Premiere of Chicago-based doc SKATE OR DIE at the Music Box Theatre

The Music Box Theatre and Flyback Productions present the Chicago Premiere of director Ryan Ferguson’s Chicago-based skateboarding doc SKATE OR DIE, with Cast and Crew Q&A, on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 4:15pm. Filmed over several years, SKATE OR DIE is a riveting documentary feature that is making its long-awaited, hometown, theatrical premiere. The film … Continue reading “Premiere of Chicago-based doc SKATE OR DIE at the Music Box Theatre”

Chicago Critics Film Festival returns to Music Box Theatre

The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, announces the first six films selected for the 2021 Chicago Critics Film Festival. First titles include highly anticipated films like the Chicago premiere of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s THE LOST DAUGHTER, Venice Film Festival winner … Continue reading “Chicago Critics Film Festival returns to Music Box Theatre”

The Music Box Theatre has plans for a big weekend

Whether you venture out on Open Chicago weekend or plan to stay in, Music Box has an awesome lineup of entertainment. From the creator of HAMILTON and the director of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, the joyous new musical IN THE HEIGHTS opens this weekend at the Music Box! Rated 97% FRESH on RottenTomatoes, this exuberant story of young dreamers … Continue reading “The Music Box Theatre has plans for a big weekend”

Music Box Theatre showing trio of 2021 Oscar Nominees

The Music Box Theatre is giving you a chance to see a trio of 2021 Oscar Nominees on the big screen! From April 16th – April 22nd only, you can catch screenings of the beautiful and poetic Best Animated Film nominee WOLFWALKERS, the powerful Best International Film nominee QUO VADIS, AIDA?, and special 35MM presentations of Aaron Sorkin’s timely THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO … Continue reading “Music Box Theatre showing trio of 2021 Oscar Nominees”

DePaul grad screens ‘Tom of Your Life’ at Music Box

Written and directed by acclaimed singer-songwriter Jer Sklar, Music Box Theatre will screen Chicago comedy Tom of Your Life from May 7-13. Featuring an original soundtrack with 11 original songs from his local band The Blackstrap Molasses, Sklar also edited, produced and stars.  Tom of Your Life tells the story of a baby who inexplicably ages four years on each hour. … Continue reading “DePaul grad screens ‘Tom of Your Life’ at Music Box”

Oscar winner Paul Hirsch at Music Box

Editor of ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Carrie,’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ joins James Hughes for Q&A following a special screening of ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’ To celebrate the release of his new memoir — A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away: My Fifty Years Editing Hollywood Hits—Star Wars, Carrie, Ferris Bueller’s Day … Continue reading “Oscar winner Paul Hirsch at Music Box”

Wright’s ‘Story of the Movie Palace’ at Music Box

April Wright’s ‘Going Attractions’ chronicles cinema history from the perspective of the theatre April Wright’s Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace is scheduled to screen in Chicago on November 12 at 7 pm. Momentous in its scope, Wright’s documentary chronicles the story of movies through an often-ignored lens, the places where they … Continue reading “Wright’s ‘Story of the Movie Palace’ at Music Box”

‘Holy Trinity’ Chicago premiere at Music Box Theatre

One of Indiewire’s “Fabulous LGBTQ Films Not To Miss” will make its Windy City debut on Friday September 27 On Friday September 27, Full Spectrum Features’ newest feature, Holy Trinity makes its Chicago debut at the Music Box Theatre. The screening will be followed by an exclusive cast and crew Q&A. Click on this for … Continue reading “‘Holy Trinity’ Chicago premiere at Music Box Theatre”

48 Hour Film Project screenings return to Music Box

Winning entries will compete for a chance to screen at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner The Chicago 48 Hour Film Project premiere screenings will return to the Music Box Theatre September 22nd through September 25th. The screenings spotlight 45 short films completed in only 48 hours during this past August 23rd competition weekend. … Continue reading “48 Hour Film Project screenings return to Music Box”

Inside the Music Box’s 90th Anniversary Video

The 12-minute film showcases one of the theatre’s greatest resources, its audience   Filmmaker Curtis Matzke shot a lot of interviews while helping to make the Music Box Theatre’s 90th Anniversary tribute video, and in doing so he captured one of the greatest things about the place: its audience. Since opening nearly a hundred years … Continue reading “Inside the Music Box’s 90th Anniversary Video”

‘Among Wolves’ week-long screening at Music Box

“Gorgeous … intimate” Chicago-produced doc tells of Bosnian War veterans who find peace while defending a herd of wild horses To celebrate the release of Among Wolves, an award-winning documentary that premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF), the Chicago filmmakers present a special week of screenings, events, and discussions that explore combat trauma … Continue reading “‘Among Wolves’ week-long screening at Music Box”

‘Solstice’ comes full circle at the Music Box Theatre

The 25th Anniversary Screening of Lifetime TV’s Original World Premiere Movie “will be an even bigger deal than it was before.” Jerry Vasilatos’ 1993 feature, Solstice resonates through generations. Following an individual’s journey from disillusionment to happiness, the film reaches a level appeal and credibility that is strengthened by the creator’s own personal experience. The … Continue reading “‘Solstice’ comes full circle at the Music Box Theatre”

$100K reels to light up Music Box 70MM Film Festival

The iconic Chicago cinema’s old-school celebration underscores a wide-format renaissance currently sweeping through Hollywood From September 14 to 27, the Music Box Theatre is hosting The 70mm Film Festival 2018. This year’s lineup includes a fresh print of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, a blown-up print of John Carpenter’s The Thing, possibly the last 70mm … Continue reading “$100K reels to light up Music Box 70MM Film Festival”

Noir City returns for 10th run at the Music Box

In mid-August, The Music Box Theatre will be screening a series of noir films, accompanied by special guests and features   This weekend, Noir City: Chicago celebrates its 10th anniversary! From August 17th-23rd, the Music Box will be joined by Eddie Muller, host of TCM’s Noir Alley, and Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir … Continue reading “Noir City returns for 10th run at the Music Box”

Restored “The Fog” haunts Music Box Halloween

  New 4K Restoration will roll October 26 in Chicago, LA and New York     New York-based Rialto Pictures will release John Carpenter’s landmark horror movie The Fog on October 26, in its first-ever major restoration. The horror classic, in a full 4K restoration from Studiocanal, opens October 26 for limited runs at The … Continue reading “Restored “The Fog” haunts Music Box Halloween”

Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box

A cornucopia of classic genre screenings, premieres, and events to take place at Chicago’s iconic Music Box Theatre. From June 21st through June 28th, a cornucopia of genre screenings and events will take place at the Music Box Theatre for its second annual Cinepocalypse. The film festival grinds together a gory cocktail of six classic … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box”

‘Empathy, Inc.’ to premiere at Music Box Cinepocalypse

The “highly entertaining” film investigates the “potential dark side” of a widely-accepted virtue   Empathy, Inc. — a sci-fi thriller about a tech company that offers a VR experience of poverty to wealthy people — premieres June 24th at Chicago’s legendary Music Box Theatre. The film is part of the official selection for the second … Continue reading “‘Empathy, Inc.’ to premiere at Music Box Cinepocalypse”

Framestore, Music Box, “Anne and Andy,” and more

John Ridley Transforms Beer City into Film City According to Deadline, Oscar-winner John Ridley will team up with Milwaukee film organizations and studios to transform a former 40,000 square-foot Pabst Brewery into No Studios.   Ridley brings his depth of experience and history of excellence to Milwaukee. He has written, directed, and produced dozens of … Continue reading “Framestore, Music Box, “Anne and Andy,” and more”

Crowdfunding film spoof screens tonight at Music Box

IT’S ALL GOOD,” a comedy feature from Aaron Fronk, Vinny Degaetano and Cooper Johnson of FND Films screens Oct. 20 at the Music Box Theatre and the next day it’ll be digitally released on on FND’s website.

“It’s All Good” follows three broke filmmakers (Fronk, Johnson and DeGaetano) who suffer the consequences of a fraudulent crowdfunding campaign.

All 48 Hour films to screen Sunday at the Music Box

The work of area-wide filmmakers, who raced the clock to produce a short film for the 12th 48 Hour Film Project over the Aug. 27 weekend, will screen Sunday and Monday, Sept. 11-12, with awards presented Sept. 15, at the Music Box Theatre.

“This is a great opportunity for audiences to discover emerging filmmakers and to see the work of steadily-producing local indie filmmakers,” said director / editor Jerry Vasilatos, who has helmed the Chicago 48 Hour competition for the past two years.

Music Box tops distributors in Spirit Awards nods

Chicago-based Music Box Films leads independents distributors Film Independent’s Spirit Awards with seven nominations, behind only Fox Searchlight’s nine nominations in overall totals.

This puts the five-year old company ahead of such iconic specialty distributors as IFC Films, Focus Features, and Sony Pictures Classics, which tie for third place with six nominations each.

Music Box Films acquires Venezuelan thriller

MUSIC BOX FILMS, the local distributor which has had a very good year with its “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Millennium Trilogy and “Mesrine,” among other releases, has acquired Marcel Rasquin’s “Hermon.”

The Venezuelan sports and crime drama is about two brothers battling to escape the streets of Caracas and get their shot at pro soccer careers. It’s scheduled for a late spring release.

Music Box Films’ third foreign import pays off

One of the five highest-grossing foreign films of 2008 – French import “Tell No One,” grossing more than $6.1 million ? was released nationally by local specialty film distributor, year-old Music Box Films.

Few were as ? happily ? startled by the critical and box-office success of “Tell No One” as William Schopf, president of the art film distribution shop and owner of the Music Box theater.

“It’s just a great film ? particularly in this economy where escapism is appropriate from the troubles we all have,” said Schopf, a lawyer.

Music Box owner becomes an art film distributor; plans a five-to-eight picture slate for the year

Music Box Theatre owner William Schopf has rapidly emerged as one of Chicago’s biggest players in the national film distribution business.

Schopf’s new venture, Music Box Films, is in the second acquisition of a planned five-to-eight-picture slate of foreign and art films for the year, “similar to the films we show at the theatre,” he said.

He is confident about getting into the distribution business during this tumultuous time for the industry.

“People are watching art films?there’s a growing market for them,” he said.

CFA Media Mixer pairs visual and sound artists in three new pieces

Chicago Film Archives (CFA) celebrates the 10th anniversary of their annual Media Mixer event with the premiere of three new pieces. The Media Mixer project started in 2012 as a way to open up CFA’s vault of archival footage to artists working in media, and to support the creation of a new video work by … Continue reading “CFA Media Mixer pairs visual and sound artists in three new pieces”

Chicago filmmaker Michael Smith premieres fourth feature at Siskel Center

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center will co-present the world theatrical premiere of Chicago filmmaker Michael Smith’s fourth feature film, Relative. Screenings will be held at the Film Center on Friday, June 10 at 7pm; Wednesday, June 15 at 8pm and Thursday, June 16 at 8:15pm. Each screening will … Continue reading “Chicago filmmaker Michael Smith premieres fourth feature at Siskel Center”

Chicago Film Critics Association announces 2022 Audience Award Winners

The Chicago Film Critics Association, the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, today announces the Audience Award winners following the 9th Chicago Critics Film Festival.  Audiences selected Closing Night feature presentation I LOVE MY DAD as winner of the Audience Award for narrative features; the film screened to … Continue reading “Chicago Film Critics Association announces 2022 Audience Award Winners”

The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season

The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season with screenings at NEIU and the Music Box Theater throughout the summer from May 11 thru August 31. See the full schedule and ticket information below. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SEASON FROM THE CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY Sometimes it feels like the state of cinema is one last … Continue reading “The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season”

Chicago Critics Film Festival announces first seven films selected for 2022

The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, announces today the first seven films selected for the 2022 Chicago Critics Film Festival.  First titles include highly anticipated films like the Chicago premiere of Cooper Raiff’s CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH, starring Raiff and … Continue reading “Chicago Critics Film Festival announces first seven films selected for 2022”

Bob Odenkirk opens up about life, death, and reinventing himself

Chicagoland native, Emmy-winning writer, Golden Globe-nominated actor, comedian, director, producer, and Second City alum Bob Odenkirk returned to Chicago to promote his book at an event at the Music Box Theatre. Odenkirk was joined by Tim Meadows, actor/comedian and Second City alum, who you might also recognize from his appearance in the Chicago set of … Continue reading “Bob Odenkirk opens up about life, death, and reinventing himself”

JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival is In-Theater and Online

The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival’s 9th annual Spring Festival, running March 10 – 27, includes 18 films streaming online and in-theater that are largely about relationships. These relationships are at the core of the film line-up that ranges from light-hearted rom-coms such as One More Story to family discoveries of loss and rebirth in … Continue reading “JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival is In-Theater and Online”

Bob Odenkirk with Tim Meadows: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama

Chicago Humanities Festival will present Chicago’s own Bob Odenkirk in conversation with Tim Meadows at the Music Box Theatre on March 2 Odenkirk opens up about the highs and lows of Hollywood with fellow SNL alum Meadows. The two legends get candid about all the comedy and drama in showbiz that Odenkirk has lived through and writes about in his … Continue reading “Bob Odenkirk with Tim Meadows: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama”

Power of the Dog, Dune lead Chicago Indie Critics noms

The Chicago Indie Critics have announced the nominees for their sixth annual film awards. Leading all films with nine nominations is Netflix’s The Power of the Dog, directed by Best Director nominee Jane Campion. The dramatic western also received nominations for Best Studio Film, Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch, Best Supporting Actor for Kodi Smit-McPhee, Best Supporting … Continue reading “Power of the Dog, Dune lead Chicago Indie Critics noms”

Chicago Critics Film Festival announces Audience Award Winners

Over 1,000 vaccinated and masked film enthusiasts safely returned to the cinema this weekend for exclusive screenings and special guests, marking another successful year for Chicago Critics Film Festival, the only film festival programmed and produced by film critics. The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates … Continue reading “Chicago Critics Film Festival announces Audience Award Winners”

Winners of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival announces the winners of its 2021 competitions. Celebrating its 57th edition October 13 – 24, 2021, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America’s longest-running competitive international film festival. In a virtual ceremony live-streamed via the Chicago International Film Festival YouTube channel, the Festival awarded prizes in the following categories: … Continue reading “Winners of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival”

Winners of Reeling: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ Film Festival

The audience votes are in and the judges have spoken. The winning films of Reeling: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ Film Festival have been announced! The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ Film Festival ran from September 29 to October 7. It was the first ever hybrid film festival in the 39 year history of the festival, with a … Continue reading “Winners of Reeling: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ Film Festival”

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills to open CIFF After Dark

The Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) announced the Opening Night After Dark feature, Halloween Kills, the new chapter in the iconic four-decade horror franchise starring Jamie Lee Curtis and co-written and directed by David Gordon Green.  In 2018, David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade … Continue reading “Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills to open CIFF After Dark”

Chicago Film Society is back screening difficult movies for difficult people

After spending the pandemic experimenting with new hobbies–bread-baking, zine-making, whittling, etc.–Chicago Film Society returns to “the only thing we ever knew how to do” — programming difficult movies for difficult people. “We are planning a demi-season of select attractions at the Music Box Theatre. Won’t you join us?” Contrary to recent reports of the death … Continue reading “Chicago Film Society is back screening difficult movies for difficult people”

Reeling 39 LGBTQ+ International Film Festival opens tonight

Today is the Opening Day of Reeling 39! Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival. The festival kicks off September 23 at 7 PM with Peeter Rebane’s FIREBIRD at the Music Box Theatre. There will be a Q&A after the screening with the director Peeter Rebane. FIREBIRD is streaming virtually starting Monday, September 27th and running until … Continue reading “Reeling 39 LGBTQ+ International Film Festival opens tonight”

Chicago International Film Festival announces full lineup of 57th edition

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the full lineup of its 57th edition, running October 13 – 24, 2021. This year’s Festival expands across the City, with screenings at AMC River East 21, Music Box Theatre, Gene Siskel Film Center, drive-in screenings at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen, and neighborhood pop-up screenings at Bronzeville’s historic Parkway … Continue reading “Chicago International Film Festival announces full lineup of 57th edition”

The Chicago International Film Festival announces Opening Night film

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the opening night film at its Opening Night at the Drive-In presentation, and more highlights of the 57th edition, running October 13 – 24, 2021. This year, the Festival expands to venues across Chicago, including AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; and the Gene Siskel Film Center; … Continue reading “The Chicago International Film Festival announces Opening Night film”

Reeling39 fest will have vaccine policy for theater screenings

Reeling39: The 39th Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival opens on September 23 at the Music Box Theatre and runs September 24 – 30 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinemas and virtually from September 27 – October 7. Boasting 42 shows including 33 feature films and 9 short film programs, this year’s festival includes films from … Continue reading “Reeling39 fest will have vaccine policy for theater screenings”

‘I Dream of a Psychopomp’ announces Chicago premiere

How Bizarre Pictures just announced the red carpet world premiere screening event for writer/director Danny Villanueva Jr.’s debut feature-length supernatural drama/horror anthology film, I Dream of a Psychopomp. The film, which opens in September at the Music Box Theatre, in Chicago, stars Jillian Lebling (Bridge of Spies, The Blacklist), Elohim Peña, Ben Shaul, Peter Knox, … Continue reading “‘I Dream of a Psychopomp’ announces Chicago premiere”

RLHTalent signs Chicago actor/comedian Alex Ortiz

RLHTalent has signed Chicago, Illinois, actor/comedian Alex Ortiz. Alex, labeled the “Boriqua Beast of Comedy,” is one of the fastest rising stars in the comedy world today. Along with working comedy clubs around the world, and his many TV appearances (HBOs Bad Boyz Of Comedy, Comedy Centrals Premium Blend, Who Got Jokes, and Winning Showtime at the … Continue reading “RLHTalent signs Chicago actor/comedian Alex Ortiz”

16th CineYouth Festival announces winners

CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced award winners for its expanded 2021 edition, comprising films accepted for the pandemic-preempted 2020 edition plus a new slate of films submitted for the 2021 festival. These include Best Drama winners She Who Wasn’t Tamed (2020) by 19-year-old Saleh Kashefi of Iran and The Pleasure of Killing Bugs (2021) by 21-year-old Leonardo Martinelli from Brazil. Best Animation went … Continue reading “16th CineYouth Festival announces winners”

Second City Teacher, Marine Vet screens film in GI Fest

Chicago filmmaker and Marine Corps veteran Jonah Saeson is featured in this years GI Film Festival. This veteran turned actor and filmmaker is the director of the GI Festival contending film  The Sweatshirt. This comedic short which blenders Chicago crime show style interbred with sarcastic undertones is about a woman who must negotiate the release … Continue reading “Second City Teacher, Marine Vet screens film in GI Fest”

Kimberly-Clark moving into Chicago’s Fulton Market

Kimberly-Clark, maker of trusted brands including Huggies, Cottonelle, Kleenex and Depend, will expand their presence in Chicago with a new commercial center for its North American consumer products business. “Kimberly-Clark’s move to Illinois is just the latest sign that our investments in talent, innovation and digital infrastructure are not only paying off for residents but … Continue reading “Kimberly-Clark moving into Chicago’s Fulton Market”

‘Dreaming Grand Avenue’ director Hugh Schulze

Dreaming Grand Avenue, produced by Newcity’s Chicago Film Project, is the story of Maggie and Jimmy, who have never met, but they keep showing up in each other’s dreams. As they navigate memories, traumas, hopes and desires in sleep and the waking world, they’ll discover the truth of their linked destiny with the help of … Continue reading “‘Dreaming Grand Avenue’ director Hugh Schulze”

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List

Congratulations to our friends and advertisers who have received nominations for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy. The 62nd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will broadcast virtually in November. Regions covered by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter include Chicago, Illinois; Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin. Here is the complete list … Continue reading “2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List”

CIFF announces Gardner as keynote speaker

The Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, has announced this year’s Industry Keynote conversation with Academy Award-winning producer and president of Plan B Entertainment Dede Gardner. Her credits include 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight. Both presented at past editions of the Festival. Additionally, Industry Days will host master classes with Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter … Continue reading “CIFF announces Gardner as keynote speaker”

Tribute to Planes, Trains and Automobiles set for remake

As sure as Neal Page did not welcome Del Griffith, I can not say that I welcome a remake of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Consider this my tribute to the memory of the original. This film is particularly dear to my heart because I traveled through half of the country shooting the original with Steve … Continue reading “Tribute to Planes, Trains and Automobiles set for remake”

Chicago filmmaker Kris Rey talks about her 4th feature

Chicago filmmaker, Kris Rey talks with Reel Chicago about the making of her newly released indie feature “I Used to Go Here” opening today at the Music Box. It’s always fun watching a film and seeing local Chicago names, faces, and locations being showcased.  Couple that with the talented female filmmaker, Kris Rey who is making … Continue reading “Chicago filmmaker Kris Rey talks about her 4th feature”

Chicago-made ‘I Used to Go Here’ has drive-in premiere

The Chicago premiere of the critically acclaimed, bittersweet comedy I Used To Go Here, featuring in-person Q&As with Chicago-based writer/director Kris Rey, will take place on Wednesday, July 29 (two screenings) at ChiTown Movies Drive-In Theater.  The event is co-presented by two of the city’s most-respected cinematic institutions—Elevated Films and Music Box Theatre—and audience members can enjoy … Continue reading “Chicago-made ‘I Used to Go Here’ has drive-in premiere”

Cinepocalypse names Katie Rife new Senior Programmer

Cinepocalypse — Chicago’s premiere annual genre festival, produced and presented by the Music Box Theatre — is proud to bring in the New Year with the announcement of Katie Rife as new Senior Programmer of the festival. Rife, a Senior Writer for The A.V. Club who previously helmed the festival’s shorts programming, joins ahead of … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse names Katie Rife new Senior Programmer”

The biggest stories of 2019

The City of Chicago reigned supreme in 2019. Advertising agencies blended social justice with clever branding. Content creators reinforced Chicago’s reputation for inclusivity. Film studios entertained the nation while helping the local neighborhoods. And a handful of friends said goodbye. Below is a list of Reel Chicago’s top articles for 2019, separated by category and … Continue reading “The biggest stories of 2019”

Chicago Film Society unveils 2020 season schedule

This week, the Chicago Film Society unveiled its multi-venue 2020 film schedule in a press release of superior charm, detail, and creativity. The lineup contains enough screenings to satisfy the appetite of any cinemaficionado. Listed in the second part of the text below, it follows an introduction that is a joy to read. So without … Continue reading “Chicago Film Society unveils 2020 season schedule”

Interview with Oscar winning-editor Paul Hirsch

Film Editor Paul Hirsch achieved success long before he started working on Planes, Trains & Automobiles in 1987. Besides winning the Academy Award for his work on Star Wars nearly a decade earlier, the native New Yorker had earned a place among the greats for a batch of early 1970s collaborations with Brian DePalma. But … Continue reading “Interview with Oscar winning-editor Paul Hirsch”

Advertising Community Shorts night lineup

Midwest Independent Film Festival’s popular annual industry tradition tomorrow night at Landmark Century The advertising and independent filmmaking communities converge for an inspiring night of short films as First Tuesdays with The Midwest Independent Film Festival hosts its tenth annual Advertising Community Shorts Night on Tuesday, November 5th. The evening will open at 6 p.m. … Continue reading “Advertising Community Shorts night lineup”

Cinespace at the Chicago 48 Hour Film Project Awards

World-class studio’s Manager of Ops, Dino Mirkopoulos, to attend 2019 Awards Screening at Music Box Theatre on September 25th The Chicago 48 Hour Film Project Premiere Screenings return to the Music Box Theatre September 22nd through the 23rd with the Red Carpet Best of Chicago Awards taking place on September 25th. The screenings spotlight 45 … Continue reading “Cinespace at the Chicago 48 Hour Film Project Awards”

Facets announces Children’s Film Fest schedule

Breathtaking in their beauty, the program selections offer kids and teens the opportunity to engage Facets’ 36th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival will present an Official Selection of 248 films from 49 countries from November 1 – 10, 2019 at Facets, Music Box Theatre, Davis Theater, University of Chicago: Reva and David Logan Center … Continue reading “Facets announces Children’s Film Fest schedule”

IFP throws first annual fundraiser at Lagunitas

Event auction prizes include lunch with IFO Director Peter Hawley, CFO Director Kwame Amoaku, and Cinespace Chicago President Alex Pissios IFP Chicago’s new associate board is proud to announce that their first annual fundraiser will be hosted by Lagunitas at the Lagunitas brewery facility near Cinespace Studios at 2607 W 17th St. on September 30, … Continue reading “IFP throws first annual fundraiser at Lagunitas”

Reeling to showcase a load of Chicago-connected films

The annual LGBTQ+ fest will screen work by Lilly Wachowski, Jesús Canchola Sánchez, Michael Cicetti, Wendy Jo Carlton, Laura Madalinski, and more Reeling, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ film festival, will host international, national and local actors and filmmakers at its 37th edition, unspooling September 19-29 at Music Box Theatre, Landmark Theatres’ Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers. … Continue reading “Reeling to showcase a load of Chicago-connected films”

ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda

Master Classes with Oscar and Sundance winners are just a few of the events scheduled for October 17-20 program     The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced today the program for Industry Days (October 17-20, 2019) with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the film and entertainment community.   A … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda”

Stop Us Before We Disrupt Again

Chicago Film Society unveils lineup for Season 24, “dedicated to exhibiting neglected works of cinema in their original medium” The streets of Chicago are clogged with scooters in a cutthroat competition for marketshare, behemoth commercial landlord The We Company (nee WeWork) has positioned itself as a tech company in anticipation of its IPO, and Disney … Continue reading “Stop Us Before We Disrupt Again”

2019 Reeling LGBTQ film festival

From ‘Shiny Shrimps’ to ‘Scream Queen,’ the annual Windy City tradition promises to entertain, inspire, amuse, arouse and break a few hearts Reeling, the second-oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world and a beloved Chicago cultural institution for more than 35 years, kicks off fall with an exciting slate of movies that showcases the diversity … Continue reading “2019 Reeling LGBTQ film festival”

2019 Chicago Film Festival Symposium

Event will unite nearly 40 festivals to “better understand our collective work as an industry” The first-ever Chicago Film Festival Symposium will bring together Chicago-area film festival stakeholders for an industry-wide discussion addressing shared challenges and opportunities. Continental breakfast, lunch, and cocktail reception are included with the $20 registration fee. Learn more and register here. … Continue reading “2019 Chicago Film Festival Symposium”

Cinepocalypse announces 2019 winners

Third annual Chicago genre festival closes with big stars, big winners, and record-shattering audiences The Music Box Theatre is honored to announce the juried winners of the 2019 edition of Cinepocalypse. ALSO READ: Danzig launches Cinepocalypse with sold-out show   Best Film, Best Director Led by The Lost Boys and Falling Down director Joel Schumacher, … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse announces 2019 winners”

Danzig launches Cinepocalypse with sold-out show

The legendary artist packed the house with devoted fans for the world premiere of his first film ‘Verotika’ Cinepocalypse made nightmares come true at the Music Box Theatre last night. Putting Glenn Danzig into a room full of fans who came for the world premiere of his directorial debut, Verotika, it launched this year’s program … Continue reading “Danzig launches Cinepocalypse with sold-out show”

Matzke’s ‘Orchestra’ to screen at Cinepocalypse

With virtually no dialogue and a cast of one, the five-minute film rides a mysterious symphony into a frightening climax Chicago filmmaker Curtis Matzke’s short horror film, The Orchestra, will screen Sunday night and Monday afternoon during Cinepocalypse 2019 at the Music Box Theater. The Orchestra is a six-minute, one-act thriller set in a grandiose … Continue reading “Matzke’s ‘Orchestra’ to screen at Cinepocalypse”

Cinepocalypse unveils 2019 lineup

The June 13-20 Music Box Theatre fest opens with the World Premiere of Glenn Danzig’s “Verotika” Cinepocalypse, Chicago’s premiere festival for electrifying and provocative genre cinema, returns to the Music Box Theatre June 13th for eight days of features, shorts, events and surprises, including eight fantastic break-out world premieres! We’re proud to announce our new … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse unveils 2019 lineup”

2019 CineYouth audience and jury awards

”No Such Sunrise” and “Mad Lib Pixie Dream Girl” earn top honors from passionate global audience CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced award winners for the 2019 program that was held April 26-28 at the Music Box Theatre. No Such Sunrise — by 22 year olds Dana Brandes-Simon, Laura Li, and Cella Wright from Oberlin, … Continue reading “2019 CineYouth audience and jury awards”

2019 Chicago Critics Film Festival

Highlights include 40th Anniversary screening of “Alien”, Chicago premiere of Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday”, guests Jay Duplass, Tatiana Maslany, Tom Skerritt, Jim Gaffigan The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, today announces the complete lineup, schedule and special guests expected … Continue reading “2019 Chicago Critics Film Festival”

Throwback Thursday: ‘Barbershop 2’ to film here

Sixteen years ago, Founder Ruth Ratny reported on the status of a highly anticipated sequel and the fate of Chicago Studio City Editor’s Note: Beginning today, Reel Chicago will do its own ‘Throwback Thursday’ featuring stories from our archives. The following article was originally published on March 21, 2003. Chicago Studio City is still going … Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: ‘Barbershop 2’ to film here”

‘Jawline’ to open CineYouth Festival

Director Liza Mandelup’s teen-focused doc that wowed at Sundance screens April 26 at the Music Box CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, today announced the Opening Night presentation of award-winning documentary Jawline, directed by Liza Mandelup, which had its world at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Jawline follows 16-year-old Austyn Tester, a rising star in the … Continue reading “‘Jawline’ to open CineYouth Festival”

CineYouth unveils 2019 film and program schedule

Cinema/Chicago’s young filmmaker celebration will light up the Music Box Theatre with 64 films screening April 26-28 Celebrating its 15th edition in 2019, CineYouth, presented by Cinema/Chicago, yesterday announced the selection of 64 thrilling and diverse short films for a weekend of free screenings, discussions, and events. The three-day film festival will be held April … Continue reading “CineYouth unveils 2019 film and program schedule”

Chicago-made ‘Knockout’ is going to Cannes

Alley Cake’s story about a female boxer becomes second 48 Hour Film Project winner to screen in the Côte d’Azur Chicago-made Knockout, a seven-minute short completed during last year’s 48 Hour Film Project, will screen at the 2019 Cannes Short Film Corner. Created by Alley Cake Films, it becomes the second consecutive 48HFP to earn … Continue reading “Chicago-made ‘Knockout’ is going to Cannes”

Chicago International Film Festival call for entries

Submit work by July 8 (late deadline) to be considered for CIFF’s 55th annual run, October 16-27 The Chicago International Film Festival has announced entries are now being accepted for all programs of the Festival’s 55th edition taking place October 16-27, 2019. Filmmakers can now submit feature-length, documentary, and short films on the Festival’s website … Continue reading “Chicago International Film Festival call for entries”

NoiseFloor helps Jon Heder save the world

The Chicago company “put all hands on deck” to handle music and sound for Kendall Goldberg’s feature starring the Napoleon Dynamite sensation NoiseFloor provided full post production sound services and music supervision for director Kendall Goldberg’s first feature film, When Jeff Tried to Save the World. Jeff is the story of an old-school bowling alley … Continue reading “NoiseFloor helps Jon Heder save the world”

CineYouth 2019 Film Festival call for entries

North America’s longest-running competitive film festival seeks work by filmmakers aged 22-years-old and younger Submissions for CineYouth 2019 are now open! Created in 2005, Cinema/Chicago’s CineYouth Film Festival is designed to encourage youth filmmakers in their creative endeavors. CineYouth provides opportunities for young filmmakers to articulate themselves artistically, and have their voice heard. Held annually … Continue reading “CineYouth 2019 Film Festival call for entries”

Oscar-winner Friedkin to host Facets Film Summit

Chicago Public School students get a free master class from the director of “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” (Chicago — 4 October 2018) Facets will present their second Chicago Film Summit on Friday, October 12, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613). … Continue reading “Oscar-winner Friedkin to host Facets Film Summit”

Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule

Headliners include Oscar-­winning director Steve McQueen, Emmy-­nominated writer Bashir Salahuddin, and award-­winning producers Albert Berger and Bob Teitel (Chicago — 26 September 2018) The complete program of Industry Days (Oct. 11­14) at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival was announced today with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the Midwest film … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule”

“Knockout” wins Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project

Like all the submissions, the dialogue, editing, and direction reflect a film that was revised, rehearsed, and shot over and over again Alley Cake Films’ short film, Knockout, was named Best Picture of the 14th annual 48 Hour Film Project Chicago during an awards ceremony at the Music Box Theater last night. The story of … Continue reading ““Knockout” wins Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project”

My own personal 48-hour filmmaking experience

Reel Chicago’s Julia Sarata offers a play-by-play recollection of her participation in this year’s 48 Hour Film Project     After covering the 48-Hour Mixer in June — an event where filmmakers gather and, ideally, join forces to compete in a two-day filmmaking competition — I signed up as a scriptwriter for the team I … Continue reading “My own personal 48-hour filmmaking experience”

Cinepocalypse announces 2018 award winners

A record-shattering sophomore year of the Chicago genre festival comes to a close with big audiences, big stars, and big winners   (Chicago, Illinois — 29 June 2018) The Music Box Theatre is honored to announce the juried winners of the 2018 edition of Cinepocalypse. As the festival wraps today, it is also immensely proud … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse announces 2018 award winners”

Chicago Critics Film Festival highlights, lineup

OPENING — Fast Color With Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jordan Horowitz in attendance   CLOSING — Eighth Grade With filmmaker Bo Burnham in attendance     (Chicago, IL) The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, ​today announces the complete lineup, … Continue reading “Chicago Critics Film Festival highlights, lineup”

Clare Cooney’s “Runner” at Chicago Critics Film Festival

First-time filmmaker Clare Cooney’s award-winning short film, Runner, will screen at this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival. It will open the shorts program on Sunday May 6th at 2:30pm at The Music Box Theatre. Runner is a psychological thriller about a woman who witnesses an accidental murder and must choose between intervention and her own … Continue reading “Clare Cooney’s “Runner” at Chicago Critics Film Festival”

Chicago-made “Hammersmith” going to Cannes

The eight-minute short, HAMMERSMITH: Hurdle Of Dreams, will be the first submission from Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project to screen at the Short Film Corner program of the Cannes Film Festival. Opening with an impeccably crafted foot-chase over a tribal percussion track, Hurdle Of Dreams was shot and finished within two days by Chicago-based Kalopsia … Continue reading “Chicago-made “Hammersmith” going to Cannes”

Chicago Film Society screens classic 16 & 35mm films

THE CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY, which changed its name from the Northwest Film Society, starts a new season of 15 vintage films Wednesday, Jan. 11, with the 1947 thriller “Nightmare Alley,” at the Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University, one of the series’ screening venues, along with the Music Box Theatre, the Logan Center for the Arts and the University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center.

Timely doc “Raising Bertie” screens at Siskel Center

THE FIRST THEATRICAL RUN of Kartemquin’s and Beli Film’s award-winning feature doc, “Raising Bertie” produced and directed by Margaret Byrne, screens Nov. 18-19, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Set in North Carolina’s rural Bertie County, the doc is a six-year portrait of three African American boys growing into adulthood as they grapple with unemployment, violence, first love, fatherhood and the complex relationships between generational poverty, economic isolation and educational inequity.

Vince Vaughn finally sells his Mag Mile penthouse

VINCE VAUGHN IS GONE from Chicago, that is, he finally sold the three-story penthouse atop the Palmolive Building at 919 N. Michigan for a total $12.1 million, a little more than he originally paid for it and after splitting it into three different units.

Lake Forest native Vaughn bought the penthouse in 2006 for $12 million while he and Jennifer Aniston were in Chicago filming (and also dating) the rom-com feature “The Break Up.”

Best 48HFP teams win 27 Judges and Audience Awards

The 12th annual Chicago 48 Hour Film Project wound up with a presentation to 27 winning teams, out of 53 entrants, whose short weekend-made films were deemed best by judges and audiences, at Music Box Theatre last Thursday night.

“It was an amazing show and the talent, enthusiasm and excitement that our Chicago filmmakers brought to the competition was truly inspiring,” comments Jerry Vasilatos of Nitestar Productions, who produced the event for the second consecutive year.

48 Hour “Best of Chicago” awards screening Thursday

Judges and audiences of the 12th Chicago 48 Hour Film Project have weighed in with their decisions on the 21 films that will receive “Best of Chicago” awards at the Music Box screening Thursday, Sept. 15.

The Audience Award film is among them – “and it will be announced at the screening,” says Jerry Vasilatos, the 48 Hour city producer of the event for the second consecutive year.

Chicago’s 12th 48 Hour Film Project kicks off July 31

The 48 Hour Film Project is back in Chicago for the 12th year of weekend filmmaking and director / editor Jerry Vasilatos of Nitestar Productions is helming it for the second year.

The winning short will compete for special prizes with 48HFP films from 130 cities around the world where more than 60,000 people will participate in the filmmaking weekend.

A meet-and-greet on Sunday, July 31 will launch Chicago’s 48HFP at the Music Box Lounge, which adjoins the Music Box Theatre, where all completed local films will be showcased.

Eventful: Special screenings, seminars & festivals

THEATRE TALK SERIES, hosted by the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) and the Music Box Theatre, selected “Cartel Land” for its July 10 screening.  Directed by Matthew Heinman, the story is a harrowing look at two vigilante groups their shared enemy, the Mexican drug cartels.

Leo Burnett wins an armload of the CAF’s Addy Awards

NO SURPRISE THAT LEO BURNETT, which, with its several other agency  divisions, dominated the CAF-sponsored nominations with five out of six nods for Agency of the Year, won the Agency of the Year award.  And no surprise, either, that its P&G client was voted Client of the Year undoubtedly for its Always #Like a Girl” campaign.

AICP Show the climax of November’s many activities

11/7 GREEK FILM FESTIVAL FILM HELLENES  opens two different venues, the Patio Theatre and the Gene Siskel Film Center for the US premiere of “The Grocer.” This award-winning film by director Dimitris Koutsiabasakos will be preceded by student-filmmaker Stella Kyriakopoulos’ short, “Bob Goes to the Parthenon.” Thereafter, the festival of Greek storyteller in countries throughout the world takes place exclusively at the Patio

It’s that time again: Optimus Block Party on Aug. 2

OPTIMUS 18TH ANNUAL BLOCK PARTY is right around the corner on Friday, Aug. 2 (always the first Friday in August) bringing together clients, colleagues and friends for its annual summer afternoon-into-night of fun.  “Yes, we’ll have a special guest as always,” someone well known and unexpected promises Gretchen Praeger, VP/managing director of Optimus post, and one of the party planners. 

70-80 teams to produce 48 Hour shorts over a weekend

More than 70 film teams participating in the upcoming Chicago 48 Hour Film Project, will meet and mingle with their competitors Tuesday, July 23 at the Rooftop on Joe’s Bar on Weed at 6 p.m. in advance of the sleepless, hectic Aug. 9-11 production weekend.

Chicago is one of 128 worldwide cities where some 60,000 people will collaborate on a short 4-7 minute film for the excitement of beating the clock, local bragging rights, prizes and a screening at Cannes.

MWFF 2013 season opens with Looby’s ‘Be Good’ feature

TODD LOOBY’S FEATURE BE GOOD opens Midwest Independent Film Festival’s 2013 season Feb. 5.  The Chicago-made indie, written and directed by Looby, stars Amy Seimetz (of recent Sundance selection Upstream Color) as a new mother making the tough adjustment back to the work world, and Thomas J. Madden (Looby’s Lefty) as her husband, an independent filmmaker balking at his new childcare duties. 

Energy BBDO ends 80 year Wrigley Bldg. tenure Friday

ENERGY BBDO ON FRIDAY moves out of three floors at the 410 N. Michigan Wrigley Building, after an 80 year tenancy begun by its predecessor agency, to updated new offices south across the river at 225 N. Michigan Ave.

Friday will be a work-at-home day for the agency’s 250 staffers while the physical move takes place.  On Monday they will report to their home on the entire 15th floor and part of the 14th floor of the modern glass and steel high-rise. 

So few ACIP honors for Chicago they’re invisible

CHICAGO AGENCY APPEARANCES on the prestigious AICP Show Reel or agency honors list were virtually non-existent.  The 21st annual AICP Show and the NEXT Awards, was held June 12 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and attended by a number of local adfolk who apparently weren’t going to Cannes next week.

Architecture Film Fest fittingly in Chicago, 4/12-16

If there is one thing Chicago is known for, aside from the blues, our corrupt politicians and the world’s best hot dogs, it’s our architecture.   So it’s fitting we have become the home of the Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF), for its third year.

The festival, running April 12-16 at the Music Box theatre, will showcase films from 13 countries, including 12 Chicago premieres, plus discussions with filmmakers, architects, designers and industry leaders.

“Limelight” nightclub doc also a lesson in marketing

You really had to be there — to appreciate fully the new documentary film about fallen nightclub magnate Peter Gatien titled “Limelight, the Rise and Fall of New York’s Greatest Nightclub Empire,” as well as the marketing tale that is part of it. 

It helps to have lived through what was unquestionably one of the high-water marks in the — truth be told — less-than-glittery history of Chicago nightclubs.

The film will play a very limited engagement at the Music Box Theater in Chicago on Oct. 14th and 20th.

Ministry movie opener for CIMMfest, April 14-17

Movies and music will be brought together when 70 films from more than 20 countries will screen April 14-17 at CIMMfest – the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival — at more than a dozen venues mostly located in the Bucktown-Wicker Park area.

“We chose to centralize the festival activities to make it easier for people to attend all of the events,” said Josh Chicoine, who co-directs CIMMFest with Ilko Davidson.

A year later, Leopold’s Sudan doc comes home

Early last April, Malachi Leopold of Left Brain/Right Brain Productions departed for the Sudan to shoot a short documentary about the reunion of Kuek Garang, one of 27,000 “lost” Sudanese boys, and his parents.

Now, one year later, Leopold’s “22 Years From Home” has its Chicago premiere April 23 at Chicago Filmmakers and another screening April 27 at the Music Box.

Garang fled the second Sudanese Civil War at age 6 for refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, settling in Chicago as a young man.

Garang is president of the Chicago Association of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Gary to be transformed into the Ukraine

GARY, INDIANA WILL DOUBLE for the Urkaine in “Transformers 3,” which is a welcome twist as all too many times European cities are passed off as U.S. locales, in pre-shoots April 12-13 at the Majestic Star Casino at Buffington Harbor. In this scene, robotic vehicles will approach industrial property near the Casino.

Foundation signs editor Jonathan Del Gatto

On a recent Friday, a harried DDB producer called Foundation Content with a rushed last minute job for H&R Block. On Saturday, Foundation’s Damian Riddell directed a live people shoot on Foundation’s stage, edited it on Sunday and delivered it to the agency on Monday.

All in a day’s work for the city’s pioneer hybrid post/production company, celebrating its sixth anniversary this month.

Chicago makes presence known at SXSW festival

Chicago has a particularly strong lineup this year at the increasingly influential South by Southwest Film Festival, running March 12-20 in Austin, Texas.

In the lineup are documentary premieres tied to Kartemquin and IFP/Chicago, narrative premieres from Frank V. Ross and Music Box Films, and a film and performance from Califone.

In “No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson,” produced by Kartemquin Films for ESPN’s 30th anniversary “30 for 30” documentary series, “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James returns to his native Hampton, Virginia.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman at premiere of his movie

OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR Phillip Seymour Hoffman will appear Jan. 28 at the Music Box for a special screening of his directorial debut, “Jack Goes Boating.” It’s a story about two working-class New Yorkers, Hoffman and Amy Ryan, who are brought together on the brink of divorce.

Tickets are $15 and available at the Music Box or through

“Jack” will have its world premiere at Sundance, Jan. 21-31. Chicago was chosen as one of eight cities across the country to play the film simultaneously with its Sundance world premiere at Sundance.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Harold Ramis

DIRECTOR HAROLD RAMIS receives the “Just for Laughs” Lifetime Achievement Award at the red carpet screening of Columbia Pictures’ “Year One” at the Music Box, June 16.

The special screening is the kickoff for the TBS Presents A Very Funny Festival: Just for Laughs Chicago and is being showcased locally before its June 19 national release.

DePaul MFA’s digital feature goes big screen

Digital feature “Four,” the 40-minute, ambitious MFA thesis film of writer/director Patrick Wimp, the first-ever MFA graduate of DePaul University’s Digital Cinema program, will premiere June 10 at the Music Box.

The four separate stories were partly inspired by C.S.

Kartemquin fills two important new positions

KARTEMQUIN FILMS’ LONG RANGE PLANS under executive director Justine Nagan are taking shape with two new additions.

Martin Perdoux is the new Director of Development, the former Associate Director of Development at the School of the Art Institute and faculty in its graduate-level art therapy program. Earlier he was with Columbia College’s interdisciplinary Arts graduate program.

Jacinta Banks, who spent seven years at Kraft Foods in project management, joined as Distribution Associate.

Split Pillow has three films in progress

Among the three films Split Pillow has in the works are a feature that starts shooting in May, and a documentary in progress that will finish shooting this year.

In the meantime, the collaborative will premiere “Chicago 360:Play,” the fourth installment of its “Chicago 360” documentary, May 20 at the Music Box Theatre at 7 p.m.

“We work only with Chicago talent and subjects, and we want to be a presence in the community rather than a fly-by-night production company,” says executive producer Dennis Belogorsky.

Avenue Edit equipment auction went “very well”

THE SALE OF EQUIPMENT AND FIXTURES at the Avenue Edit auction earlier month “did very well,” although auctioneer Paul Finn of the Boston-based auction house could not reveal how much money was raised by the sale.

He did say, however, that 100 customers were in the house and another 100 bid via the internet. Proceeds from the auction will be used to pay Avenue Edit’s creditors.

FYI: The DGA will bestow an honorary life membership on Roger Ebert at the guild’s Jan. 31 awards dinner in L.A. ?

Dobson’s Radio Hall of Fame induction stays

THE RADIO HALL OF FAME induction of controversial conservative broadcaster Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” stays, regardless of protests to the contrary by gay and other anti-bigotry groups.

Bruce DuMont, president/founder of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Radio Hall of Fame sponsor, defended Dr. Dobson’s nomination by the RHOF steering committee. “Radio is an industry predicated on free speech — Dr.

Michael Caplan’s “Magical Visions” doc previews; local filmmaker wins national WIF finishing fund

MICHAEL CAPLAN previewed a screening of his documentary, “A Magical Vision,” a portrait of magician, philosopher and “celebrated teacher of the magic arts,” Eugene Berger June 5 at Film Row Cinema.

The film delves into Berger’s approach to magic and its link to shamanistic traditions as well as the work of Berger and his colleagues as innovators in contemporary magic performance.

DP was Chris Peppey, Bryan McHenry provided the animation and motion graphics, Sharon Zurek of Black Cat Films edited.

Gamebeat Studios wins the Lottery — music house to score big Summer Campaign spot package

A NICE 10TH ANNIVERSARY PRESENT for Darryl S. Duncan’s Gamebeat Studios was landing the scoring assignment for the Illinois Lottery’s Summer Campaign for the second year in a row.

Gamebeat will compose music for three TV and two radio spots each for the urban market, with version for general and Hispanic markets for lottery agency R.J. Dale and producer Darryl Manuel.

A former songwriter for Warner Bros. and A&M records in Hollywood, Duncan founded his company in April, 1998. He employs seven and works out of a 3,000-sq. ft.

Midnight preview for thriller “Art of Pain,” one of two Matt Jones-produced indies in festival release

In a clever bit of satirical casting, the role of a George Romero-like horrormeister in “The Art of Pain” is portrayed by Lloyd Kaufman, president of New York-based Troma Entertainment.

Troma is famous in worldwide cult circles for its low-budget genre-bending films (e.g. “”The Toxic Avenger” franchise) that are not unlike Romero’s lengthy career output.

Zabba-Zabba Productions’ comedy/thriller appropriately screens at midnight May 24 at the Music Box before heading off to the festival circuit.

Matt Brookens wrote and directed, and Matthew M.

Local features abound in Lake County Film Festival Feb. 28-March 3; focus on indies, fewer venues

The 5th annual Lake County Film Festival continues its steady growth this year to 17 narrative features, 17 documentary features and 100-plus short films.

The festival, Feb. 28 to March 3, is housed this year at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, where festival director Nat Dykeman also runs monthly independent screenings.

“We were able to program so much stuff this year, which is great,” Dykeman said. “I think we’re the second biggest festival in Illinois now in terms of number of screenings.”

Chicago-connected films and filmmakers head for Sundance; “Obama in Africa” gets local premiere

CHEVY CHASE hosts an evening at Sundance for the world premiere of Phil Ranstrom’s doc, “Electrified: The Story of the Maxwell St. Urban Blues” Jan 25 at Harry O’s in Park City.

Narrated by Chicago native Joe Mantegna, “Electrified” tells how Maxwell Street’s neighborhood led to the hard driving sound of the urban blues and ultimately to rock ?n’ roll.

Ranstrom’s companion film, “Cheat You Fair,” documents the last days of Maxwell Street market. Ranstrom began both projects in 1994 shortly before the Maxwell Street market was demolished.

Recommended by former boss, Dave Pavlik moves to Canon USA as regional sales director

IT’S A RARE THING when an employer recommends one of his star staffers to another company. But that’s what Fletcher Chicago’s Tom Fletcher did when Canon USA marketing exec Larry Thorpe asked him for suggestions.

Fletcher said Dave Pavlik was his man. Thorpe agreed and Pavlik was hired as Canon USA’s regional sales director.

Pavlik had been with the company for 12 years as sales and rental coordinator and most recently a coordinator in Fletcher’s sports division.

One feature in post, one in development for Hurt McDermott’s 2-picture deal with Akru Productions

Filmmaker Hurt McDermott is editing “Black Mail,” the first film in his two-picture deal for executive producer Andrzej Krukowski’s Akru Productions.

In development is the much larger “The Crazy Locomotive,” to be produced for more than $1 million in 2008.

“Black Mail,” is an unromantic comedy about a marriage after the romance has gone out,” which shot here last summer. Taylor Nichols (“Barcelona”) stars as a man who’s being blackmailed over a love letter that he wrote.

Chicago’s comedy bones to tickle with first ever Comedy TV Pilot Competition ? March 27 deadline

The Chicago Comedy TV Pilot Competition, designed to embellish Chicago’s stellar reputation for comedy, will bow at the Music Box Theatre next July.

Presented by Wits’ End Productions and the Chicago Film Office, the competition will be judged by savvy jury of Hollywood TV show executives and offer a sizable cash prize.

Deadline is March 27, which gives filmmakers and producers ample time to turn their ideas for TV shows into pilots, said Marion Sours, founder/director of Wits’ End.

Cubs fantasy doc with many Chicago movie stars screens Aug. 31 to benefit Children’s Memorial

Matt Liston’s feature-length “Chasing October: A Fan’s Crusade,” about a crazy fan who will do anything to get the Cubs into the World Series debuts Aug. 31 at the Music Box to benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Comedian-actor Liston, a Chicagoan who lives in L.A., describes it as a hybrid?a documentary with scripted scenes.

“We shot the documentary for four years and I wrote a script around the scenes we had in place,” he said.

High Level Video owner Chip Eberhart revisits his House Music roots in doc “Unusual Suspects”

Chip Eberhart is out to set the record straight about the music he helped create.

Eberhart, who runs the post house High Level Video, was one of the pioneers of Chicago House Music in the 1980’s as Chip E.

Now a commercial and music video director, editor and DVD author, Eberhart decided to revisit his musical roots after seeing the BBC documentary “Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music.”

“They tried to write themselves into the story, when clearly House Music is a Chicago story,” Eberhart recalled.

Five Chicago features, two Sundance selections in Chicago Underground Film Festival Aug. 18-25

A heavy dose of hard-hitting politics joins the staples of transgressive and experimental cinema at the 12th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, which runs Aug. 18-25 in its new home at the Music Box Theatre.

CUFF 12 includes 13 narrative features, nine documentary features, 18 narrative shorts, 29 documentary shorts, 89 experimental shorts, and six animations.

Screenings, Festivals, Events, Etc.

LAUREN FISCHER is hitting her stride as a recognized screenwriter. On Aug. 31 her “Wish I Might”?winner of the 2005 IFP/Chicago-Chicago Scriptworks contest?will have a staged reading by Chicago Scriptworks at the Cultural Center.

“Wish I Might” is the story of two teenaged stepsisters and the one wish that will either bring them together or tear their family apart. It’s also a semi-finalist in the 2005 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

Making it Up: An interview with David Pasquesi, improv powerhouse, busy actor and show creator

A leading improviser and comic actor, David Pasquesi has appeared in films including “The Fugitive” and “Father of the Bride,” and Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day” and “Stuart Saves His Family.” His TV credits include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Common Ground,” and “Strangers with Candy.”

Pasquesi has roles in two locally-shot features due out later this year: Ramis’ “Ice Harvest,” and former standup partner Jeff Garlin’s “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With.” He’s also in the forthcoming film version of “Strangers with Candy.”

Pasquesi and Steppenwolf company member Tracy Letts premier

Independent Production Roundup

HURT McDERMOTT has taken home another screenplay award for the dystopian thriller “Nightingale in a Music Box,” which he wrote and directed, the first feature for the distinguished playwright.

“Nightingale” just picked up the best script honor at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, following a similar award at last year’s Slamdance Film Festival. Kelley Hazen, Catherine O’Connor, and Andrzej Krukowski star. Todd Slotten and Leigh Jones produced.


Festivals, Screenings, Events, Etc.

CHICAGO FILMMAKERS’ Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival June 16-18 opens with a program featuring a who’s who of avant-garde heavyweights:

Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Michelangelo Eye to Eye,” Michael Snow’s “Sshtoorrty,” Jonas Mekas’ “Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” Kenneth Anger’s “Mouse Heaven,” Ernie Gehr’s “Precarious Garden,” Peter Kubelka’s “Poerty and Truth,” and Ken Jacobs’ “Mountaineer Spinning.”

At 8 p.m. June 16 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State.

Festivals, Screenings, Events, etc.

HURT McDERMOTT’S 2004 Slamdance best screenplay winner, “Nightingale in a Music Box,” has its New York premiere Tuesday, June 7 at 8 p.m. at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.

Kelly Hazen, Catherine O’Connor and Andrzej Krukowski star in the dystopian thriller about a woman on the run for a crime she can’t remember.

“Nightingale” also played the Athens and Mill Valley film festivals. Todd Slotten and Leigh Jones produced. Music by Robert Fripp of King Crimson and Brian Eno of Roxy Music. Sales agent is Seth Kittay of All Channel Films in Los Angeles.

Screenings and Events

EMILY ARMSTRONG and PAT IVERS will be on hand for the May 29 screening of their hour doc “Nightclubbing: Greatest Hits,” a collection of performance footage culled from their ?70s New York public access TV series.

It features performances from Blondie, Talking Heads, Dead Kennedys, Iggy Pop, and the Cramps, at venues including CBGB, the Mudd Club, Max’s Kansas City, Boston’s Rat Club, and Danceteria. Also screening excerpts from “Looking for a Thrill” with Mike Watt of Minutemen and Bettina Richards. Screens at 7:45 p.m. and Thursday, June 2 at 8:30 p.m.

Festivals, screenings, events and more

INDIEFEST CHICAGO has extended the submission deadline to May 10 for the Third Annual Indiefest Film Festival & Market, the only film market in Midwest, which runs July 29-Aug. 7. See


Independent Production Roundup

MICHAEL OJEDA’S debut feature “Lana’s Rain” will be released Jan.18 on DVD by Chatsworth, Calif.-based Image Entertainment. Oksana Orlenko, who won best actress at the 2003 Milan International Film Festival for her role, stars as a Bosnian Croatian refugee who is lured into prostitution by her brother (Nickolai Stoilov) in Chicago.

Joel Goodman produced the $215,000 “Lana’s Rain” through his and Ojeda’s Reigning Pictures. The picture shot in Chicago and Croatia between 1999 and 2001.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes

Three Hollywood stars from Chicago will be honored at Showtime’s 8th annual Black Perspectives “Homecoming Celebration” Saturday, Oct. 16 at Thorne Auditorium.

Honorees are Chicago resident, stage and screen veteran Irma P. Hall (“Collateral,” “The Ladykillers”), with nearly 50 films to her credit; Robert Townsend, with close to 20 films to his credit, including “Hollywood Shuffle,” “The Five Heartbeats;” and Harry J. Lennix, (“The Human Stain,” “Matrix Reloaded”).

Presenters are Bonnie DeShong, Stella Foster, Jeanne Sparrow and Robin Robinson.

Art Institute prof’s women’s wrestling doc bows at CIFF before Feb theatrical release

Ruth Leitman’s feature documentary, “Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling,” is one of four Chicago-made features that will premiere during the Oct. 7-21 Chicago International Film Festival.

Koch-Lorber picked up North American rights excluding premium cable for “Lipstick & Dynamite” after its U.S. debut at the Tribeca Film Festival last May.

The company is blowing the picture up to 35mm for a 30-50 city theatrical release next February, said Leitman, a School of the Art Institute professor.

New IFP/Chicago executive director Donius aims for more connected organization

Elizabeth Donius is two months into her job as IFP/ Chicago executive director, the first full-time director in at least 10 years, and she’s excited about enlarging the 400-member organization and making it a more important and useful resource for Chicago’s large and growing indie film community.

“I’ve done film projects and I’m doing film projects, and I know how hard it is to get independent work made,” said Donius.

Leigh Jones busy producing five films; “Nightingale” signs with producer’s rep

Half a year after leaving Bucktown Pictures, independent producer Leigh Jones is keeping a high profile with five films and an educational video series in various stages of development, production and distribution.

Producer Jones and writer/director Hurt McDermott just signed with producer’s rep Seth Kittay of All Channel Films to handle non-theatrical markets for their micro budget psychological thriller “Nightingale in a Music Box.”

Dave Sikich holds

Director Michael Ojeda (left) and producer Joel Goodman will attend the Feb. 27 world theatrical premiere of “Lana’s Rain” at the Music Box.

Local indie “Nightingale” returns from Slamdance with top jury prize

Producer Leigh Jones returned from Slamdance invigorated and justifiably excited as the indie feature she produced for director/writer Hurt McDermott claimed the Jury Honor for Excellence in Writing.

The fact their “Nightingale in a Music Box” was one of only 12 screened in the feature category was a terrific honor for McDermott, an established, Jeff-nominated playwright, co-producer Todd Slotten and all the others involved with the “four figure” sci-fi thriller.

Four-figure “Nightingale” one of 12 features competing at Slamdance

Among the many Chicagoans at Park City, Utah this week is Leigh Jones. She’s not at Sundance, however, but at Slamdance 2004, where the film she produced was one of 12 that made it into the feature competition.

Slamdance, now in its 10th amazing year ? the founders never expected it to last, much less grow ? limits competition features to first-time filmmakers who work with limited budgets and do not have U.S. distribution.

Jones’ sci-fi thriller, “Nightingale in a Music Box,” fits right in.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes 1/7/04

MARTIN ON HIS OWN. Ace editor Alarick Martin amicably departed Spots BME after three-and-a- half years to work as an independent editor. “It was time to move on,” he said. “I’m going to freelance in the short run and see how it goes,” he said, noting he is positioning his talents nationally. Up first is a package of Chrysler/BBDO spots via STS Editorial in Southfield, Michigan, with which he has a work and representation arrangement. Martin is no stranger to the Detroit market; he edited for Griot Editorial for several years. Reach him at 312/909-3876.

November an event filled month

Put your roller skates, get out your notepads and party clothes for the busiest, most informative and social November we’ve seen in years. See details in Calendar.

NOV. 6-9: SHOWBIZ EXPO comes to town for the first time ever in its 20 year history, with 100+ exhibitors and 35 panels discussions. At the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

NOV. 6-9 FIRST ANNUAL CINEME animation festival; opening night gala at Le Meridien hotel. Screenings and seminars at the Biograph and DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. Festival awards Nov 9 at the Cultural Center.

‘Barber Shop 2’ to film here—if Chicago Studio City stages remain open

If Chicago Studio City is sold before the July start date, “Barber Shop 2” could be filmed in in Los Angeles.

“Of course, we’d try to find another place in Chicago,” said line producer Tom Busch of the sequel to George Tillman and Bob Teitel’s “Barber Shop” hit of last summer.

“We’d run the numbers on modifying an alternate location to make it workable. But we may find that it’s cheaper to shoot in L.A.”

He added: “The message that would send to Hollywood as to Illinois’ commitment to filmmaking is frightening.”