Feature Film - Gray in Black & White
Life is a Dream Productions

SCREEN SCENE: Chopin Theatre the set for an existential tavern - Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune 9/5/08

08/22/08 - 08/22/08


SCREEN SCENE: Chopin Theatre the set for an existential tavern - Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune 9/5/08

'There's no destiny," says the bartender. "Nothing is predetermined. ... We're like actors on a stage. Whatever happens, happens ..."

"Cut!" says director I. Michael Toth, a moment later, as the scene winds down.

Here, the lavishly decorated bohemian basement of the Chopin Theatre doubles as a bar in "Gray in White and Black," an existential drama that recently wrapped production in Chicago.

"Not to be too weird, but I had a dream about this [story]," says Toth between takes. Toth is expanding his award-winning 2005 short "Cast in Gray" into the feature "Gray in White and Black," a series of three interlocking stories springing from one man's (played by Timothy Burke) choice to swap identities with a hitchhiker (Stephen Angus).

"It's about multiple choices in life and in art," says Toth, a documentarian and maker of short films, with credits in television and industrial production. Toth, a native of the former Yugoslavia, immigrated to the U.S. in 1987. He has lived in Skokie since 1989.

"Why did I come? That's a long story," Toth says. "At that time, the political situation was not so good—there was censorship ... other reasons."

He adds, laughing: "The ticket [to the U.S.] was also the cheapest ticket."

With producing partner Christopher Gentry, Toth founded Life Is a Dream Productions in 2000 to fuel their feature ambitions.

"I've hitched my wagon to his star," says Gentry. "He's the real deal."

Gentry said the pair chose to expand the short film in lieu of developing Toth's other scripts because "we were tired of pitching and wanted to get on a set and show these people what he can do."

Starting next year, Toth and Gentry hope to do just that, after a planned exhibitor screening in Los Angeles and a run on the festival circuit.

"Gray in White and Black" was shot in Illinois in Macomb, Oak Brook, Richmond and Chicago's North Side neighborhoods.

For more info, visit gray whiteblackfilm.com

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Feature Film shot on location at Chopin Theatre, GRAY IN WHITE AND BLACK is based on the award-winning and critically acclaimed short film, Cast In Gray

GRAY IN WHITE AND BLACK explores the space in between life and death, a space we occupy without any knowledge of what will be the consequences of the choices we make. In this film, our main character, Tim, discovers that his life is an ambiguous place where the difference between what is “real” and what is “make-believe” disappears. GRAY IN WHITE AND BLACK is told in three separate, yet connected, stories. Cast In Gray comprises the first story of the film, continuing into the second story, Play Of White, and the third and final story of the film, More Like Black.

I Michael Toth

I Michael Toth


I. MICHAEL TOTH writer/director; CHRISTOPHER GENTRY producer; VICTOR FORYS executive producer; PREDRAG KONSTANTINOVIC executive producer; STEVE WEISS executive producer; RALPH LICHOSYT executive producer; KELLY JOHNSON co-producer; FRANK T. HERBERT co-producer; VANESSA HICKEY unit production manager; DANIEL RUCCI first assistant director; RATKO MOMCILOVIC second assistant director; SASHA RENDULIC cinematographer; SLOBODAN RADOVANOVIC production designer; TATJANA RADISIC costume designer; NATASHA DJUKIC costume designer; PATRICIA BARBER music composer; DIMITRY GOLEMOVIC music composer; THOMAS BEACH production sound; BARTEK SWIATEK/J.T. MUELLER additional production sound; KELLY JOHNSON location manager; and OTO EKRES still photography and videography

Tags: Film, New Europe, 2008