Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ohio Filmmaker Gears Up for Worst.Christmas.Ever

The Mahoning Valley Film Initiative, a collective of filmmakers in northeast Ohio, has their sights set on subversive Christmas tale.

Written and to-be-directed by John Chechitelli, Worst.Christmas.Ever takes place on Christmas Eve and follows the plight of Sophia, a teenager for whom the Ho! Ho! Ho! season gives way to Oh No! No! No! when she learns she is pregnant. The project has hit a fundraising target of $7,500 on Seed & Spark and is aiming to crack the top ten of "Hometown Heroes," a special competition with a final deadline of October 13th. The ten highest-voted films will get the opportunity to pitch the Duplass brothers and the winner will gain the Hollywood pair as producers.

Per a report on, Chechitelli and co. are hosting a fundraising event tonight at The Federal in Youngstown. Admission is $10, and the filmmaker's previous effort, Youngstown: Still Standing, will be shown. The 2010 feature documentary was co-produced by Chechitelli with boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, who also appears in the film.

Seed & Spark's "Hometown Heroes" competition is full of worthy projects. Films are ranked based on their number of online followers, and at press time, one of the leading entries is also Ohio-inspired. Brock Yurich's feature film drama Test is about a young bodybuilder with a strict mother. From the project notes:

I competed in my first bodybuilding show when I was 20, and I won first place in the Middle Weight division. I lost terribly in the overall division, but that's a story for another time.
During my time competing, I met some of the most dedicated and determined men and women. In film, bodybuilders are a punchline. They're portrayed as big, clunky, neanderthal-types. But behind the stereotype is a vast world of intricate science, physically-demanding training and more self-discipline than most can understand.
However, my personal battle with steroid abuse is what prompted me to write Test. I was addicted, and over the course of a couple years I lost a couple friends who were addicted as well, due to heart failure

Yurich, who is based in New York, grew up in Ohio and attended college in Florida. Both Test and Worst.Christmas.Ever will be shot in The Buckeye State.

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