distances himself from everyone, leading those who know him to think something is psychologically wrong with him," explains Robert.
"By hearing that assessment so often, he soon begins to believe he really is mentally disabled. Thankfully, through his friendship with an intellectual and curious girl, he eventually sees himself in a different light and comes to terms with the loss of his parents."
Bitterblue, Sole Productions' first family film and a story with a very positive message, completed production in October 2006 and became his second film to be available on DVD.
At the end of the Bitterblue production, Robert was pretty sure that his filmmaking days had come to an end. The Bitterblue production was extremely difficult and took a toll on his health.
But spite all this, Bitterblue had a wide audience appeal and was a local success, getting coverage from FOX NEWS in Chicago, who did a prime-time feature story on the film.
This in turn, got attention from local investors interested in Robert’s next project, should there be one.
He had an idea in his head for a follow-up story to Barrymore’s Dream, when people who saw the film constantly asked him about the ending that unintentionally left it open for a sequel. He and the young actress in the film, Samantha Kuebler would joke constantly about a second movie, calling it Barrymore’s Dream 2 – Ellie’s Revenge.
"Actually, I love sequels", says Robert. "As a writer, it’s a real challenge to come up with story that continues what was started in the original, but can stand on it’s own without relying too much on the first one. As a director, it’s a challenge to try and do everything you did before, except better.”
So, Robert decided to make his next film in the style of his favorite directors, Brian DePalma and John Carpenter. Even putting his name above the film’s title.
The official title is Robert Alaniz’s THE VISION for two reasons, he says. One, because it’s a homage to film titles from the 70’s and 80’s like John Carpenter’s The Thing or Brian DePalma’s Dressed To Kill and second, because there’s several films with the same title and it needed distinction.”
Robert is presently working on THE VISION with hopes for national distribution.
He lives in Frankfort, Illinois with his wife Carol and two cats, Peanut and Snowy.
Jerry Osborne - 2008
Max Nayden - Max’s previous movie experience was as part of the production crew of Sole Productions’ second film, Barrymore’s Dream. Max, who is a physical therapist by trade, also acted as medical advisor for the film working with the actors whose characters had a physical disability or scenes that involved a character that gets injured. When the decision was made to make a follow-up film to Barrymore’s Dream, Max wanted to play a bigger role in the production. His faith in Director Robert Alaniz’s talent and dedication to professionalism inspired him to become one of the film’s main producers. Max lives in Frankfort, Illinois with his wife, Irit and two daughters.
Dave Branigan - Mr. Branigan is no stranger to Sole Productions. He auditioned for and played a small part in Robert Alaniz’s first film Timeserver. His physical appearance got him a bigger role in Alaniz’s next film Barrymore’s Dream where he portrayed the wealthy industrialist Randall Thomas (a role that he repeats in Robert Alaniz’s THE VISION). When asked to join the cast of THE VISION, Dave insisted on becoming a producer once again (as he had done previously in Barrymore’s Dream). Dave is an active member of local theatre productions in and around the Palos Park area where he lives with his wife.
Jodi London - Jodi is an aspiring actress with several years of experience, who has acted in all of Director Robert Alaniz previous films. Her biggest roles being that of Kelly Wells, the handicapped optimist of Alaniz’s Timeserver and Angel Thomas, the mysterious femme fatale of Barrymore’s Dream. When approached to reprise the role of Angel, Jodi said, "THE VISION ties together all the successful components of Robert’s previous films. My belief in his polished development as a Director/Producer has motivated me to become a producer of this film. I am very excited about working with the seasoned cast and crew together again as a team of focused and creative professionals.
Dave Mateyka - Dave has known Robert for more than 25 years. Their mutual love for films and filmmaking has spawned a collaboration between the two friends that has resulted in four films in which Dave and Robert served as producers. "Dave was the first person I turned to for financing when I decided to make Timeserver in 2003", says Alaniz. "Dave immediately jumped on the opportunity and we’ve been a team ever since." THE VISION is the fourth film that Dave is serving as a co-producer. Dave lives in Oswego, Illinois with his wife and four children.
Doug Adams - Music Composer
Doug Adams is a Chicago-based musician/writer with roots in both classical and contemporary music, and is considered one of film music's leading advocates.
For the past decade Adams has worked alongside composers such as Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings), Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven), Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands), Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption), Elliot Goldenthal (Interview With the Vampire), Quincy Jones (In the Heat of the Night), Don Davis (The Matrix), and many others. Adams is currently completing the book, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, the official guide to Howard Shore's 12-hour musical score for Peter Jackson's films, which will be released at Radio City Music Hall in October, 2009. Of the project, Howard Shore states, "I have been reading Mr. Adams' articles and essays on film music for years. His writing on the subject is intelligent, accessible and insightful. His work is tremendously respected within the film community and he is the perfect author for this book."
In the next year Adams will produce The Lord of the Rings: The Rarities Archives, a CD box-set of Howard Shore's unused music, and will begin work on a follow-up book, The Music of The Hobbit Films.
Adams also keeps a busy schedule as a performing musician, a writer, a composer/arranger and a public speaker. Recent appearances include Robert DeNiro's Tribeca Film Festival and lectures in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Toronto, Switzerland.
Recent compositions include music for NBC Television's "Starting Over" and Robert Alaniz's Bitterblue.
Adams is thrilled to be involved with The Vision, his second project with Robert Alaniz. "Robert and I are both enormous fans of the 1970s psychological dramas of Brian De Palma and his contemporaries. I hope our little homage sends the same chills down audiences' spines!"
Director of Photography / Assistant Director
Jessica Styzinski first became familiar with filmmaking when she played small roles in Sole Productions’ previous films Timeserver and Barrymore’s Dream. It was in 2006 that she started working behind-the-scenes in Bitterblue as the Assistant Director and camera operator.
Once again repeating her role as Assistant Director in Robert Alaniz’s The Vision, it was her understanding of visual composition and her skill behind the camera that made her the obvious choice for Director of Photography as well, which has its challenges. But Jessica is no stranger to a challenge.
Jessica started working on Bitterblue after the production had already begun. This time it has been exciting for her to encounter the full filmmaking experience. As Assistant Director, she has a lot of fun working close with Robert Alaniz, making contributions to the directing of the cast. The fact that she gets to show her own individual creative side with the camera has also given her a new, exciting experience.
The filming of The Vision has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. Jessica and Robert have encountered the usual difficulties, but nothing they could not handle. Together, Robert and Jessica make an unstoppable creative team.
The movie’s tagline says, "Fear the Future." But for Robert and Jessica, they have nothing but high hopes for the future. And Jessica is excited to see what the future has in store for The Vision.
Casting Director /
A recent Columbia College Chicago, Illinois graduate, Marie Berner joined the film and video department student body in September 2005. Throughout her coursework at Columbia, Berner has written, directed and edited a number of short films in addition to assisting on outside projects.
More recently, Berner cast a psychological horror test sequence film, The Undying, produced by Taylor Street Productions, LLC from June to July of 2007. In addition, she cast a short independent film, Anatomy of Numbers, in July of 2007. From December 2006 to February 2007, Berner interned as a casting assistant for Warner Brothers' Fred Claus, starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti.
Marie believes film has the power to move people emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, making it one of the most powerful media in the world. In her eyes, participating in such a medium is not only a career choice but an honor.
Yasmeen Haleem is a Film and Video major at Columbia College in Chicago Illinois.
An acquaintance of actor Gary Gow, Yasmeen was introduced to Director Robert Alaniz after Gow agreed to work on Alaniz's film THE VISION. Yasmeen joined the film crew during pre-production bringing her technical knowledge of sound and a thriving interest in working behind-the-scenes of a film production. Her skill as a sound tech and boom operator has resulted in her becoming one of the films most valuable crewmembers.
Yasmeen is confident that her experience working on Robert Alaniz's THE VISION will serve as a rewarding credit in her pursuit of a career in film.
Chief Lighting Technician
Ian Krakowski joined the production crew of Robert Alaniz's THE VISION during filming. With aspirations of someday working in the film industry, Ian took on the challenging task of Chief Lighting Technician consistently meeting the challenges of the job's demanding process.
Ian presently resides in Chicago, Illinois but will soon be moving to Los Angeles, California.
Key Grip - Nick Kozlowski
Nick Kozlowski was introduced to Director Robert Alaniz and his films when he auditioned for a role in Alaniz's 2006 movie Bitterblue. Although he was not cast in the film, Nick offered his services as a crewmember in the production.
Nick was a production assistant to Director Laura Klein on her short film, The Falling of the Bright working with other students from Columbia College of Chicago. Nick was grateful to have worked as Key Grip on his second film with Director Robert Alaniz.
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