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Wheaton Alley Resembles Indian Slum for Movie Set

Cast and crew members filmed a scene for the faith-based musical film, Broken & Beautiful, in a downtown Wheaton alley on Tuesday.

A Warrenville native in a power suit acted as if he'd been transplanted to the slums of India when he looked at a dumpster and a Nike shoe hanging from a pipe in downtown Wheaton.

The Warrenville native, Peter Sipla, wasn't disgusted with Wheaton's alleyways, though. He had been hired to wear the suit and act that way for his part in the feature film Broken & Beautiful, which filmed in an alleyway behind on Tuesday. 

Glen Ellyn native Erin Dalian wrote the movie and is now directing and producing the film. Dalian, who works as the marketing and recruiting director for  in Palos Heights, has written 15 screenplays in the past seven years. 

Broken & Beautiful is a faith-based musical set in Chicago, and intertwines five story lines of members of the same church. According to the film's website, through the music of contemporary Christian artists, "the characters' dark secrets are exposed, despite their best efforts to cover their imperfections ... With themes of judgement and hypocrisy, forgiveness and unconditional love, Broken & Beautifuldeals head on with struggles facing today's Christians."

Dalian said that she really wanted to write a Christian musical, and that songs about people dealing with their problems gave her ideas for Broken & Beautiful—they were suited for the story she was looking to write. She said when she got the idea in August, it took her only three weeks to write the film. 

“The story is written completely around the music,” she said Tuesday. 

With the film in the tail end of shooting, Dalian said the filming experience has gone well. The team of cast and crew members has been shooting on location since early April, with scenes featuring Wrigley Field, Crestwood, Wheaton alleyways, Glen Ellyn and a restaurant called “Pilot Pete’s,” to resemble an Indian airport, at the Schaumburg Airport.

“It’s all on location … (a) small budget makes you get crafty, and pushes you a bit further," Dalian, who is paying for the film herself with few donations, said. "When you have limited resources, you stretch your resources."

Sipla graduated from  attended North Central College and now teaches a class at the Theatre School at DePaul University, while balancing roles in Broken & Beautiful and in the children's play, “A Year With Frog and Toad,” for the Cardinal Stage Company in Bloomington, IN. 

From the moment he spoke with Dalian about the film, Sipla said, "it sounded like a fun project—something I could sink my teeth into.

Shooting a movie in his old stomping grounds has been surreal, Sipla said. "It's the thing I love to do with where I've grown up."

Dalian said she hopes to be finished with shooting by Memorial Day. She said she hopes to be finished with post-production in time to enter film festivals in October. "It's looking really great," she said. "I'm excited about the footage we're getting ... we're getting the best ideas on the table and I'm excited about how it's all coming together."

Julie Farrell May 18, 2011 at 02:33 PM
How exciting! Kudos to Ms. Dalian and Mr. Sipla. I can't wait to check it out!

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