Her film, The Alley Cat, (slated for production in July) is about a female bike messenger in Chicago who competes in an alley cat - an underground bike messenger race - that becomes a spiritual and physical journey after the evening takes a hard turn.
Ullrich says, “I make films about strong female lead characters for whom neither the essential problem nor its solution is romantic, and I chose to go with Kickstarter for crowd-sourced funds because didn’t want to feel like I was asking permission (from a studio) to make my movie or to wait three years in development before the project gets green-lit - if at all. My take on the problem is that it’s still very difficult for women to get financial backing.”
Ullrich has made two bicycle-oriented projects already, the short film Faster!, which has played at juried film festivals internationally (and continues its festival run this month on tour in Germany with interfilmBerlin), and a spec commercial for Chrome Messenger Bags which won a Bronze Telly Award (the Telly’s second highest honor). Ullrich says that empowerment is important to her, and bicycles are empowering.
Ullrich hopes her film will gain theatrical distribution and get heavy play in the festival circuit. She wants the film to invigorate the discussion around urban cycling and sharing the road with motorists - a problem she says she contends with daily as a cyclist in Chicago. “However,” she notes, “the cinema exists to make us feel. This a film with a strong dramatic arc, and one that I hope will affect viewers deeply. It takes us through the main character’s struggles, but leaves us with a sense of hope.”
Support the project on Kickstarter at kickstarter.com/projects/ultreya/the-alley-cat-a-feature-film