Winner of several festival awards including the prestigious Silver Remi at Worldfest Houston, Vito Brancato’s film Driving John Lennon centers on the climactic scene of his original feature screenplay Our Night with Elvis and lets viewers eavesdrop on a dramatic and revealing conversation between rock and roll’s two biggest icons.
Inspired by an actual meeting between the Beatles and Elvis on August 27, 1965. So the story goes, after an evening of clashing egos, Presley and Lennon go for a drive in Elvis’ flashy red Coupe Deville and have it out on a lonely stretch of Mulholland Highway.
Set on the outskirts of Chicago’s notorious west side (in a building once owned by Al Capone), the filmmaker’s old-world Avito Caffe serves espresso and doubles as a production office/authentic film set for his dark comedy web-series Gangster Cafe . The series follows a local crew of hoods who use a neighborhood coffee shop as a front for their criminal activities. The plot thickens when a sex addicted FBI agent stumbles onto their scheme to smuggle heroin in bags of coffee beans.
Brancato’s career in television has unusual roots – it wasn’t film school but rather the colorful world of professional wrestling. Vito cut his filmmaker teeth on Sportschannel’s (Fox Sports) Chicago Championship Wrestling as the editor, writer, director, producer and the villainous star performer Tony “The Razor” DiVito. After a five year run, Vito parlayed his colorful ring persona into the half hour comedy TV program “The Razor Show” which garnered a cult following with Chicago viewers. The success of “Razor” led to a string of independent films and videos including a dramatic film for PBS, BLACKSTONE – The Chicago Plot to Kill JFK.
Originally broadcast nationally on the anniversary of JFK’s assassination, BLACKSTONE is a political thriller and an unlikely love story woven within the biggest conspiracy in U.S. history.
And now the prequel to Blackstone…
Princes & Thieves: a series spotlighting the interconnected lives of JFK, Frank Sinatra and Sam Giancana before, during and after the 1960 presidential election.
Based on true-life characters and actual events, the low-budget 1998 feature THE DEAL was shot completely on location in Chicago and premiered at NYC’s IFP.
The screenplay Chicago 88 is an epic gangster/political corruption yarn wrapped around a steamy, sexy love story that spans three decades.