Is that you, NORMAL LIFE?

Back on December 6, your editor and C-U Blogfidential agent A-RocK drove over to the Normal Theater during a slightly drizzly, occasionally snow-flecked night for the CNGM Pictures micro-cinema show. Captained by four young lads currently attending Illinois State University, Columbia College-Chicago, and the University of Iowa, CNGM has turned out a large body of work over the last few years including that evening’s feature film, a family drama called FATE TWISTED SIMPLY. Prior to the main attraction, several trailers unspooled for an audience with an average age well below our own, including one for the mystery movie (see item: 8/11/06) known as NORMAL LIFE.

Producer and director of photography Steve Coulter gave CUBlog the belated scoop on this project via e-mail. “NORMAL LIFE is a drama and romantic comedy about a college junior in Normal, Illinois, who wants to break out from the tired routine of his life,” says Coulter, who also directed and scripted FATE TWISTED SIMPLY. “As a hopeful musician and idealistic dreamer, young Orpheus wants to leave his quiet college town to try something new. His girlfriend, his buddies, and one humorously inspirational professor don’t appear at first to share the same ambitions.”

Although most productions from the company have been filmed in or near the Windy City, NORMAL LIFE utilizes the geography of its title to detail Orpheus’ world. “The film was written and directed by ISU senior Marc Muszynski,” continues Coulter. “His perspective gives the film a very real depiction of the insecurities of a soon-to-be college graduate. The principal cast is made up of ISU students, graduates, and faculty [while] the entire picture was shot in Normal and Bloomington.” NORMAL LIFE stars Nicholas Mikula, Caitlin Barlow, Brian Wohl, Annie Rix, Kim Pereira, and Muszynski, while Michael P. Noens shared producing chores with Mikula, Wohl, and Coulter.

CNGM plans a springtime preview of the completed film in Bloomington-Normal, although a date and venue have yet to be announced. According to the CNGM Web site, an upstate World Premiere has been earmarked for June 30, 2007, presumably near their home base in Palatine, IL. Additional information is available on the NORMAL LIFE site while a trailer can be streamed at

Of course, this NORMAL LIFE is not related to the prior, big-budget NORMAL LIFE (1996) directed by another Chicago native, John McNaughton (MAD DOG AND GLORY), while the storyline’s Orpheus has an in-name-only kinship with the title character of ORPHEUS AT MIDNIGHT, a horror-surrealist student film produced on the University of Illinois Urbana campus during fall semester.

– Jason Pankoke

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