Timothy Voelker

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“It took every last person working on this project to bring it to life,” says director Timothy Voelker about his directorial debut “Separate Checks”. The comedy short film from Scotchworthy Productions began production last fall and premiered in May 2013 at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles. Since its inception in 2005, the company has prided itself on high production values and unique stories.

Following the success of their award winning Nazi Zombie short film ‘A Chance In Hell’ in 2010, the company set its sights on diversifying their content and reaching new audiences. The resulting years have led to the assembly of a team of artists whose continued collaboration have pushed the boundaries of Chicagoland’s independent film scene.

And this past year has been no exception. Before “Separate Checks” even cleared development, Scotchworthy was wrapping their segment of an anthology feature length horror film entitled “Chop Shop” and beginning pre-production for another feature length motion picture entitled “High on the Hog” starring Sid Haig.

The film, a comedy short, stars a spectacular ensemble cast of local indie stars including Dan Berg, North Roberts, Darren Marlar, and Leigh Rose. The story follows its hero Dan, an average twenty something college graduate who is living at home and working at a local chain restaurant while he searches for a “real” job.

After sleeping past his phone alarm, the day quickly and hilariously unravels all the reasons why he has to break free of the food service industry. That is of course if the food service industry doesn’t break him first!

“This was more or less my directorial debut…comedies are tough, especially when working with as large an ensemble as we did,” Voelker recalls. “In fact, I remember one of the things our DP [Director of Photography] said when I was first getting to know him…He said he wasn’t very interested in working on comedies.”

This genre was to be a first from Scotchworthy, which had produced predominantly horror or other effects driven pictures in the past. So naturally, there was some hand ringing the day or two while Voelker awaited the green light. “I was so worried that the people I’d passed it off to would be skeptical of the genre or tell me the characters weren’t relateable, but…everyone was very enthusiastic and supportive.” And so, provided he could finance the film, “Separate Checks” could begin its journey from script to screen.

So Voelker, along with a tight knit crew including production designer Amy Furrow, worked diligently imaging the layout and design for every scene and shot. Day after day, he and available production staff cleaned, dressed, and prepped the masive restaurant location for the shoot.

“I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time in that building,” recounts Amanda Eastman, assitant production manager. The cast and crew took the last two weekends in September 2012 shooting the film. “You’re always going to be a bit nervous going into a shoot…but, and I feel very blessed, the people who were involved really just help set this production apart in the best of ways,” says Voelker.

And so now, following the world premiere this past spring, Scotchworthy is submitting to film festivals as Voelker sets his sights on his next film project. “Everyone who worked on this film is excited to get the word out there and see what wider audiences think of it. And while I’m definitely looking forward to our film festival run, I’m gearing up for my next project.” Which as I’m sure you can imagine, means that nothing has even come close to slowing down for this one of a kind indie filmmaker’s alliance!

-Timothy Voelker

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