High-budget Kurt Vonnegut short film being shot in Indy to help upcoming museum

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new Kurt Vonnegut short film is being shot in the Circle City. The movie will benefit the new Kurt Vonnegut Library Museum that’s being built.

Local writer, director Sami Issa Mustaklem began writing the film after reading a Vonnegut short called FUBAR. It’s the story of a young man named Fuzz, who has been working at the same company for nine years. He is assigned a secretary who convinces him to swim in the company pool, and to search for his happiness in life.

“I discovered FUBAR purely on accident,” Mustaklem said. “It’s not often that a short film gets to be made out of somebody whose work you love.”

Mustaklem made a tweak and turned the lead into a woman, so he could work with lead actress and Indy native, Lisa Ermel.

“I’m surprised and I’m thrilled,” Ermel said. “I think that women’s stories really need to be told right now.”

Hoosier stories need to be told in Indiana as well. Most Indiana-based stories are generally shot elsewhere.

“Indianapolis doesn’t have any incentives for filmmakers,” Mustaklem said.

A bipartisan bill was presented this past legislative session to try and change that, however it fell short.

“It seemed like a real positive step,” said Gordon Strain, a Pigasus Pictures Producer working on the film. “Fell through, didn’t even make it to the budget to get voted on.”

Pigasus Pictures is based in Bloomington and has feature films on Netflix. They enjoy working on projects that stay in Indiana. Mustaklem knew he had to keep it in the city and chose to utilize Riverside High School.

“Because it’s the weirdest place I’ve ever been,” Mustaklem laughed while praising the school’s uncanny filmmaking capabilities. “There’s a boiler room in here that looks like Saw. There’s a choir room in here that looks like something out of a Broadway musical.”

The Kurt Vonnegut Library Museum is a financial sponsor for the film, which means any donations that go toward the production help the museum.

“When people donate and want a tax-deductible gift to help create this film,” said Julia Whitehead, the Founder and CEO the Kurt Vonnegut Library Museum.

“Without the library’s help, I don’t think I would have ever got to make this film in the first place,” Mustaklem said.

There is hope that the short film will be ready to be shown this fall at the unveiling of the new Vonnegut Library Museum near the corner of Indiana Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Street, but Whitehead could not confirm this.

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