Film reviews and more since 2009

Chasing June to Premiere at the 2024 Beverly Hills Film Festival

By: Steve Pulaski

The older I get, the more I beam with pride in seeing my friends succeed with their respective ventures; often times, more so than my own.

I was fortunate enough to go to North Central College, a liberal arts school where you could throw a rock and hit an individual with noteworthy talent. As someone who studied English, encountering those individuals was just part of the major. Two of them I was lucky enough to meet were and remain a power couple.

Nathan L. Slager was a familiar face in many of my English classes; most notably, our 300-level poetry class, in which we were the only two men. His girlfriend, and now wife, Shelby Slager, was admittedly more of an acquaintance, but also directed Logan’s Comedy, an original production for North Central. I attended two performances of that play, which was written by my friend and former Sleepless with Steve co-host Kevin Deiber, and left both shows impressed by her talents.

That introduction brings me to Chasing June, a short film directed by Shelby Slager and Alana Areyzaga, and co-written by the Slager’s. This is a marvel of a project, moving, poignant, and conducted with the poise of veterans as opposed to many folks taking their first crack at the filmmaking process.

Adopting an aura of magical realism and dreamlike cinematography, the short revolves around three friends, Oliver (Sargon), June (Shelby Slager), and Michael (Craig Ymson), who were once inseparable, until tragedy struck:

Oliver, June, and Michael were inseparable until a terrible accident set them on separate paths. Now, after three years, Oliver is returning home, hoping to avoid his past. But June won’t let him. After a chance encounter, June and Oliver return to Oliver’s childhood home where the weight of their past and the pain of June’s present cancer recurrence throw Oliver into a spiral. Using magical real ism and contemporary dance, Chasing June explores the complexities of grief and resentment and asks the question ‘Can you really move on?’ – per Chasing June‘s press kit

Chasing June is made even more memorable thanks to photography from Gavin Pringle, which accentuates that distinctly miserable mid-winter gloom of the Midwest, and a score by Beryl Rosenblum and Macy Camille that’s equal parts ominous and exquisite in its precision as it fits the overarching themes of grief and the struggle to move forward.

I’m inclined to mention that I did contribute to the film via its Indiegogo campaign in 2022. That said, I wouldn’t acknowledge it any further if I didn’t believe in the material nor the people behind it. Chasing June has all the ingredients of a memorable short because while it tells a complete story, there’s a clear and present opportunity for something more.

The short is ultimately a proof-of-concept with a feature film already in the works. Chasing June is an official selection for the 2024 Beverly Hills Film Festival, happening May 1st – 5th at the famous TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood. The short will be played during “Block 1” on Saturday, May 4th, 2024 at 1pm. Tickets for the 2024 Beverly Hills Film Festival can be purchased on the festival’s official website, where you can also read more about Chasing June and the other selected shorts.

I’m thrilled not only to see two friends find early success at their filmmaking aspirations, but also for the fact that Chasing June will be shown in front of a live audience, where I am confident it will resonate. If you’d like to learn more about the short film, and stay posted on its screenings, you can visit the project’s official website.

Furthermore, as someone who is routinely frustrated by ill-fated attempts to track down contact information for individuals or the projects with which they’re associated, I’ll happily provide them below:

Chasing June’s IMDb Page
Chasing June:

Shelby Slager:
Nathan L. Slager:

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

© 2024 Steve Pulaski | Contact | Terms of Use

Designed by Andrew Bohall