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‘Gut Feelings,’ Made With Puppets With Human Heads, Playing At Parks Across The City

The 11-minute silent film was created in a Chicago apartment and features humanettes, where the actors' faces appear as though they are attached to puppet bodies.

Chicago-based performers Vanessa Valliere and John Gregorio's film "Gut Feelings" is screening across the city starting this month.
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CHICAGO — Chicago-based performers Vanessa Valliere and John Gregorio are bringing their award-winning short film “Gut Feelings” to parks across the city.

The 11-minute silent film was created in the duo’s Chicago apartment and features humanettes, where the actors’ faces appear as though they are attached to puppet bodies.

The film is part of the Park District’s Movies In The Parks series. It will play 8 p.m. Aug. 30 in Grant Park, 999 S. Michigan Ave.; 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at Hamlin Park, 3035 N. Hoyne Ave.; and 8 p.m. Sept. 1 in Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen Ave.

Click here to view the film’s full screening schedule throughout the city.

“Gut Feelings” is a story about two misfits who find each other in the belly of a beast, Valliere and Gregorio said. The characters find friendship through tough and unusual circumstance, an unintentional commentary on life during the pandemic.

The film “accidentally was reflective of what we were going through a little bit in terms of being in … a small place together during the pandemic,” Valliere said. “We didn’t have any intention of having that be true, but we definitely were doing exactly that.”

Valliere and Gregorio created the film during the height of the pandemic over the course of several months. The two began storyboarding and filming in November 2020 and finished editing in January 2021.

This is the first time Valliere and Gregorio, who are stage performers, collaborated on a film together.

Credit: Provided
Vanessa Valliere and John Gregorio created “Gut Feelings” in their Chicago apartment during the height of the pandemic.

The film was funded by Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams and Ibex Puppetry. Valliere and Gregorio applied for a grant with the promise to create work that is “gross and beautiful, sweet and creepy.”

The film is made by “Chicago people,” Valliere said. Local artists helped with set design, puppets, props and even the music.

“It’s a fully Chicago thing,” Gregorio said.

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