Vanessa S. Valliere & John Gregorio

Vanessa S. Valliere is a performer, puppeteer and clown who makes original devised work. She performs with Manual Cinema, an internationally touring and Emmy Award winning cinematic shadow puppetry collective. She has directed, performed and toured with Theater Unspeakable, a physical theater company based in Chicago, IL. Vanessa was a co-creator of creative content and performer for six years with Tour De Fat, a festival that toured the US.


John Gregorio is a stage actor and improviser. John’s regional credits include performances at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Geva Theatre Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, North Shore Music Theatre, Alliance Theatre, The New Theatre at 45th St., Lamb’s Theatre and New York Music Theatre Festival. He has appeared on TV in Extended Family (Sundance Channel), Good Eats (Food Network), and Smoking Gun TV (Court TV). John has been performing and teaching improvisation across the country for 20 years. 


Gut Feelings was created at the height of the pandemic lockdown and the entire film was shot in our dining room, where the walls and windows were draped in black fabric for several months. We were funded by a mini-commission from Heather Henson's Handmade Puppet Dreams and Ibex Puppetry, which we received based on an application that promised to create work that is "gross and beautiful, sweet and creepy." The idea for the film started with Vanessa's desire to see a shot of her hummanette character buried in dolls and ended with John's idea to have the two characters meet in the belly of a beast.

Gut Feelings Trailer
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Gut Feelings

Swallowed by a grotesque monster, GUT FEELINGS is the story of two misfits who meet in the belly of a beast.


This small DIY, can-do-it film is exactly the kind of project that Chicagoans show up for with "Yes!" and a "How can we help?!" It is chock full of Chicago's logistical, physical and emotional support and it just would not have been the same film in any other city.

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Made entirely at home, with at-home objects, GUT FEELINGS is a wonderful example of what you can create with what you have at hand. If the film has you laughing and searching for more fun, grab something from your home and see what mischief you can make. 

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Learn more about Heather Henson's Handmade Puppets, and see more films like GUT FEELINGS at