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Local News

La Grange, Roselle natives discuss first feature film

Hunter Norris (left) and Christian Gridelli (right), the owners of DimeStore Films, are joined by Joe Hursley (center), who plays the lead role in their film “The Origins of Wit and Humor.”
Hunter Norris (left) and Christian Gridelli (right), the owners of DimeStore Films, are joined by Joe Hursley (center), who plays the lead role in their film “The Origins of Wit and Humor.”

La Grange native Christian Gridelli has come a long way from his days running around the neighborhood, recording videos of his friends with his parents’ camcorder.

His dream of making movies, which began when he was a child, have come true as Gridelli’s company, DimeStore Films, which is co-owned by Roselle native Hunter Norris, debuted its first feature-length film, “The Origins of Wit and Humor.” The comedy is available to rent or buy on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.

Gridelli said all of the feedback he’s received about the film is positive, and it’s doing well on the streaming services.

“I’m super proud of the film,” Gridelli said. “It’s strange because you’re with a project so long and there are ups and downs, but I’m just so proud of everyone who worked on it.”

The movie is about a comedy writer whose girlfriend breaks up with him, and he is overcome with self-doubt. Through a series of mishaps, he realizes many important things about life.

Gridelli said he wanted the film to feel “human and honest.”

“He’s a flawed person, but we hope the audience goes on a journey with him and see the change in him,” he said. “It’s almost like a comedy version of ‘The Twilight Zone.’"

Gridelli, who graduated from Nazareth Academy in 2004 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Chicago, worked for the History Channel and Biography Channel for several years.

He and Norris began shooting films together as teenagers and created Chicago-based DimeStore Films in 2006. The company made several short films and videos the two men wrote, shot, directed and edited, and worked on commercial and corporate video projects.

Gridelli and Norris began writing the script for “The Origins of Wit and Humor," which was shot in 2014 in Chicago and features several actors from the city, about 10 years ago. Gridelli said after the shooting was completed, the movie spent a year in post-production. It made the rounds at several film festivals across the country in 2015 and won best comedy at a Pennsylvania festival.

“We were a two-man army for a long time,” Gridelli said. “We love Chicago because it’s such a great artistic and cultural city. It’s hard to be bored here. There are a lot of hard-working people here, and there are always influences that pop up here.”

Norris, who graduated from Lake Park High School in 2002 and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, said he had a variety of emotions when the film was completed.

“The humbling part of this is collaborating with other writers, but to climb that mountain and be able to say that I made a feature film is really cool,” he said. “The best part was accomplishing this grand undertaking. We started with something small and kept developing it from there.”

Part of the magic of DimeStore Films is the chemistry between Norris and Gridelli. The two are equal partners in the company and write all of their scripts together.

“We realized that we both see the world through this absurd lens and have similar senses of humor,” Gridelli said. “We literally write together by passing a notebook back and forth and writing lines. We focus on comedy, but we’re starting to stretch into other genres.”

With the success of “Origins,” the two are excited to get to work on their next project, for which they are already writing scripts.

“It can be a long and frustrating process, and creating is not a process where you’re always excited. But when you’re done with it, it’s totally worth all the hard work. We can’t wait to do it again,” Norris said.


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