Chicago Independent Producers Lab selects 5 producers

Full Spectrum Features, the Chicago-based non-profit committed to driving equity into the film industry, announced the five producers selected for its second annual Chicago Independent Producers Lab, a year-long project incubator designed to cultivate Chicago’s vibrant independent film industry. In partnership with the Chicago Film Office’s Independent Film Initiative, the Lab offers one-on-one customized mentorship … Continue reading “Chicago Independent Producers Lab selects 5 producers”

Applications open for Chicago Independent Producers Lab

Applications are now open for the 2021 cycle of the Chicago Film Office’s Chicago Independent Producers Lab. Participating producers will have the chance to work with industry professionals to grow their network and expertise in different areas of independent film producing.  Full Spectrum Features and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) recognize producers … Continue reading “Applications open for Chicago Independent Producers Lab”

Composing duo Robl + Sutta score Chicago film Grasshoppers

The composing duo Robl + Sutta recently scored the original soundtrack for Grasshoppers, award-winning filmmaker Brad Bischoff’s directorial feature film debut. The emotionally charged drama recently made its world premiere as an Official Selection of the 18th Annual Bend Film Festival. The director, Brad Bischoff is a native of Chicago and the film was shot the in the … Continue reading “Composing duo Robl + Sutta score Chicago film Grasshoppers”

Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program deadline November 10

The Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program will provide 450 – 500 relief grants to low and moderate income artists and creative workers who are residents of Chicago and have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will include freelance artists, arts administrators, teaching artists, artisans, curators, independent cultural producers and creative industry technicians such … Continue reading “Chicago Creative Worker Assistance Program deadline November 10”

AbelCine & IFA collaborate on The Hub @Cinespace for Indie filmmakers

The Independent Film Alliance of Chicago (IFA) and AbelCine are collaborating on the development of a community center on the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios lot. Programming will address the business, creative, and technical aspects of independent production. The organizations will focus on developing the potential of local independent producers and filmmakers and introducing them to … Continue reading “AbelCine & IFA collaborate on The Hub @Cinespace for Indie filmmakers”

CIFF launches Chicago Industry Exchange and CIX:Lab

The Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced the formation of the organization’s Chicago Industry Exchange (CIX), the new name for its year-round industry programming, along with the launch of CIX:Lab The CIX:Lab is a year-long creative development lab focusing on 4-5 feature film projects made by diverse voices and underrepresented filmmakers in the region. CIX will build on … Continue reading “CIFF launches Chicago Industry Exchange and CIX:Lab”

Chicago Med, Fire actors in Rain Beau’s End

Rain Beau’s End is an intimate lesbian family-drama situated in the late 1990s, depicting how the labelling of their adopted son affects a progressive lesbian couple’s relationship as they struggle to raise their family in the spotlight. Based on a story by Chicago’s Joe Orlandino and written by Jennifer Cooney, the film tells a motherhood … Continue reading “Chicago Med, Fire actors in Rain Beau’s End”

37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest

The full schedule was announced for Facets 37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF37) one of only two Academy Award-qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world. Presented this year from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22, FACETS ever-popular signature program will be presented virtually in its entirety due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Since FACETS launched the Chicago International … Continue reading “37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest”

Inside Full Spectrum Features’ Producers lab

This year Full Spectrum Features launched its Independent Producers Lab in partnership with the Illinois film office, funded in part by the National Endowment of the Arts. Participants in the lab could not stop singing its praises, and the community leaders behind its inception remain committed to expanding the opportunities for Chicago’s independent filmmakers. “Generally … Continue reading “Inside Full Spectrum Features’ Producers lab”

Chicago Int’l Film Festival’s Industry Days goes virtual

The Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, today announced this year’s Industry Days will be held virtually for a global audience, October 12-18, 2020. Early Bird accreditation is now available for qualified participants to secure registration at the lowest price. Registration prices will increase to the regular rate on August 21. Film and media professionals interested in … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Festival’s Industry Days goes virtual”

Reel Chicago’s own Reel Woman, Laura Day

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. She claims her mom named her after Twin Peaks … Continue reading “Reel Chicago’s own Reel Woman, Laura Day”

Behind the scenes with the Chicago IFA’s Angie Gaffney

Angie Gaffney chaperones a lot of dreams in the Windy City. As Executive Director of the Chicago Independent Film Alliance — an organization recently formed by combining the Independent Filmmaker Project with Stage 18 — she helps people achieve their goals, and their goals are to make movies. Or short films. Or pilots. Or web … Continue reading “Behind the scenes with the Chicago IFA’s Angie Gaffney”

Full Spectrum, DCASE present Chi Indie Producers Lab

Recognizing producers as the creative entrepreneurs who make a thriving independent film industry possible, Full Spectrum Features and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have launched the Chicago Independent Producers Lab. Designed to increase the number of independent producers working in Chicago — and to significantly deepen and broaden their professional … Continue reading “Full Spectrum, DCASE present Chi Indie Producers Lab”

Human brings audio expertise to Chicago

The agency’s new West Loop studio and office will be led by veteran Creative Director Justin Hori Human pushes its industry-leading talents into fresh territories, joining the robust Chicago creative market with a new West Loop studio and office under the leadership of veteran composer/producer Justin Hori. Complemented by offices in New York, Los Angeles, … Continue reading “Human brings audio expertise to Chicago”

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”

“In The Meantime” to showcase Chicago indie film voices

Emerging Chicago artists take matters into their own hands by curating their own shows and producing their own content   (Chicago — 18 June 2018) Indie Producers Crystal Joy and Sam George have come together to collaborate on “In the Meantime,” a gallery show which explores coping in the forms of photographs, poetry, and video. … Continue reading ““In The Meantime” to showcase Chicago indie film voices”

Chicago creative community to aid hurricane victims

Seeking to comfort victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, independent agency Schafer Condon Carter and several trade organizations yesterday launched Chicago Creative Relief, an industry-wide effort to raise $500,000 for affected areas in the US and Caribbean. The program intends to channel the generosity of Chicago’s creative community through a secure online portal that enables … Continue reading “Chicago creative community to aid hurricane victims”

Columbia College honors three notable Chicagoans

Columbia College will present honorary degrees to six prominent persons – three of them Chicagoans – in the entertainment, media and arts fields whose careers and legacies have been inspirational to Columbia College students, at spring commencement ceremonies.

Some 2,000 graduates of the school, with the largest US film school enrollment, will receive their degrees over two days, May 5-6, at the Chicago Theatre.

Advertise with REEL CHICAGO

Reel Chicago and national spinoff, Reel 360, are the trusted sources for news, information, industry trends, new campaigns, and the people behind the scenes in advertising, film, TV, music, digital, social and entertainment since 2004.  Speak Directly to Industry Influencers and Potential Clients! Our audience includes: Agencies: Ad Agency Chief Creative Officers, Creative Directors, Heads … Continue reading “Advertise with REEL CHICAGO”

Christy LeMaster new director of IFP/Chicago

TAKING OVER THE REINS of the Independent Feature Project, Chicago’s 25-year old hub of indie filmmaking is Christy LeMaster, who has run IFP’s recent and successful fund-raising galas. She succeeds Ryan Jewell, who returned to his native Oklahoma City for family reasons.

LeMaster, who has a Masters in English from Truman State University, has a background in programming film festivals, starting with the True or False doc fest in Columbia, Mo.

Ch. 20 wants to hook-up with indie producers

WYCC-Ch. 20 is seeking relationships with independent producers, in which WYCC can serve as the presenting station for co-productions to air on Ch. 20 and to offer the program to PBS stations nationally.

“We’re looking for shows of local and national interest that fit our mission of educationally diverse programming,” says station manager Paul Buckner.

“WTTW has obviously been a major player for PBS nationally. We’re jumping into that arena.”

The public TV station of the City Colleges of Chicago operates out of the Southwest Side Kennedy-King College and programs Ch.

Producers with small DVD replication needs now may have same copy protection as features

For the first time and exclusively in Chicago, a local company offers the same kind of copy protection to non-theatrical producers with short order needs that big studios use to prevent DVD piracy.

Tim Montague’s Chicago Digital collaborated with Macrovision’s RipGuard copy protection to create RipGuard-MOD (ManufacturingOnDemand) to protect recordable DVDs.

“The piracy of independent producer material has been rampant and unchecked up until this point,” says Montague. ” We put the power back in the producer’s hands.

“Reel Chicago” weekly TV show spotlighting local indie films to air on Ch. 25 starting in October

Starting in October, a proposed TV show of short films produced by area filmmakers will be televised over Cable25, the City of Chicago’s own cable outlet for independent producers.

“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to showcase the work of Chicago producers,” said lois Weisberg, Commission of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

“We’ve long wanted to showcase the work of the independent film scene to a public that may be unaware of this thriving community.”

Starting Oct. 11, the show will be televised Wednesdays from 8:30 to 9 p.m. for 13 weeks.

Thanks to Internet downloads, an all-Chicago Christmas album reaches a fresh new audience

After five years of gathering dust, a Christmas CD produced by most of biggest names in admusic has found new life and a new audience through?what else??the Internet.

Now the resurrected CD, “It Came upon a Midnight Clear,” can be found on every music download site, said an elated Pat Duke, one of the three album producers.

“CDBABY.com helps independent artists find an audience for their music,” said Duke, known more for his voiceover chops than for the fact he’s been writing music for 30 years.

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.

See www.nightingaleinamusicbox.com.

Independent Production Roundup

PAULA FROEHLE is in production on her 2004 IFP/Chicago Production Fund-winning short “Up on the Rope.” Froehle is shooting on an elaborate set at Resolution Digital Studios, part of the Production Fund’s $100,000 in in-kind goods and services.

She’s the production program director at Columbia College and co-owner of the avant-jazz label Atavistic.

Froehle adapted the script, a love-story about a 12-year-old tight rope walker who has spent his entire life 10 feet off the ground, from a short story by Cristina Peri Rossi.

Independent Production Roundup

USAMA ALSHAIBI won the Tribeca Film Festival’s All Access Creative Promise Award for Documentary Feature for his in-progress doc “Nice Bombs,” a chronicle of Alshaibi’s return with his father to their native Iraq under U.S. occupation.

The award carries a $10,000 grant. Alshaibi is in post on “Nice Bombs” and aims to complete it by this fall. Alshaibi’s wife Kristie Alshaibi of Artvamp is producing with Ben Berkowitz and Ben Redgrave of Benzfilm Group. Studs Terkel is executive producer. See www.iraqipassport.com.

Chicago not included as Teamsters organize casting directors for first-ever benefits

An 18-month effort by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to organize casting directors under Los Angeles Local 399 and New York Local 817 seems be on the brink of success.

But casting directors in Chicago and other cities are being left outside the union hall, at least for the moment.

At a February 1 meeting in L.A., representatives of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) agreed with Teamsters officials and a casting directors’ steering committee to hold an election within 90 days.

Independent Production Roundup

PHIL DONLON’S Super 16mm short “A Series of Small Things,” which shot here last May, has its local premiere in a private screening Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Adler Planetarium’s Universe Theater, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive.

Doug Jones (“Hellboy”) stars in this 23-minute drama about the personal aftermath of a fatal hit-and- run. Producers are Dale Ingram, cinematographer Jim Andre of Film Branch and editor Steve Ordower of Rhythm & Light.

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.

Independent Production Roundup

MARK ARMSTRONG’S hip-hop comedy feature “Chickenhead Bound” from Dusablean Enterprises wrapped principal photography Aug. 12. Premiere screening is planned for Thanksgiving. Nlz of Wu-Tang Clan’s Killarmy Family made a cameo and is in talks to supervise the soundtrack, which will feature music by Public Enemy affiliate K-Rec, who acted in the picture. Armstrong is now casting for Cas-I-Can Productions’ bisexual romance “Trying to Get Bi.” Reach Armstrong at markarmystrong62@aol.com.

Local producers shoot HD doc footage for Phish’s Aug. 2 concert airing on PBS

By having been in the right place at the right time, Wiggle Puppy Productions’ director Mark Krieglstein and producer Sara Yule were hired to provide the documentary footage that was incorporated into “IT: A Phish Concert Special” airing over national PBS Aug. 2.

The 90-minute special follows the band, along with 60,000 loyal Phish fans from all over the world who trekked to “IT,” a two-day concert/festival in remote Limestone, Maine marking the end of their summer 2003 tour.

Full Spectrum receives NBCUniversal Foundation grant

Chicago’s Full Spectrum Features has received a generous award from the NBCUniversal Foundation to support their Chicago Independent Producers Lab, a partnership with the Chicago Film Office. The Chicago Independent Producers Lab broadens the professional networks and producing expertise of participants through a series of hands-on workshops and one-on-one sessions with local and national industry … Continue reading “Full Spectrum receives NBCUniversal Foundation grant”

‘Candyman’ pushed to 2021 summer release

Say Candyman five times…in 2021. After numerous delays, Universal and MGM’s reboot of the supernatural slasher film is scheduled to hit theaters on Aug. 27, 2021. Jordan Peele wrote Candyman, which was directed by Nia DaCosta. Like many films slated for this year, the film had to postpone its debut numerous times during the coronavirus … Continue reading “‘Candyman’ pushed to 2021 summer release”

Illinois production scores another record-breaking year

A quintet of leaders gathered to announce another record-breaking year of film, television, and media production in Illinois this morning at Kennedy-King College’s 6,000 square foot sound stage in Englewood. According to the Illinois Film Office, the industry helped add nearly $560 million to the economy last year. Manifesting itself in job creation and local … Continue reading “Illinois production scores another record-breaking year”

CFWC to host 50th Anniversary Industry Mixer Nov 6th

Community Film Workshop of Chicago (CFWC) in collaboration with Melanated in America, will kick-off a yearlong celebration of its 50th Anniversary with an Industry Mixer. Saturday, November 6th at Harriet Harris Park, 6200 S. Drexel Avenue, from noon-2pm. Prolific novelist and activist James Baldwin once stated, “Not everything is faced can be changed, but nothing can … Continue reading “CFWC to host 50th Anniversary Industry Mixer Nov 6th”

The IFA is looking for assistance on their move into AbelCine

As we reported earlier in the week, the Illinois Film Alliance (IFA) is partnering with, and moving into, the AbelCine space on the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios lot, as they collaborate on The Hub @Cinespace for Indie filmmakers. If you are interested in lending a hand in the move, they are asking for help in … Continue reading “The IFA is looking for assistance on their move into AbelCine”

Backyard Productions signs Director/DP Max Gutierrez

Backyard Productions announces that Award-winning Director/DP, Max Gutierrez, noted for his authentic lifestyle and warm family oriented work, has signed with the internationally acclaimed production house. With a passion for visual storytelling and capturing authentic slice of life moments, Max approaches his craft with a steadfast vision for finding the truth in a scene, having … Continue reading “Backyard Productions signs Director/DP Max Gutierrez”

Craig Duncan takes on role of President of Cutters Studios

Cutters Studios’ Managing Director and Partner Craig Duncan has been promoted to the position of President. As announced by CEO Tim McGuire, in addition to his responsibilities as President, Duncan will continue to fulfill his duties as Managing Director. Well known in the creative industry as a premier editor himself, Tim McGuire launched Cutters as … Continue reading “Craig Duncan takes on role of President of Cutters Studios”

DePaul’s Eltanal & Khatami chosen for IFP fellowship

DePaul School of Cinematic Arts announced that Assistant Professors, Ronald Eltanal and Alireza Khatami, have been selected for the prestigious IFP Episodic Lab fellowship program for their project titled, Tenure. The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today twenty-six feature projects and series selected to participate across three labs over the next month: The IFP Filmmaker … Continue reading “DePaul’s Eltanal & Khatami chosen for IFP fellowship”

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”

‘Shooting Heroin’ is hosting a Virtual Live Red Carpet

Shooting Heroin, one of the first narrative feature films on the current opioid epidemic in North America, is hosting a virtual Live Red Carpet Premiere with cast and crew on April 3 at 2:30pm PDT. Shooting Heroin, written and directed by Spencer T. Folmar (Generational Sins) tells the story of a small-town Pennsylvania community that comes together … Continue reading “‘Shooting Heroin’ is hosting a Virtual Live Red Carpet”

REEL WOMEN: Mary Langenfeld, Head of Production at STORY

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. Mary started as the receptionist at STORY in April … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Mary Langenfeld, Head of Production at STORY”

REEL WOMEN: Christina Varotsis, producer, UPM

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. Christina has produced a wide variety of studio and … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Christina Varotsis, producer, UPM”

REEL WOMEN: Hana Mitchell, editor at Impakt Studio

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. Hana is a professional film and video editor with … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Hana Mitchell, editor at Impakt Studio”

Reel Women: Award-winning filmmaker, April Wright

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. April Wright is an award winning filmmaker who brings … Continue reading “Reel Women: Award-winning filmmaker, April Wright”

Inside look at the ScreenCraft Writers Summit

Chicago will become the center of the TV and film universe when it hosts the eighth annual ScreenCraft Writers Summit at the Hotel Allegro next month from April 24 to April 27. Agents, producers, show runners, financiers, studio execs, and, of course, writers are scheduled to share their wisdom. Designed to connect blockbuster movie professionals with emerging … Continue reading “Inside look at the ScreenCraft Writers Summit”

Sundance picks 12 Filmmakers for Screenwriters Intensive

Twelve screenwriters have been selected to participate in Sundance Institute’s eighth annual Screenwriters Intensive in Los Angeles, to take place March 4-5, 2020. One of the students selected is Chicagoan, Jason Park. The Intensive, a two-day workshop for select emerging writers and writer/directors from underrepresented communities, focuses on the development of first fiction features. Fellows … Continue reading “Sundance picks 12 Filmmakers for Screenwriters Intensive”

Mary Datcher, founder, Global Mixx Music & Film Forum

Mary Datcher, founder of the annual Global Mixx Music & Film Forum, joins the 2020 edition of Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes ‘The Chi’ cast member LaDonna Tittle, house music pioneer Vince Lawrence, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view … Continue reading “Mary Datcher, founder, Global Mixx Music & Film Forum”

Colorist Jennifer Gaida makes The Colonie a one-stop shop

The Colonie continues to grow its roster of talent and services with the addition of Colorist Jennifer Gaida. The hiring of the creative and technically savvy talent marks the launch of the Chicago-based company’s new color grading division, rounding out the one-stop editing, design, and postproduction boutique’s full-roster of high-end services and talent. Gaida exited … Continue reading “Colorist Jennifer Gaida makes The Colonie a one-stop shop”

OKRP launches #312Soul for Black History Month

Chicago agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul has officially launched #312Soul, a four-week, four-part multimedia online showcase promoting Chicago’s Black Music History from 1955 through 1990. Featuring original video essays, interviews, playlists, artifacts and more, #312Soul will continue throughout February to celebrate Black History Month and also reinforce 2020 as the Year of Chicago Music. ALSO … Continue reading “OKRP launches #312Soul for Black History Month”

Eight indie projects aim to spark change at Sundance

The Sundance Institute, in collaboration with global philanthropic organization Luminate, today announced six new projects supported by the Sundance Institute | Luminate Fund. The Sundance Institute | Luminate Fund provides non-recoupable grants to independent artists working across documentary, narrative, episodic and emerging media whose work display a strong potential for social and cultural impact. Joining … Continue reading “Eight indie projects aim to spark change at Sundance”

Kartemquin’s ‘City So Real’ to premiere at Sundance

Kartemquin Film’s City So Real, the newest project by two-time Academy Award-nominated director Steve James, will make its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, running January 23-February 2. The four-hour miniseries is a mosaic portrait of current-day Chicago that delivers a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of America’s third-largest city, set against … Continue reading “Kartemquin’s ‘City So Real’ to premiere at Sundance”

Interview with OTV founder Dr. Aymar Jean Christian

Open Television author and creator is helping to bring marginalized creators and content into the spotlight of American culture   Over the last four years, Dr. Aymar Jean Christian has inspired a community of artists and intellectuals to disrupt one of the greatest institutions in America. With analytical expertise, online manipulation, shrewd outreach, and boundless … Continue reading “Interview with OTV founder Dr. Aymar Jean Christian”

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”

MIFF presents ‘All Creatures Here Below’

A young couple’s impulsive crime sets off a series of events leading to dire consequences from LA to Kansas City The Midwest Independent Film Festival is proud to present thriller All Creatures Here Below, directed by Collin Schiffli, for September’s #FirstTuesdays screening event. The film is the story of Gensan (David Dastmalchian) and Ruby (Karen … Continue reading “MIFF presents ‘All Creatures Here Below’”

Vasilatos nabs a couple Megafest noms

The Chicago filmmaker earns a pair of honors while exploring options for his next project Restored in 2018 for its 25th Anniversary with a new orchestral score, Lifetime Television’s first original holiday movie, Solstice, produced and directed by Jerry Vasilatos, will be screened as an official selection at the Action on Film / Hollywood Dreamz … Continue reading “Vasilatos nabs a couple Megafest noms”

Midwest Sci-Fi and Futurism Night

MIFF explores not-too-far-away realities, social issues, and the intersection of sci-fi and horror on June 4 at Landmark The Midwest Independent Film Festival presents Midwest Sci-Fi and Futurism Night as part of its monthly First Tuesdays screening series on June 4, 2019. The evening’s program includes short films depicting not-too-far-away realities, social issues explored through … Continue reading “Midwest Sci-Fi and Futurism Night”

Kartemquin names Jolene Pinder as Executive Director

Award-winning, production house welcomes award-winning film veteran from New Orleans to Chicago Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago-based documentary nonprofit organization, today named Jolene Pinder as Executive Director. Pinder joins the organization after serving as Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana since 2017, where she spearheaded statewide and regional advocacy efforts and grantmaking initiatives. She was selected by … Continue reading “Kartemquin names Jolene Pinder as Executive Director”

AMP announces 2019 Curatorial Committee

Expert panel of music and advertising pros will review judging results, evaluate category winners and select “Best in Show.” The AMP Awards for Music & Sound has released the lineup for its 2019 Curatorial Committee. Selected by members of the AMP Awards Committee in consultation with AMP Awards Show Chair Katy Hornaday, EVP and Executive … Continue reading “AMP announces 2019 Curatorial Committee”

Midwest short film showcase, spring edition

The program will include more than a dozen locally-produced films and filmmakers followed by a party The Midwest Independent Film Festival presents the Spring edition of Midwest Shorts Night featuring short films by Midwestern filmmakers and films about Midwestern stories. The screening will take place on Tuesday, March 5. “Screening short films is such a … Continue reading “Midwest short film showcase, spring edition”

Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters

George Bogdanich’s new documentary explores how the Justice Department’s greed, corruption, and overreach resulted in tragedy George Bogdanich’s 2019 documentary, Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters Union, alleges that former Chicago Teamster Bill Hogan and his family are victims of intimidation and fraud committed by the United States government. Evidence presented in the … Continue reading “Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters”

Mark Androw’s post-AICP agenda

The recently retired AICP/Midwest President keeps busy with the organization, the industry, and STORY Mark Androw had a truly unique experience at the AICP Show last November. For the first time in more than a decade, he enjoyed the open bars, designer cuisine, and fancy couture without handling any responsibilities. “I got to see what … Continue reading “Mark Androw’s post-AICP agenda”

Katy Hornaday named Chairperson for the AMP Awards

The Barkley ECD who was listed among Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative Women in Advertising, will lead the search for the Best in Show Katy Hornaday, EVP and Executive Creative Director of the independent Kansas City agency Barkley, has been named Chairperson for the 2019 AMP Awards for Music & Sound. News of her appointment … Continue reading “Katy Hornaday named Chairperson for the AMP Awards”

Kartemquin announces recipients of $150K in grants

Chicago-based documentary house unveils grantees to receive funds for emerging and diverse documentary filmmakers in 2019   (Chicago — 1 November 2018) Kartemquin Films announced today the recipients of $150,000 in grants at the 2018 Kartemquin Films Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon at the Union League Club of Chicago. The award-winning documentary not-for-profit organization also announced … Continue reading “Kartemquin announces recipients of $150K in grants”

Kartemquin to award $150k grants at 11/1 event

Luncheon to honor emerging documentary producers and acclaimed 2018 releases “America to Me” and “Minding the Gap” (Chicago, 24 September 2018) Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago-based documentary not-for-profit organization, will for the first time announce recipients of $150,000 in grants for up to 15 films at the 2018 Kartemquin Films Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon, taking … Continue reading “Kartemquin to award $150k grants at 11/1 event”

Applications open for Kartemquin Diverse Voices in Docs

Kartemquin will award grants ranging from $5-$10K to individual DVID fellows (Chicago — 6 September) — Applications are now open for Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID), a mentorship program for Midwestern documentary makers of color organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. Eight Midwest filmmakers will be selected from those who … Continue reading “Applications open for Kartemquin Diverse Voices in Docs”

Roy Skillicorn returns to Backyard Productions

The former rep who helped put Chicago on the national production map while building a $50 million company brings it all back home. Roy Skillicorn is back leading Backyard Productions, the company he founded and guided for 20+ years, recently partnering with Kevin Allodi, President & CEO of Philo Media, which acquired Backyard in 2017. … Continue reading “Roy Skillicorn returns to Backyard Productions”

2018 Camp Kuleshov Trailer Competition opens

The challenging trailer contest for assistants casts a wider net, with entries now accepted from production as well as post studios.   (New York — 30 July 2018) Camp Kuleshov, the annual trailer competition named for the Russian film theorist Lev Kuleshov, has issued its 2018 Call for Entries. This year, the competition is open … Continue reading “2018 Camp Kuleshov Trailer Competition opens”

Versa Media’s “Cerebral” to premiere at SeriesFest

The supernatural anthology series is one of 13 pilots accepted to premiere at the festival known as the “Sundance for TV” (Chicago — 6 June 2018) Versa Media, a North American production house designed for a disruptive age, today announces that its brand new series Cerebral will make its international debut at SeriesFest at the … Continue reading “Versa Media’s “Cerebral” to premiere at SeriesFest”

Female-led “Range Runners” films in IL this summer

Fatal Funnel Films announces cast for upcoming thriller   Actors from Chicago’s hottest shows to perform in inaugural feature shooting in Shawnee National Forest and nearby Carbondale     (Chicago — 7 May 2018) Fatal Funnel Films, an Illinois-based independent film company, today announces the complete cast and production team of their inaugural feature film, … Continue reading “Female-led “Range Runners” films in IL this summer”

Reel Women: Sophia Wong Boccio, Festival Director

Sophia Wong Boccio, 王曉菲, was born and raised in Hong Kong by parents who were part of Hong Kong’s film industry from the 1950’s through the 70’s. Her father (Wong Tsao-she, or Wang Zhao-xi 王朝䂀) was an award-winning editor with the Motion Picture and General Investment Co.Ltd, (國際電影懋業有限公司, MP & GI/電懋 in short) later reorganized … Continue reading “Reel Women: Sophia Wong Boccio, Festival Director”

Chi Film Office announces 2018 Filmmakers in Residence

The producing team of Bea Cordelia and Daniel Kyri has been selected to be the 2018 Filmmakers in Residence by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (DCASE). Commissioner Mark Kelly cited the pair’s “originality and commitment to telling stories” as significant factors driving the decision. Besides being a filmmaker, Cordelia is a “writer … performance … Continue reading “Chi Film Office announces 2018 Filmmakers in Residence”

How to fight sexism in the film industry

About one month ago, I wrote an editorial in response to the Weinstein scandal. I wrote about my personal experiences working in the film industry — and those of my peers — and discussed how those experiences are symptomatic of a culture wherein abusers like Weinstein have been allowed to thrive. This story is intended … Continue reading “How to fight sexism in the film industry”

Havas, Escape Pod, MIFF, Thor, Larry David in the news

Anna Parker promoted to Chief Strategy Officer at Havas Havas Chicago announced that it has promoted Anna (Newburn) Parker to Chief Strategy Officer. She joins Havas Chicago’s executive leadership team which includes Paul Marobella, Jason Peterson, Tatia Torrey, Jennifer Marszalek, Lisa Evia and Angelo Kritikos. Considered a major contributor to the transformation of the Havas … Continue reading “Havas, Escape Pod, MIFF, Thor, Larry David in the news”

Rocket Film, Telly Awards, Daufenbach in the news

Rocket Film signs Dawn Rao and Sam Sloma Rocket Films announced on Halloween that Chicagoans Dawn Rao and Sam Sloma will handle Midwest representation for the bicoastal production company. The appointment coincides with the signing of Tracy Fetterman and Jeanie DiMaggio, who will handle West Coast representation. In addition to wielding a roster of directors … Continue reading “Rocket Film, Telly Awards, Daufenbach in the news”

Polaroid Wall Party updates history of film community

Tomorrow’s Polaroid Wall Party at the Wishbone will bring together many of the pioneers who started building Chicago’s film community long before computers took over the editing suite.

“Everyone wants to see what has become of each other,” says IPA cofounder Scott Jacobs, who organized the 5:30-8:30 p.m. event with Kartemquin, Film Archives and Media Burn Archives.

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.

Meeting about CFO’s Filmmaker Initiatives today

The Chicago Film Office’s Beckie Stocchetti will explain application details about CFO/DCASE’s new Filmmaker-in-Residency Program, today, Aug. 9 at the Chicago Film Office, 78 E. Randolph, room 108, starting at 7 p.m.

The residency program is part of the city’s first Independent Film Initiative (IFI), that was devised by the CFO’s director Rich Moskal and Stocchetti, Cultural Affairs coordinator overseeing indie and local film incentives.

New Stage 18 Production Partners meet with members

Stage 18, Chicago’s Film and Media incubator at Cinespace, co-founded by Angie Gaffney, introduced its new Production Partners Program — 16 companies that provide resources and discounts — to its 40 members last Friday night at AbelCine’s showroom at Cinespace Studios.

During the evening, the nonprofit once again delivered on its commitment to building Chicago’s independent film and narrative content community.

Questar’s “Running of the Bulls” DVD the real things

Chicago has been host to many different kinds of events that fall into the sporting category, but the one scheduled Saturday, July 12 is hard to classify as it’s a version of the traditional Spanish Running of the Bulls. 

Called “The Great Bull Run,” it is one of eight such heroic displays of courage that are taking place across the US so far this year.

Sexton’s Sundance soirees promote Mexican filmmaking

Sundance wouldn’t be the same without a party hosted by Brenda Sexton, who started the tradition of showcasing Illinois at parties in LA and Sundance beginning back in 2005 when she headed the Illinois Film Office.

Her annual Sweet Home Illinois affairs gave the state a glitzier cachet with a hometown flavor, as it brought together Chicagoans from home and Hollywood, where they had achieved status in the motion picture industry.

Doc about ex-basketball star’s comeback debuts 7/11

“I don’t know if many people could handle what he did and still be as adjusted and comfortable as he is,” Thatcher Kamin says of Ronnie Fields.

“Every day he’s asked the same question, ‘Hey, whatever happened to you?’  His life hadn’t ended at 18.”

Kamin tries to answer everyone’s questions about former Farragut Academy basketball wunderkind Fields in his new online documentary, “Bounce Back: The Ronnie Fields Story,” which debuts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at Park Community Church, 1001 N. Crosby, with Fields in attendance.

After 4 years, feature doc ‘Skate or Die’ in post

AFTER FOUR YEARS IN PRODUCTION and 100 hours of footage, director Ryan Ferguson and producer Azam Ahmed are in post-production on the feature documentary Skate or Die.  

The story is about Little Village skateboarding activist Leo Castillo, who turned to skateboarding as a refuge from gang violence, only to suffer a potentially debilitating gunshot wound.

Four revolutionary ways to reach an indie audience

The days of begging distributors to take your work is over.  The days of receiving no money for your work is over.  Now, exciting new ways are emerging to reach an audience.

If you are an independent filmmaker, you must join this revolution in the cloud and stake out your own digital turf.  Get engaged with authentic conversations with your viewers and allow them a seamless and exciting digital cinema experience. 

IFO calls for Shortcuts Short Film Contest entries

FOR THE 5TH YEAR, the Illinois Film Office is sponsoring its annual Shortcuts Short Film Contest that is open to Illinoisans 18 years old and older.  Basic requirements: All genres welcome (narrative, doc, live or animated) and no film longer than 15 minutes.  Industry experts will serve as judges. Deadline is Aug. 31. 

‘The Interrupters’ wins Best Doc at Spirit Awards

The elation producers Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz felt when their Kartemquin Films’ “The Interrupters” won the Spirit Awards Saturday for Best Documentary was surely mixed with sweet satisfaction for the Oscar doc nomination snub.

“Look, the Oscars, we were surprised and a little disappointed (not to be nominated), but the film has done remarkably, and this makes up for that,” James told the Tribune’s Mark Caro.

Stephen Baldwin to star in local $3 mm indie feature

More than a decade ago, local theatre and dance teacher and arts writer Lucia Mauro became intrigued with an equestrian statue on the Janiculum Hill in Rome: A woman wielding a pistol in one hand and cradling a baby in the other.

Mauro’s subsequent screenplay, “Mother of War,” reminiscent of Errol Flynn swashbucklers, brings to life Anita Garibaldi, the heroic woman memorialized in the statue. 

“We Believe” Cubs doc producer sued by investors

A CAUTIONARY TALE.  A couple who believed that their investment in the upbeat 2008-09 Cubs documentary, “We Believe,” would return an ROI has filed a lawsuit against the producer who invited their investment.  

Husband and wife plaintiffs, Peter Cerbin and wife Hilary Carr, invested $650,000 of the doc’s $1.5 million budget with producer Chad Smith. They claim in 2008 Smith told them he had secured distributors and corporate sponsors. Not true, their lawsuit alleges. 

Jack Liga, Dan Niccolai end 26-year old MindSight

After many successful years of running a corporate video company, MindSight partners Jack Liga and Dan Niccolai hit a series of business problems. No sooner did they emerge from bankruptcty, having honorably repaid their creditors, the recession soured their recovery.

These factors led to the decision to dissolve 26-year old MindSight and the partners’ move in different directions.

Comma Music honored at AICP MoMa Show

COMMA MUSIC was the only Chicago honoree among the hundreds of bi-coastal commercial companies that swept the 19th annual AICP Show June 8 held annually at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The winning reel will screen in Chicago Nov. 18 at the annual AICP Show.

Comma was honored in the Musical Arrangement category for its 2-minute music video for Nike/Wieden & Kennedy, featuring basketball stars LaBron James and Kobe Bryant, and rapper Lupe Fiasco.

Joone Studios offers space at budget rates

Chicago filmmakers Jayme Joyce, a writer/producer and Jessica Christopher, cofounder of makeup/effects company Cirque De Face FX, met last year at the Sundance Film Festival and found they had a common ambition and aesthetic.

“We shared of vision of building an indie-focused new media production company in Chicago that was both inspiring and affordable,” says writer/producer Joyce.

L.A.-based experts at 24 Hour Film School

Writer/director Jeremy Passmore, who wrote “Red Dawn” that recently wrapped in Detroit and is at work on John Carpenter’s “The Prince,” will be one of the industry insiders presiding at the Hollywood originated “24 Hour Film School” convening here Jan. 30.

In case the event sounds familiar, the 24 Hour Film School was postponed from its originally scheduled date in mid-December.

“The Promotion” wins MWFF best feature award

PRACTICALLY EVERY INDIE FILMMAKERS turned out 350 strong at Rockit Bar & Grill Tuesday for Midwest Independent Film Festival’s annual awards and first-time fund-raiser.

Beautiful crystal awards were given to a variety of winners, and the grand prize went to “The Promotion,” the comedy written and directed by Steve Conrad, who was present, along with co-star Seann William Scott and producer Steven Jones. Richard Roeper made the presentation.

Emmys sadly snubbed non-station shows

You’d think that out of 256 nominations in 57 categories for the recent 50th Annual Emmy Awards the odds might favor non-station produced shows. But that didn’t happen.

Only six independently produced shows that ran on a TV outlet, or one third of the 17 nominees, won in the two categories of Programs and Individual Achievement.

Two of the six shows won in the Program category. Director Jim White took home a gold statuette for “Find Yourself a Dream: The Bob Love Story,” in the category of “Outstanding documentary of current significance.” The show aired on WYCC.

Second City goes digital: Partners with L.A.’s MRC to create short online pieces, bowing next month

The Second City is getting into the short film content business online, according to Andrew Alexander, Second City’s executive producer.

“We had been talking about it for at least two years and had been searching around for what we felt would be the right mix of partnership,” he said.

Second City will partner with Los Angeles-based Media Rights Capital (MRC), an independent film/television and digital studio, to create short pieces specifically geared for online distribution.

Second City made the connection with MRC through the Gersh Agency in New York.

Actor Pasquesi’s “Factory” series bow June 29 on Spike TV; we hear rumors about big possibilities

ACTOR DAVID PASQUESI’S TV SERIES, “Factory,” will bow June 29 on Spike TV, but Pasquesi may not see the premiere episode.

He is filming in Rome, in the super big-budget “Angels and Demons” from Imagine Entertainment and based on author Dan Brown’s prequel to “The DaVinci Code.”

The largely improvised “Factory” is about four guys ? Mitch Rouse, Jay Leggett, Michael Coleman and Pasquesi — who grew up together in the same small Illinois town and now work in the local factory.

Hugo Awards honorees are Kartemquin for
TV production and L.A.’s Smuggler for spots

KARTEMQUIN FILMS, the granddaddy of social commentary docs (including “Hoop Dreams”) is the 2008 Hugo Awards honoree for Commitment to Excellence in TV Productions, and L.A.-based Smuggler is the Commitment to Excellence in TV Commercials honoree.

Six-year-old Smuggler, co-owned by Brian Carmody and Patrick Milling Smith, is known for ground breaking spot campaigns and music videos for major advertisers (Nike, Dell, BMW) and winner of many awards.

The Hugo Awards take place May 1 at the Claudia Cassidy Theatre at the Cultural Center.

Ron Lazzeretti’s “Merry Gentlemen” premieres at Sundance; also Terry Kinney’s directorial debut

One fully local feature made in Chicago and one with ties to Chicago are in the non-competitive Premieres section of the Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 17-27, still the top launching pad for American independent film.

“The Merry Gentlemen,” Michael Keaton’s directorial bow, was shot entirely in Chicago in March and April, with a local writer, producers, and financing.

Also in Sundance is Steppenwolf company member Terry Kinney’s feature directorial debut for Plum Pictures, “Diminished Capacity,” produced by former Steppenwolf Films head Tim Evans.

Robert Townsend leads the professionals who
will launch IFP’s first fund-raising Gala Sept. 28

DIRECTOR ROBERT TOWNSEND will be among the esteemed group of industry professionals celebrating IFP’s first Independent Film Gala, Sept. 28 at Salvage One. All proceeds will go to expand IFP’s services and programs.

They include the Production Fund of $100,000 in in-kind services, the annual Midwest Filmmakers Summit coming up Oct. 19-21, mentorship programs, the Flyover Zone Film Festival and more.

Tickets are $100 ($150) for two and membership is a low $80 a year. See chi.ifp.org for details.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

“DRUNK BOAT” DIRECTOR Bob Meyers and DP Lisa Rinzler are due back in Chicago in July to color correct with I-Cubed’s Mike Matusek. The indie film was filmed in Super 16 last summer and edited in France, home of star and producer John Malkovich.

Kudos to line producer Christine Varotsis who worked very hard to keep the project going here after principal photography wrapped.

COMMA MUSIC is getting set to open a separate sound design division called Particle in the few weeks.

Islas’ vampire “Night Fangs” hits retail outlets
as he gears up for winter shoot of horror film

As his lesbian vampire feature “Night Fangs” hits stores in the U.S. and the U.K., Ricardo Islas of Alpha Studios is gearing up for his next production.

The psychological horror “Lockout” is about man who moves his family to Wisconsin, where he sees something so scary that he blacks out and can’t communicate with other people,” Islas said.

“?Night Fangs’ appealed much more to younger audiences and fans of the genre,” he continued.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

DP MARC MILLER IS IRAQ-BOUND for a month of filming Jake Rademacher’s theatrical documentary, “Brothers at War.” They received Army permission and clearance Dec. 1 after many delays.

“This is the most exciting and challenging project of my career to date,” says Miller. While they will be gone during the holidays, “it will provide us with some interesting situations for filming with our troops during that time,” he says.

ARMY ADVERTISING MARCHES TO A NEW STEP.

IPA to hold 25th Anniversary Reunion even though the pioneering post house closed five years ago

IPA, The Editing House, the little post house on Webster St. that for two decades catered to independent producers has been closed for five years now, but don’t tell Scott Jacobs, its founder and former president.

On Sunday, Sept. 18, Jacobs and his partners will hold a 25th anniversary of former employees, clients and friends at The Wishbone Restaurant.

“This isn’t a wake, this is a celebration,” Jacobs said.

Catania, Olken sign domestic video distribution for their horror film, launch new Severe Films

Fresh off signing domestic and international video deals for their HD horror pic “Cup of My Blood,” Lance Catania and Noel Olken headed to the Cannes Film Market to promote the development slate for their new production shingle Severe Films.

MTI Video of Miami has signed on as domestic distributor for “Cup of My Blood,” with a tentative release date set for Aug. 30.

Rusty Nails’ featurette “Stay Scared” part of
DVD release of Romero’s “Land of the Dead”

When the DVD of George Romero’s new zombie picture “Land of the Dead” hits stores this summer, it will include Rusty Nails’ featurette “Stay Scared: The Art of George A. Romero.”

Nails, founder and organizer of the Movieside Film Festival, is collaborating with producing partners Chad Wilson and Meredith Corrado, and with George Romero’s daughter Tina Romero, on “Stay Scared,” and on the independent feature doc “Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A.

Launch of WTTW Digital Archives offer online stock purchase of 14,000 shows

WTTW is the first public television station to offer stock footage purchases from its extensive 50-year video history online.

It launched WTTW Digital Archives after five months of intense work in conjunction with Media Recall.

More than 14,000 individual show and B-roll clips are currently available for online browsing and purchase at wttwdigitalarchives.com.

House music impresario makes feature debut with vampire girl-gang thriller

Handheld Films is breaking from principal photography on its $500,000 sci-fi thriller “Lost Girls” to shop the work in progress at the American Film Market held in L.A. this month.

“Lost Girls” is the feature debut for writer-director Alexander “Rocky” Alcarese, former owner of the local house music label DJ International. Alcarese raised the financing from private investors with producers Antonio Gelini and Tom “Silky” Sullivan and E.P. M.L. Lynch.

Buyers, finalists connect at Aug. 9-10 Indiefest Film/Script Market

Chicago’s first Indie Film & Script Market climaxes in a busy weekend as hundreds of prospective buyers see what gems they can mine from among the 47 festival finalists.

“We’ve invited every production company and every distributor in the world, along with agents, financiers and even investors from the Board of Trade to the market,” said Indiefest organizer Lee Alan, a writer/producer/director of indie features.

The Indie Film & Script Market takes place Aug. 9 and 10, noon to 5 p.m., in the second and third floor meeting rooms above O’Callahan’s at 29 W. Hubbard.

Where to meet and greet

To network or not to network? In good times and bad, the smart answer is always "yes." Connecting with fellow media pros is a practice that can light a flame under a fledgling career, accelerate one that’s on the rise, or keep an old one out of the obits.

In Chicago, an enterprising networker can literally attend a different event every night of the week and still not cover them all. Some are rather formal affairs while others are as casual as drinks at a local bar.

Hancock’s horror story goes beyond his new feature

John Hancock on location in Michigan

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