Brian Newman didn't set out to be a movie producer but the 20-year-old Granite City native will get to see his name in lights later this month when a short film he produced opens.
Newman's film, "To Inflict," a 25-minute film, opens Jan. 19 for its premiere at the Granite City Cinema on Niedringhaus Avenue.
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student drew on his hometown and neighboring Pontoon Beach to provide some of the movie's backdrops as its characters navigate the causes and consequences of "road rage."
The film is already slated for submission to film festivals locally and internationally, said the other producer, Bryan Kreutz, 35, of St. Louis, who has produced radio shows in St. Louis and worked as a producer for the Christian Television Network. The film's makers will submit it to the St. Louis International Film Festival, Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield as well as festivals in Chicago, Boston, Indianapolis, Germany and Russia.
Production began Oct. 30, 2012, and the film is currently in its post-production and final editing phase.
"It really evolved into a film very quickly," Kreutz said. "We try to capture a real-life situation. I'd say everyone can relate to road rage." The film, he said, examines "the rhyme and a reason to road rage."
The filmmakers shot on location throughout the St. Louis Metro area, from rural St. Charles County in Missouri to apartment complexes in Pontoon Beach.
Granite City and Pontoon Beach were attractive, they said, because of Newman's ties to the area and the part the towns' landscapes could play in creating a suburban, small-town feel.
Newman, who is studying criminal justice, said his passion is acting. After working with Kreutz and Liz Wiegard, a recent Webster University graduate on a different film, Newman and Kreutz decided to collaborate on a new project.
"We were talking to each other," said Newman, who uses the screen name Brayden Patterson. "I brought up the idea and I said, 'Bryan, let's make our own film.'" The pair began "spit-balling ideas" and came up with a story about road rage and bullying.
Eventually, they brought Wiegard, 22, of Arnold, Mo., on board.
"It was kind of a run and gun operation," Wiegard said. "We all became pretty close, pretty tight. Friends helping friends."
She developed their film idea into a screen play and took over its direction. Newman and Kreutz took on the role of getting the production off the ground.
"It's really different," Newman said, comparing acting and producing. "I'm not really a fan of producing because it's not a lot of work most people want to do."
That work included scheduling crew and actors to be on-set, finding locations and securing product placements from Dunkin Donuts, Hills Brothers Coffee and IBM. A Kickstarter campaign netted $800 of the $2,500 film budget.
"I've seen bits and pieces throughout my acting career but going through it as a producer was a very different experience," Newman said. "It makes you nervous at times and afraid that you're not going to have enough to make the film as good as you want it to be, to make it all as professional as it can be."
Newman's Granite City background came in handy finding a place to open the film as well. Newman works at the cinema's concession stand and approached the theater about showing the movie, said theater manager Lenny Mann. The opening is a first-of-its-kind event for the cinema.
"I naturally said 'Yes,'" Mann said. "We can sure do it. It (the theater) hasn't done anything quite like this."