Notable Native: Mike Krumlauf

By Features Editor

Independent Chicago filmmaker and Edgewater resident Mike Krumlauf is making a coming-of-age film for the LGBTQ community and looking to Kickstarter, a crowdsourcing website, to raise $30,000 for his film project.

He wrote the first draft of his film “Written Images” in 2008 when he was a high school student living in Naperville, Illinois. Now 23, Krumlauf wants to bring his script to life. Strongly influenced by Chicago director John Hughes, who wrote many classic films of the ‘80s and ‘90s (“The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), this film focuses on two men with opposite qualities falling in love and finding themselves in the process. It will star Belgian actor Jelle Florizoone (“North Sea Texas”) and Michael Gertsen (“Joshua Tree”).

Krumlauf is best known for his experimental work, including the 2014 documentary “A Place to Call His Own” and his videos on Vimeo. From 2005–2007, Krumlauf received more than 1 million views on his 130 videos. “Written Images” is his first narrative film. Krumlauf is waiting until July 2015 to start filming, and the film is tentatively slated for a 2016 release.

The Chronicle spoke with Krumlauf about writing the film, the characters and how John Hughes inspired him.

THE CHRONICLE: Can you talk about the plot of “Written Images?”

MIKE KRUMLAF: “Written Images” is an experimental coming-of-age film that follows two guys in their early 20s who are basically, personality-wise, polar opposites, and it’s basically how these two forces that collide with each other, how they basically change their lives for better and for worse. I put two polar extremes of the gay community in a film together and see how they are able to get through obstacles and courses in their lives and be able to also grow and recognize certain faults in themselves that they might not have been not aware of.

What are the main differences between the characters?

[Steven], the character that Jelle Florizoone is playing, he’s introverted, closeted, doesn’t really have much [of] a focus in life, and he’s just moved from Europe to Chicago to study at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Nick, which is the other character that Michael Gertsen is playing, who’s from Denver, he’s very extroverted, very flamboyant, he just kind [of] grabs life by the balls and just lives every day as if it were his last. He’s got a problem with sex addiction, drug addiction. He’s also a photographer, so that’s kind of where his artistic merits are and where he’s focused and what gives his life meaning, [but] like any addict, he hides behind that stuff to avoid things that have happened in his past.

What inspired you to make this film?

Essentially, I wanted to make something that I knew I never saw done in Chicago, but also me being an extremely huge fan of Chicago filmmaker John Hughes, I wanted to make something that resonated with the respect that he had for his characters here in Chicago, and bring that not only in general, but especially for the gay community. I’d never seen a filmmaker, especially in Chicago, make this kind of honest story with gay characters. That was something I saw that there was an outlet for and nobody had really done it yet, and I wanted to kind of give my best effort toward it…. This would be my first jump into expressing what John Hughes has done for me creatively.

Who is this film for?

I think the biggest audience for this film would be people that feel misunderstood, who are getting out of the closet, who are trying to figure themselves out. I wished that I had a movie like this growing up. I had John’s movies, but they were more mainstream, they targeted everyone. The main point of “Written Images” is to give a piece of art to somebody who feels like there isn’t anything for them, where they can sit in a theater or in their house, wherever they see it, and can say, “That’s me.”