Camera Ambassador announces Builders Grant winner

After months of careful consideration & hundreds of community votes, Camera Ambassador introduces this year’s 2021 Community Builders Grant winner Link Wolfe.  His team’s project Zero Mile Mark is a horror short film about a troubled teen who is forcibly sent to a wilderness retreat program in the woods for “rehabilitation.” We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador announces Builders Grant winner”

Camera Ambassador Grant winner Raju faces challenges

This past summer, director and writer Sean Sankalp Raju won the Camera Ambassador Community Builders Grant for his project A Nickname. The autobiographical short film tells the story of how the filmmaker received the moniker, Sean, as an Indian American child. In an economy where funding an independent film is especially difficult, Raju was ecstatic … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador Grant winner Raju faces challenges”

Camera Ambassador holds Assistant Director Boot Camp

Camera Ambassador and the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship collaborate for the virtual event, Assistant Director Boot Camp. Assistant Directors are an integral part of the filmmaking process. They help sets run efficiently, set the tone for the day and lead us through the shooting day with ease. Learn how to become a strong AD or … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador holds Assistant Director Boot Camp”

Camera Ambassador set to reopen May 1st

Chicago camera and equipment rental house Camera Ambassador has announced that it will reopen for business beginning this Friday, May 1st. “Beginning May 1st, we’re officially open with curbside pick up and sanitized equipment! Email us to make your order today!” its Instagram post reads. Subscribe: Sign up for our FREE e-lert here.  Stay on top of … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador set to reopen May 1st”

Camera Ambassador, 2112 launch partnership

Adding an arsenal of rentable gear to a film, music, and tech industry nexus will help Chicago’s production community dial it up to eleven Camera Ambassador and 2112 are going all in to help filmmakers get it done. Through a partnership announced last week, the equipment rental shop and the film incubator are combining their … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador, 2112 launch partnership”

Camera Ambassador announces Builders Grant

Chicago-based equipment rental house to award winning filmmaker with nearly $10K in cash, gear, and goodies Camera Ambassador is offering creators a chance to win nearly $10k worth of funding, gear, and other goodies by way of a Builders Grant designed “to recognize accomplished individuals, as well as provide opportunities for young and emerging artists.” … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador announces Builders Grant”

Camera Ambassador expands with a pair of grip trucks

A 5-ton GMC and a 3-ton Ford are the most recent additions to the Chicago-based, multifunctional vendor and production partner Camera Ambassador added a pair of grip trucks to its rental inventory this summer. Both of the vehicles in the new fleet — a 5-ton GMC and a 3-ton Ford — were customized by founders … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador expands with a pair of grip trucks”

“Femme Pyre” launches new era of film collaboration

“Femme Pyre,” Saturday night’s carnival themed fancy dress party at Camera Ambassador, prompted hundreds of guests to keep going until Sunday morning. This may have been due to the fact that there was a kissing booth, tarot card readers and at least three different kinds of dancers (belly, burlesque and go-go); but still, the event actually made “networking” fun.

IFA Block Party celebrates the growth of the Chicago film industry

IFA Chicago’s inaugural Fall Into Film Block Party event, celebrates the growth of the film industry in Chicago, the arts, creatives & filmmakers, and the local community. Whether you are a creator/filmmaker, member of the community, sponsor, business in the neighborhood or a local community member…all those looking to support our mission – this event … Continue reading “IFA Block Party celebrates the growth of the Chicago film industry”

57th Chicago International Film Festival announces Industry Days

The 57th Chicago International Film Festival announced the program for Industry Days, to be held October 14 – 17, 2021, with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the film and entertainment community.  Highlights include this year’s Keynote talk with Brenda Gilbert, President and Co-Founder of BRON Studios, which has received six Academy … Continue reading “57th Chicago International Film Festival announces Industry Days”

See you at Filmscape 2021 on Cinespace lot this weekend

This weekend, Filmscape 2021 holds their hybrid model of online and in-person events for this year’s event taking place on the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios lot August 28-29. They will be hosting three educational tracks of in-person and online classes, geared towards the needs and interests of those involved in Grip & Electric, Production & … Continue reading “See you at Filmscape 2021 on Cinespace lot this weekend”

Applications now open for the Community Builders Grant

The Community Builders Grant is a short-form film fund and production resources grant sponsored by Camera Ambassador. Their mission is to help build bridges between filmmakers and the community while elevating their production by arming them with the necessary tools to create. This grant supports artists with varying levels of experience, both to recognize accomplished individuals, … Continue reading “Applications now open for the Community Builders Grant”

MFF offers free online Comedy Shorts Program

Just when we needed it the most, the Midwest Film Festival (MFF) is participating in #GivingTuesday by giving viewers access to their Comedy Shorts Program online, free of charge. Originally presented in February as the 2020 season opener program, there are 10 films available to view that touch on a wide variety of topics, all with one goal … Continue reading “MFF offers free online Comedy Shorts Program”

Panasonic’s Virtual Broadcast: Future of Video Production

Virtual experience will feature discussions on industry trends, challenges and technologies impacting live and remote video production as well as news and content creation. WHO:                   Experts from Panasonic’s professional video team: John Baisley, senior vice president, Panasonic Professional Imaging and Visual Systems  Mike Bergeron, senior product manager for live production, Panasonic Systems Solution Company of North America Hamid … Continue reading “Panasonic’s Virtual Broadcast: Future of Video Production”

Zoom Interview: with David and Joan of O’Connor Casting

There are two sides to every camera story: those behind it creating movie magic, and the talented performers in front.  What many may not consider are the people who bridge the gap between the two worlds; one of these departments being Casting.  One company that’s been adjusting during these turbulent times is O’Connor Casting, run … Continue reading “Zoom Interview: with David and Joan of O’Connor Casting”

At Cinespace and beyond. Who’s working today.

Over the past week it’s safe to say that the Illinois film community is doing their best to ensure that their employees are safe during this unfortunate time. In light of worldwide health concerns about the impact from the COVID-19 virus, many have postponed production until further notice. Starting Monday, Cinespace will close the secondary … Continue reading “At Cinespace and beyond. Who’s working today.”

AICP Midwest lists all who are open for business

Reel Chicago supports all efforts of those who are working, boots on the ground, to service their clients during these most difficult times. Below is a list of AICP Midwest members who are open for business, supplied by Lisa Massuer, AICP Midwest President. FROM AICP MIDWEST  Collectively, the National AICP community has been working to … Continue reading “AICP Midwest lists all who are open for business”

Talus Films presents ‘12X12 Showcase’ at Cultural Center

Talus Films, in partnership with DCASE and Camera Ambassador, presents the 12×12 Showcase on March 7th from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. 12×12 is an original film project developed by newly founded Chicago production company, Talus Films. Throughout 2019, the project explored the richness of storytelling by producing 12 collaborations in 12 months. The resulting trio of … Continue reading “Talus Films presents ‘12X12 Showcase’ at Cultural Center”

MFF launches 2020 season under new director Duffy

Erica Duffy, a transplant from San Francisco, has been part of the Chicago film community for 6 years and counting. No stranger to film production, she’s the proud owner of Camera Ambassador, a local rental house in Chicago. Camera Ambassador provides resources and services to filmmakers such as workshops and screenings.  The space also hosts … Continue reading “MFF launches 2020 season under new director Duffy”

Jonathan Becker helps America ‘Do The Parking Spot’

Director Jonathan Becker pulled out all the stops to create Do The Parking Spot a music video for the Chicago-based travel convenience company of the same name. A customized dance move, an ensemble cast, a crowd-sourced video library, a torrential downpour, an Atlanta parking garaged, and a fleet of bright yellow busses with black spots … Continue reading “Jonathan Becker helps America ‘Do The Parking Spot’”

Erica Duffy describes her Midwest Film Fest vision

For the past 15 years, the Midwest Independent Film Festival has been showcasing Midwest filmmakers at monthly screenings known as “First Tuesdays.” Over the past two years, MIFF leadership, board members, and volunteers have weathered personnel changes, programming challenges, and attendance ebbs and flows. Now, the Fest is embarking on a major transformation, led by … Continue reading “Erica Duffy describes her Midwest Film Fest vision”

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”

Erica Duffy is MIFF’s new executive director

The Midwest Independent Film Festival, which has been in somewhat of an identity makeover since Mike McNamara stepped down from the role of executive director in 2017, is placing its bets on Camera Ambassador’s managing partner Erica Duffy to right the ship. The nonprofit organization has been a staple of Chicago’s independent film community since … Continue reading “Erica Duffy is MIFF’s new executive director”

Alexan highlights Chelios Massage in new video

Healing technique comes alive with endorsements from Blackhawk Chris Chelios and Cub Randy Hundley To highlight the power of the Chelios Massage Method, Chicago filmmaker Kamelya Alexan created a promotional video that opens with a testimonial from Chicago Blackhawk Chris Chelios, a satisfied customer of the technique developed by his sister, Penny. The Chelios Massage … Continue reading “Alexan highlights Chelios Massage in new video”

ChiFilmFest announces 2019 audience winners

‘Just Mercy,’ ‘And Then We Danced,’ ‘Ready for War’ take top honors at 55th Chicago International Film Festival   The Chicago International Film Festival today announced the winners of the Festival Audience Awards, presented by Xfinity. Voted by Festival-goers, the Audience Award for Best Feature goes to Just Mercy by director Destin Daniel Cretton. The … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces 2019 audience winners”

‘Three Hours’ wins ChiFilmFest’s $20K Pitch

Aemilia Scott, Holli McGinley film follows a single mother living on the edge of Chicago’s Humboldt Park The 55th Chicago International Film Festival has announced the winner of The Pitch at the 5th edition of Industry Days: Three Hours, directed by Aemilia Scott and produced by Holli McGinley. The film follows a single mother living … Continue reading “‘Three Hours’ wins ChiFilmFest’s $20K Pitch”

Mezcla to debut film division at Indie Co-Lab

Chicago hub for “diverse boss women behind the camera” celebrates entry into the industry on October 24 Mezcla Media Collective, a new 501(c)(3) organization in Chicago, is making its formal debut to the film and entertainment industry at An Evening With Mezcla Media Collective, Thursday, October 24, 2019, 6-9:30 p.m. at Indie Co-Lab. Founded in … Continue reading “Mezcla to debut film division at Indie Co-Lab”

ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch”

Five film projects to compete for $20,000 awards package of in-kind goods and services   The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of five narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched in front of a live audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch””

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”

ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs

“Knives Out” starring Daniel Craig among first round of films announced for 55th run, October 16-27 Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival, today announced titles selected for the Galas and Special Presentations programs for the 55th edition of the Festival. Offering movie lovers a first look at the year’s most highly … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs”

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”

Filmscape to keep Chicago production “on the forefront”

The two-day September event will feature more of what made its predecessor a success, plus a few new things Filmscape Chicago is a two-day, pro-level series of equipment demos, state-of-the-art training, and speakers happening at Cinespace Studios over the weekend of September 7th and 8th. Although technically an inaugural run, Filmscape is actually an enhanced … Continue reading “Filmscape to keep Chicago production “on the forefront””

Charles Andrew Gardner at Black Harvest Film Fest

“We are starting to have a way for our stories to be shared, told, and heard … it’s only gonna make us and the entertainment industry stronger … It’s time” Charles Andrew Gardener, President of SAG-AFTRA Chicago, was among the guests enjoying the reception following Black Harvest Film Festival’s opening night at The Joffrey Ballet. … Continue reading “Charles Andrew Gardner at Black Harvest Film Fest”

MIFF presents first-ever juried Female Filmmaker Night

“When we’re talking about issues of gender equality and representation, I think it’s an everybody problem.” Executive Director, Amy Guth For the first time in its history, the Midwest Independent Film Festival will screen a juried selection of work during the annual Female Filmmakers Night celebration, which takes place Tuesday August 7th at Landmark Century … Continue reading “MIFF presents first-ever juried Female Filmmaker Night”

HistoryMakers’ Jarrett TV talk to air on national PBS

AN EVENING WITH VALERIE JARRETT,” a presentation of The HistoryMakers, the massive archive of interviews with notable African American leaders now part of the Library of Congress, airs on WTTW/11 today and tomorrow.

The interview with President Obama’s senior advisor about her rich life and career will air on national PBS in February. The program is dedicated in honor of Gwen Ifill, the late PBS media journalist who had hosted many HistoryMakers’ interviews in Washington, D.C. over the past 10 years.

It’s a wrap for an impressive weekend at Filmscape 2021

Filmscape 2021 has wrapped and the overall consensus is A+ on all accounts. The exhibitors, in-person and online classes, speakers and moderators, hands-on demonstrations, and overall content was exceptional. Even the weather was perfect, topping off an inspiring weekend. The in-person interaction that allowed for networking is something that has been sorely missed. Nice to … Continue reading “It’s a wrap for an impressive weekend at Filmscape 2021”

Social Justice Screenwriting Virtual Pitch Competition

The Chicago Film Office and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will host the Social Justice Screenwriting Pitch Competition, to be held online at Facebook Live Saturday, November 7, at 3pm CST The Law offices of Hal “Corky” Kessler and the Chicago Film Office present the Chicago Social Justice Screenwriting Competition. This competition aims … Continue reading “Social Justice Screenwriting Virtual Pitch Competition”

Lightfoot launches ‘Chicago Connected’ with Jason & Blue

City of Chicago launches vital “Chicago Connected” campaign with directors Jason & Blue Chicago is making history. In an awareness campaign helmed by commercial directing team Jason & Blue, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced the launch of an urgent social initiative titled “Chicago Connected.” Taking aim at the digital equity gap, the program—the first of … Continue reading “Lightfoot launches ‘Chicago Connected’ with Jason & Blue”

On location with October TV co-founder Chris DeWinter

Reel Chicago introduces ‘Reel People’, a collection of profiles of film and creative professionals that will run every Friday. Our inaugural installment features October TV co-founder Chris DeWinter’s behind-the-scenes recollection of a Kroger / Unilever campaign created by Geometry Global. — Dan Patton, Editor   Chicago-based production and post house October TV completed work for … Continue reading “On location with October TV co-founder Chris DeWinter”

Ebert sends Black female storytellers to Sundance

Tiffany Walden, Niani Scott, and Whitney Spencer navigate the fast-paced, deadline-driven world of film review Three Chicago-based African American women storytellers with experience in documentary film, multimedia journalism and cultural research are attending the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Jan. 24 – Feb. 2 on a coveted Roger Ebert Fellowship, announced Tuesday. The workshop, established … Continue reading “Ebert sends Black female storytellers to Sundance”

Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns to Chicago September 12

Features seventeen films from across the Asian continents, presents premieres including Japanese zombie comedy “One Cut of the Dead” as Closing Night — tickets on sale now (Chicago — 13 August 2018) — Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Seven, the fall film series presenting seventeen films from … Continue reading “Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns to Chicago September 12”

How Michael Kutza built an international film festival

The founder of the Chicago International Film Festival has made it possible for millions of moviegoers to enjoy nearly 11,000 films since 1964   It is impossible to appreciate Chicago cinema without acknowledging the impact of Michael Kutza — founder of both the Chicago International Film Festival and the Chicago Television Festival — who announced … Continue reading “How Michael Kutza built an international film festival”

Rhyan LaMarr’s journey to “Canal Street”

On his way to becoming one of the hottest young filmmakers in America, Rhyan LaMarr has proven just about every self-motivational cliché in the book. He was raised by divorced parents who struggled in two separate households, went to a high school where almost nobody looked like him, buried more friends then he cares to … Continue reading “Rhyan LaMarr’s journey to “Canal Street””

Sandro Miller channels David Lynch with John Malkovich

In director Sandro Miller’s 17-minute short, Psychogenetic Fugue, actor John Malkovich portrays a selection of characters from David Lynch films, reenacting the scenes that made them famous.

For viewers, it’s a spine-tingling journey through the mind of a genius, a surreal exhibition of audiovisual madness, and a trippy tour of historic cinema. For Miller, it’s the latest work in a collaboration with the actor that has spanned two decades.

Agency SCC’s New Year starts with a new account

AGENCY SCC starts 2014 with new business from Evanston-based Kerrygold USA, importers of Ireland-made butter and cheese.  Said Molly O’Loughlin, Kerrygold USA’s marketing director, in announcing their new agency: “SCC is a food expert that knows our consumers and most importantly, they are scrappy enough to help us grow our business in any kind of market.”

Hollywood star Billy Zane joining Cinespace as EP

When a famous Hollywood movie star returns to his native Chicago in March, the local film industry will have its first  informal ambassador to Hollywood, to interest other Chicagoans in the movie business to come back home to work.

Actor Billy Zane –star of “Titanic” and an amazing 110 other movies and TV shows over a 28-year span – has joined Cinespace studios as executive producer.

Classified ads at your service

Place your classifieds on the Reel: Job openings, jobs wanted, services offered, space for rent, equipment for sale, etc. $150 per month. Contact Phone, 312/274-9980.


Free Spirit Media
Job Title: Deputy Director
Reports To: Executive Director
Supervises: Program Managers

No second season for ‘The Chicago Code’ series

FOX TV Monday night did what was not unexpected by canceling freshman entry, The Chicago Code, due to ratings that started out so-so and didn’t improve. While everyone involved with the show, and especially the IFO which has its hopes pinned on series television shooting here, they knew in their hearts that while the Chicago scenes were impressive, the plotline was not.

Compete to be “America’s Next Producer”

IF YOU’RE A PRODUCER with what you feel is a dynamite reality show idea, “America’s Next Producer,” wants to meet you Feb. 24, from noon till 4 p.m. at the Ambassador East Hotel.

Magical Elves, executive producers of “Project Runway” and “Top Chef,” is seeking contestants to showcase their talent on the new series for the TV Guide Channel.

Wottrich sells Voices Unlimited talent agency to national Innovative Artists

Chicago’s status as a talent center has been elevated to the national level with bi-coastal Innovative Artists’ purchase of Sharon Wottrich’s 17-year old Voices Unlimited.

Wottrich will continue as director of the agency, now called Innovative Artists Chicago, or IAC.

She reports to Hollywood agency veteran Marcia Hurwitz, president of IV’s national commercial and voiceover division, who will oversee the new Chicago branch.

Innovative’s entry into the market also marks the first non-SAG franchised Chicago talent agency in 15 years.