SHOREWOOD – Dragon Alexander is burning up the area film scene.
The Shorewood-based filmmaker and actor was recognized recently for his work at the Chicago Horror Film Festival, where he was inducted into Breaking Fate Entertainment’s Hall of Fame.
But the honor came with other benefits.
“I got see some wonderful films, meet up with wonderful filmmakers, got to compare notes and do a lot of networking,” Alexander said.
Willy Adkins, president of Breaking Fate Entertainment, said Alexander was deserving of the honor.
“His everlasting effort and willingness to work in all aspects of film production and promotion are incredible,” Adkins said. “ He’s gone above and beyond to help people without expecting anything in return. Everything he does he puts his all into. He’s a perfectionist.”
This isn’t the first recognition Alexander has received from his peers and audience.
His film “Betrayal: The Blackwood Project” was nominated for Best Sound and Best Special Effects and won the award for Best Editing at the 2012 Chicago Horror Film Festival.
In addition, “Lost Soul,” the second short film completed by Blackwood X Productions LLC – Alexander’s production company – premiered at the Portage International Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Editing. It also was nominated for four awards at the 2013 Prairie State Film Festival and won the awards for Best Director and Best Short Film.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized and get awards,” Alexander said, “but what’s important is doing good work I can be proud of.”
Those who have acted with and for Alexander praised him, too.
“I love working with him; he’s arguably one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever worked with,” said North Roberts, who has acted with Alexander on a number of projects including his latest, “Sister of the Wolf.”
“He’s always one of the most organized people on any film set he’s on, always one of the bright spots on a film set,” Roberts said.
Clarise Behr, an actress who has worked on several of Alexander’s projects, said Alexander is knowledgeable, resourceful and exceptional under pressure, which Behr said is essential to filmmaking.
“He has an incredible wealth of stories in his head that he uses to make his films more unique,” she said. “He’s a genuinely kind director, which is something I feel is often undervalued in our business.”
Alexander starting working with monster and stage makeup a decade ago, learning and growing into producer and director roles. In 2012, Alexander founded Blackwood X Productions.
“I’ve been involved with a couple of dozen films at this point,” Alexander said, “learning what to do and what not to do.”
A 2004 graduate of Northern Illinois University, with degrees in psychology and theater, the 41-year-old Alexander (and yes, Alexander said, his given name is Dragon; it’s not a stage name) has been fascinated by film since he was a youngster, citing John Ford, Stanley Kubrick and Jim Henson as influences.
“All for different reasons,” Alexander said. “Ford for using environments to help tell a story, he always believed location was the ultimate actor. Henson as a leader and a positive role model, he always wanted to be a part of something great and wanted people to play along and follow him, but he did it in a collaborative way. And Kubrick because he knew the rules and knew how to break them and do it to make something wonderful.”
Alexander hasn’t limited himself to the horror genre – but that’s where he’s received the most recognition. Alexander said he’s also worked on dramas, comedies and romance. If it’s a film project that excites him, Alexander is in.
“This is what I enjoy, this is what I want to keep doing,” Alexander said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what films we can create in the future.”
According to independent filmmaker Dragon Alexander of Shorewood, the following elements – in addition to technical skills – are important to successful filmmaking.
• Networking: A large group of people is necessary for even a short film. To gather them, one needs connections.
• Respect: Each person’s contribution on the set is important.
• Attend film festivals: Not just for awards, but to meet industry people, see their work and talk about production.
Below are links to some of Alexander’s projects
• “Betrayal: The Blackwood Project” – http://shawurl.com/27yf
• “Lost Soul” – http://shawurl.com/27yh
• “Still Alive” – http://shawurl.com/27yj