Shelter Me

: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production


A young woman fleeing a domestic abuse situation becomes ensnared in a homicide investigation that threatens both herself and a young child she has befriended.


In this dramatic suspense thriller mixing elements of Sundance Film Institute Award Winner "The Spitfire Grill" and the Academy Award Nominated "Winter's Bone", a young woman seeks refuge in a Washington D.C. homeless shelter, where she becomes involved in an unfolding murder investigation that threatens not only herself, but the life of young child she has befriended.


The narrative tapestry of "Shelter Me" deals with a multitude of social issues ranging from from domestic abuse and homelessness, to illiteracy, alcoholism and human trafficking. It also features a racial and gender diverse cast of characters whose stories we feel will resonate with a wide ranging audience. The lead character Jeanie Carpenter is a 22-year old woman whose resolve to end the cycle of abuse in her life sets the stage for a dramatic, suspenseful and inspirational journey.


Jerry Vasilatos - Producer/Director/Co-Writer

Jerry is a native Chicagoan who attended Columbia College in Chicago. His first film, "Solstice," was awarded the Silver Award by the Charleston International Film Festival, the Bronze Award by the Houston International Film Festival, and was broadcast again by Lifetime Television on Christmas Eve of 1995. The film underwent a 2K restoration with the addition of a new orchestral score for its 25th Anniversary under Jerry’s supervision for release on broadcast and streaming platforms in 2019.

Relocating to Los Angeles in 1996, Jerry spent 10 years working in film and television, running his boutique editing studio Nitestar Productions. While in Los Angeles, Jerry’s work included editing DVD featurettes produced by Trailer Park for Universal Home Video and Fox Atomic, 10 segments of the series "Breaking In" produced for the Reelz Channel and co-producing / editorial duties on twenty-three episodes of the weekly syndicated series "Made in Hollywood." Jerry also edited "Now You Know," the romantic comedy written and directed by "Clerks" star Jeff Anderson.

Returning to Chicago in 2007, Jerry now works on projects between his hometown and Los Angeles. Named by New City as one of the top 50 people in Chicago’s booming film industry, Jerry's credits include a wide variety of projects including commercials, music videos, documentaries, short films, and 4 episodes of the History Channel series "Gangland." He is presently the Chicago City Producer of the world-renowned 48 Hour Film Project while developing several projects for his company Nitestar Productions at Cinespace’s Stage 18 in Chicago. "Shelter Me" is the first of those projects.

Jerry Vasilatos on IMDB

Sara Caldwell - Screenwriter

Sara is an award winning screenwriter/filmmaker, published author, and digital media instructor at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandizing (FIDM) in Los Angeles. She’s also a producer/writer for House of Gorey Productions, a boutique media company specializing in the horror/thriller genre.

Sara’s screenplays have been recognized with many awards, including Best Original Screenplay at the Burbank International Film Festival, NOLA Horror Film Festival, Shivers International Film Festival, Dazed4Horror Film Festival and the Cannes Screenplay Contest. Her short films have also received many accolades, including Best Short Film at the Indie Horror Film Festival, Los Angeles Thriller Film Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, and Creative Arts Film Festival.

Sara is also the co-writer/producer of "Boomers", a comedy web series that is going into its second season in 2019. Previously, Sara was a producer/writer for Amphion Productions in Chicago and Motion Masters in Charleston, West Virginia. She was also a writer/ producer for Worldnet Television in Washington, DC, an internationally televised program of the United States Information Agency.

Sara is the author of the young adult novel "Raven Dock" (Whitebird Publications) and three industry related books, including "Splatter Flicks - How to Make Low Budget Horror Films" (Allworth Press). She received an MFA in Screenwriting from California State University Northridge (CSUN).

Sara is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America West.

Sara Caldwell on IMDB

Samantha George - Co-Producer

Having gotten her start with the Oscar-qualifying Heartland Film Festival, Samantha managed as the head of Filmmaker Services, Hospitality, & Lead Programmer for narrative, documentary, and short films for 4 years - all the while serving as a juror for the Truly Moving Picture Award for the festival.

Since moving to Chicago in 2016, Sam has worked with organizations such as The Chicago International Film Festival, Exposing the Crew, JJack Productions, The Chicago Underground Film Festival, and IFP Chicago (where she currently serves as 1st Chair on their Associate Board).

In as little as 3 years, Sam has gone to work on numerous commercial & narrative projects such as Women of the Now's "Scutly", the anthology series "The Woe Chronicles", and CMA’s executive-produced ventures "Hunting God"," Wheelhouse", "All American Sex Offender", and "Good Genes". Currently, Samantha runs her own Producing & Production Design company, Luna Mojo.

Samantha George on IMDB

John O'Shaughnessy - Director of Photography

John grew up in the Chicago area and attended Columbia College. After graduating with a BA in filmmaking he embarked on a career in cinematography. He helped establish and operate Image Dynamics, Inc. as co-owner from 1992 through 1997, until he sold his interest and moved to Los Angeles to pursue motion picture and television work. He graduated from the prestigious American Film Institute with an MFA in cinematography in 2003. John worked on multiple projects with fellow AFI grads Ed Zwick and Marshal Herskovitz including the first multimillion dollar internet show, “Quarterlife,” starring David Walton and Elizabeth Tulloch, and the CBS pilot “A Marriage,” with Bruce Greenwood and Miranda Otto. John also worked on “Buppies” for BET as well as several movies and television shows including “Sex and Breakfast” with Elizia Dushku, Alexis Dziena, and Macaulay Culkin, “Outing Riley” with Nathan Fillion and Michael McDonald and “On the Doll” with Brittany Snow and Clayne Crawford.

Several short films John shot were award winners including “Shooter” (Hatchfest, Urban World, San Francisco Black Film Festival), “Among Thieves” (Sundance, Palm Springs, LA film Festival) and Effloresce which won best cinematography at the World Music and Independent Film Festival. John Also did extensive work as second unit cameraman on television shows such as “Sopranos,” “NCIS,” and “Cold Case.”

John O'Shaughnessy on IMDB

Sarah Clark - Casting Director

Sarah has worked professionally in the film industry for eight years. Casting has always been her bread and butter, but she's also an Emmy Nominated producer and still produces selectively. She’s been lucky to work on films like "August Osage County", "To the Wonder", "Rudderless", and many many more. Sarah has seen thousands of actors for hundreds of commercials with clients like Nike, Corona, Cracker Barrel, Honda, and hundreds more. Passionate about casting, she does her best to make sure everyone is taken care of and the best possible cast comes together.

Sarah Clark on IMDB

Anamaria Hepburn - Associate Producer

Anamaria I. Hepburn is a Film Producer based out of Chicago and Los Angeles with a background in TV/Video and multimedia marketing. Since age 12 she has been pursuing her goal to work in the TV and film industry which brought her from Europe to Chicago. She was awarded a scholarship from Moody Bible Institute, where she studied multimedia communications and film. While still in college she landed an internship at TLN, a cable network in Chicago and soon after she found herself directing and producing episodes for TV-shows. Anamaria wrote, produced and line produced several TV and film projects. Her short Home of Superman won an Award of Excellence at the Los Angeles Movie Awards in 2011.

Anamaria Hepburn on IMDB

Kristi Dunn Kucera - Consulting Producer / Publicist

Kristi Dunn Kucera has more than 25 years of experience in public relations, entertainment marketing, event planning, social media management and film production. She has worked for global PR firms including Ketchum Public Relations, Hill and Knowlton and PMK/BNC, and she has worked with and for Fortune 50 companies including Nike, Coca-Cola and Wendy’s International. Most recently, she has used her skills to promote film and television projects and political/social justice activism and has worked on projects with the ACLU, The Brennan Center for Justice and the Human Rights Defense Center.

She now runs her own company, KDK Publicity, which specializes in publicity for film and television projects, activists, advocacy groups and brands. In addition, she works in film production and film financing.

She is currently Executive Producer of three independent feature films. "Rock War Peace" is based on the true story of Johnny Brower, who co-founded the "Give Peace a Chance" movement with John Lennon. "A Long Finish" is a feature film inspired by the true story of two unfulfilled Seattle Techies who must overcome startling obstacles to find true happiness in life. And "Trial of Lies" is the true story of a sister -- while searching for justice for her wrongfully imprisoned brother – serendipitously finds love while least expecting it.


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