John Anderson’s “Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE” video the only Chicago Grammy contender

Director John Anderson and producer Maggie Magee are wearing big SMiLEs as their “Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE” concert video heads for the 2006 Grammy awards.

“SMiLE” will compete with some of the most illustrious names in contemporary music for Best Long Form Video.

They are Bob Dylan’s “No Direction Home,” directed by Martin Scorsese; R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet (Chapters 1-5);” “End of The Century: The Story of The Ramones” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Devils & Dust.”

Anderson has good vibrations about winning.

‘Born in Chicago’ pays loving tribute to the origins of Chicago blues

Born In Chicago, the music documentary with deep roots in the Chicago music and production communities, will have its U.S. premiere October 11, 2021 at the 44th Mill Valley Film Festival.  The film is produced by Northbrook, IL-based Out The Box Records. Co-directed by Grammy-nominated Chicagoan John Anderson (Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE) and San Francisco-based … Continue reading “‘Born in Chicago’ pays loving tribute to the origins of Chicago blues”

Horn From The Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story

John Anderson’s intimate documentary celebrates the Hyde Park native who introduced a generation to the swaggering energy of Chicago blues Chicago filmmaker John Anderson’s 2018 documentary, Horn from the Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story, is a detailed and passionate tribute to the life and career of Chicago vocalist and harmonica player Paul Butterfield. Known to … Continue reading “Horn From The Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story”

Anderson’s ‘Born in Chicago’ blues doc bows at SXSW

John Anderson’s new soulful documentary about Chicago’s greatest contribution to American culture – the blues – rolls out at the buzz-greasy SXSW Music Festival on March 13 in Austin, Texas.

“We think Austin – where music is so important – is a great place to launch,” says Anderson. “This is a music film, but it looks at the cultural and social upheavals of its time. We’re lucky being able to make it now when the main guys are still around to talk about it.

Veterans’ Day release for Cole’s WWII doc DVD

THE DVD OF DAVIDSON COLE’S DOCUMENTARY “The 95th: The Iron Men of Metz,” about General George Patton’s World War II infantry division, in which Cole’s grandfather Steve Finik served, fittingly releases today, Veterans’ Day.

Cole began the film to honor Finik, but over three years of production he broadened his story to include many of Finik’s comrades in arms.

“The 95th” follows the WWII vets to Metz, France, which they’d liberated from the Nazis 55 years earlier.

Anderson shoots for Disney English in Shanghai

Thanks to a local connection, director John Anderson spent a week in July shooting for Disney English in Shanghai, where the company established its first English-language instruction centers in China.

Original songs and music used by the Disney English school were created by Anderson’s long-time friend, local music star Ralph Covert who records his children’s band, “Ralph’s World,” for Disney Sound.

Anderson got the job when L.A.-based Disney executive producer, Julie Blore-Bizot, asked Covert to recommend a local filmmaker to create video content for their education modules.

“Sons of the Blues” a feature length music doc

Award-winning director/editor John Anderson is wrapping his feature-length doc, “Sons of the Blues,” to meet the June deadline for entry in the Chicago International Film Festival.

The story is about a group of tough white Chicago teenagers in the early 1960s, who became an integral part of the city’s all-black blues scene when black musicians took them under their tutelage and helped them succeed.

The boys who wanted to learn blues and jazz became the great Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel and Corky Siegel.

S2/Swell wins its second Chicago Public Schools contract to produce semi-monthly cable TV show

The Board of Education last week awarded S2/Swell an enviable $575,465 contract for a TV series?but not without public opposition.

The Teachers Union, school advocates and concerned parents charged the show’s budget could have paid for almost 10 classroom teachers.

It always comes in a year when the Board of Education made deep budget cuts in school programs and staff.

Peter Cunningham, the school board’s director of external affairs who made the decision, defended the contract.

S2/Swell’s editorial staff quickly recruited by other top post houses, as it prepares to shutter

Now that all the jobs in-house have been completed, S2/Swell is wrapping up its 29 years of business in its eerily quiet space in the NBC Tower.

The big post houses quickly recruited S2’s talented editors and assistants, leaving only a handful of the 35 employees to help reorganize under Chapter 11.

Attesting to their talent and reputation, S2’s editorial staff had offers from Cutters, Machete, Outsider, Avenue and Filmmakers immediately following news of the closing.

Some editors and assistants moved into permanent positions, while others opted to freelance.

S2 producing Public Schools’ newsmagazine show

“CPS RIGHT NOW,” a news magazine-style show about the people and activities of the Chicago Public Schools, is being directed and edited by S2’s John Anderson.

Two of the shows have aired on Chicago public access Ch. 49 Thursdays at 5 p.m. All seven shows will be completed by July.

Three topics are presented in each 30-minute show, and include interviews with students, teachers and parents and special events taking place within the schools.

Graphics were created by Elsie Ogelle and her team.

Optimus “spots” air on Comcast

THIRTY OPTIMUS “SPOTS”?not about the post house, but 30-second creative confections by all Optimus employees and not just editors?have been airing as commercials on Comcast.

Staffers were told they could work as individuals or in teams. The only rules were the length, conform to TV standards and end with the distinctive Optimus logo.

There was no overall name or theme for the exercise, said client services director Doug Manley, who with assistant editor Dustin LaForce, whipped out their “spot” in a couple of hours.

“Brian Wilson Performs SMiLE” concert produced in HD by Superior Street released on DVD May 24

Superior Street and director/editor John Anderson’s collaboration with music icon Brian Wilson began back in March, 1998. Since then he has directed/edited four videos of the former Beach Boy’s concert tours.

The latest is “Brian Wilson Performs SMiLE,” a live performance of Wilson’s “legendary lost masterpiece”?a Warner Bros./Rhino DVD worldwide release May 24.

The two-part package includes “Beautiful Dreamer”, a documentary on the making of SMiLE.