Navy Pier announces free Fall programming schedule

Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, is packing in the fall fun with a full roster of free public programs from September through November, including outdoor movies, live music, extended fireworks and more. Navy Pier was able to add several new programs to this year’s fall programming schedule providing the Chicagoland community and guests access to free, … Continue reading “Navy Pier announces free Fall programming schedule”

Work in Progress Comedy Showcase at Navy Pier

When it comes to comedy, Chicago is no second city—we take center stage. Celebrate our city’s local talent with a comedy showcase featuring sets from up-and-coming voices curated by improv mainstay Abby McEnany, whose hit Showtime series Work in Progress is set and filmed in Chicago. To kick off the show’s second season, join CHF at Navy … Continue reading “Work in Progress Comedy Showcase at Navy Pier”

Navy Pier plans lots of fun but no fireworks on July 4th

Navy Pier is set to celebrate Independence Day this year with a full weekend of family-friendly programming and activities, including live music, dance performances and more as part of its nonprofit mission to provide the community with access to free arts and cultural programs. However, the Pier will not host a fireworks show on Saturday, … Continue reading “Navy Pier plans lots of fun but no fireworks on July 4th”

Navy Pier Flyover links north & south Lakefront Trail

Years in the waiting, the amazing Navy Pier Flyover is officially open. The transformative pedestrian and bike bridge links the two halves of Chicago’s signature Lakefront Trail and creates an uninterrupted, 18-mile ribbon from 71st Street to Hollywood Avenue. “The Lakefront Trail is undoubtedly one of Chicago’s crown jewels—a reputation that has only been amplified thanks … Continue reading “Navy Pier Flyover links north & south Lakefront Trail”

Navy Pier closing after Labor Day

 Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, will implement a temporary Pier-wide closure starting Tuesday, September 8 in an effort to limit the financial burden and impact of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the organization. The closure will put a halt to all Pier-wide operations, including that of Navy Pier’s more than 70 small local businesses, which … Continue reading “Navy Pier closing after Labor Day”

Navy Pier Pride returns for 5th Annual Live Celebration

Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, welcomes all to celebrate Pride Month in person at the People’s Pier for the fifth consecutive year of Navy Pier Pride. On Saturday, June 27 from 1 – 10 p.m., celebrate equality, love and the LGBTQ+ community at the newly-reopened People’s Pier. This free and safe daylong celebration will include scheduled live musical performances, resources from community partners and … Continue reading “Navy Pier Pride returns for 5th Annual Live Celebration”

TimeZoneOne wins two awards for Navy Pier campaigns

TimeZoneOne (TZO), a global creative communications agency, has been recognized for its creative work with Navy Pier, earning two Communicator Awards. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for marketing and communications professionals. The Award of Excellence honors TimeZoneOne’s work for Navy Pier’s successful “More Than You Imagine” brand campaign focusing on changing locals’ perception about … Continue reading “TimeZoneOne wins two awards for Navy Pier campaigns”

TimeZoneOne named AOR for Navy Pier

The tourist “must-see” destination named indie agency TimeZoneOne its Agency of Record for branding campaign With more than 9 million visitors annually, The Navy Pier is without doubt one of Chicago’s (and the Midwest’s) most popular destinations. And now the tourist “must-see” has named indie creative communications agency TimeZoneOne AOR. TZO’s first project for the … Continue reading “TimeZoneOne named AOR for Navy Pier”

WTTW special traces Navy Pier’s 100 years of history

Navy Pier celebrates its 100 anniversary this year and its colorful history — from under-used shipping terminal, to military training center, to university, to rough-edged concert venue, to top tourist attraction — will be told in WTTW/11’s special Thursday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.

“Navy Pier is one place everyone in Chicago has visited, but experienced in different ways,” comments producer Eddie Griffin, who co-wrote the 60-minute script with show host Geoffrey Baer.

HD EXPO brings NAB to Navy Pier June 8-11

HD EXPO-Createasphere’s fifth consecutive year in Chicago June 8-11 at Navy Pier brings the Midwest premiere of all the hottest NAB products from 40 leading companies presenting their latest and greatest straight from the show floor.

Free to EXPO attendees with pre-registration June 11 are the exhibit, Intensive Workshops, many panel discussions and the Quantel 3D Theatre.

One of the show highlights is a panel of experts leading the two-hour Red Gear Intensive on how to put the whole Red package together with all the pieces that go beyond the camera.

HD Expo returns for third year with technology and info-packed conferences June 6-7 at Navy Pier

Back in 2000 Kristen Petrovich said when she was dazzled by the first HD images, she saw the future. Six months later she intrepidly launched the first HD Expo in Los Angeles.

High definition is now firmly entrenched, as will be demonstrated by the 3rd annual Chicago HD Expo to be held at Navy Pier June 6-7.

The entire space of 70 exhibitor spaces has been sold out for weeks and record attendance is expected from throughout the Midwest.

Kelly assumes new post as city’s Cultural Affairs czar

The city’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), of which the Chicago Film Office is a part, has a new cultural czar in Mark Kelly, who had spent 32 years at Columbia College.

Appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last July, Kelly was confirmed as Commissioner Monday by the Chicago City Council. He had moved into DCASE’s Cultural Center offices Aug. 15, following the departure of Michelle T. Boone, who resigned this summer after five years to become Navy Pier’s program and civic engagement officer.

Colonie & Beast editors among top AICE winners

“We did ourselves proud last night,” says Tom Duff, AICE Chicago chapter president, “not only in award-winning but in putting on a great show” – the 15th annual AICE Awards at Navy Pier with an audience of 500.

Chicago had had three top winners out of the Awards’ 33 categories.

Best of Chicago was awarded to Beast’s Angelo Valencia for DigitasLBi spot for Whirlpool.

The Colonie won twice: Brian Sepanik for GrubHub / Tandem, Inc., in the Dialog / Monolog / spoken Word category and Keith Kristinat for 71 Degrees North / Chevy Trucks in the Spec Spot category.

“Little Green Men” bows on Earth Day

“Little Green Men,” a timely TV series about living green in U.S. cities, appropriately bows on Earth Day, April 22 over WYCC-Ch. 20 analog and Ch. 21 digital.

The six-part, half-hour HD series, produced by Wright Bros. Photoplay, launches with a show about the newest green technologies and life styles that come together at the Green Festival at Navy Pier in May.

Environmentalist and author Mike Nowak, the radio voice of gardening for more than a decade, co-hosts the series with Maria Elena Ponticello, host and freelance show producer for Telemundo/NBC Universal.

According to Ad:Tech, is “Citizen Kate” a blip or a buzzworthy series primed for TV stardom?

There wasn’t a whole lot of excitement at this year’s Ad:Tech, the big digital marketing conference at Navy Pier last week, headlined by the big guns in advertising, branding, metrics, publishing and search.

I’m not with an ad agency. I attended to find out what advertisers want so I can deliver it to them. Knowledge is power.

I produce a series from the campaign trail about the powerless called “CitizenKate.TV,” the outsiders’ view of inside politics.

Tickets all sold out for CIFF’s Chicago premiere of “The Dark Knight,” but you might try eBay

All 440 seats at the IMAX Theatre at Navy Pier have been sold out for the Chicago International Film Festival’s July 16 Chicago premiere of “The Dark Night.”

The block of tickets Warner Bros. allotted to CIFF were sold out within hours of the May 16 announcement to CIFF members. But you can bid on originally-priced $150 ticket being offered on eBay starting at $232.

A tribute and Visionary Award presentation to “The Dark Knight’s” writer/director Christopher Nolan will precede the screening of the two-and-a-half hour movie.

Chicago editing pioneer Bob Sinise is AICE Hall of Fame inductee during May 17 Awards Show here

The International Assn. of Independent Creative Editors (AICE) will induct Chicagoan Bob Sinise (yes, Gary’s father) into its Hall of Fame at the annual awards ceremony at Navy Pier May 17.

Sinise started Chicago’s first independent editing shop in the ?60s at a time when the entire film industry?especially commercials?was undergoing a seismic change.

His induction will follow ten category awards to winning spot entries submitted by members of AICE’s nine chapters, including one in Toronto, said local AICE chapter president Tom Duff, president of Optimus.

Advertising and cultural experts present new ideas at Oct. 27-29 4As conference

Leading local industry speakers combine with professors of prestigious universities to bring new thinking and global overviews to Advertising That Works, a three-day conference Oct. 27-29 at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.

Some 650 guests are expected at the 2nd such Chicago conference, a joint effort of the 4As Chicago Council, chaired by retired agency owner Bud Browning, in cooperation with New York-based Assn. of National Advertisers.

The opening gala Oct. 27 kicking off the conference is a reception and screening of the 2004 Cannes Lions commercials Wednesday, Oct.

July 3rd fireworks to Celebrate Chicago’s Reopening

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announces July 3rd fireworks along the lakefront to kick off Independence Day Weekend. The event will also act as a celebration for Chicagoans whose diligence in following public health guidance has allowed City leaders to safely and fully re-open under Mayor Lightfoot’s “Open Chicago” initiative. In place of Navy Pier Fireworks, … Continue reading “July 3rd fireworks to Celebrate Chicago’s Reopening”

Chicago’s beloved architect Helmut Jahn has died

AIA Chicago’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner Helmut Jahn, a prominent German modernist/postmodernist architect who designed an Illinois state government building (James R. Thompson Center) and worked on the design of the FBI headquarters in Washington, was killed in a bicycle accident involving two vehicles as he was riding his bicycle outside Chicago according to the … Continue reading “Chicago’s beloved architect Helmut Jahn has died”

SCC acquires PR and digital agency TimeZoneOne

Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) has acquired 100 percent of the operations of TimeZoneOne (TZO), a multi-faceted PR and digital agency based in Chicago with offices in New Zealand and Canada. TZO serves a global roster of clients in entertainment, hospitality, tourism and consumer goods. In addition to serving as the PR and digital agency of record for the … Continue reading “SCC acquires PR and digital agency TimeZoneOne”

City of Chicago awards $2m in CityArts Program grants

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the recipients of the 2020 CityArts Program grants. This year, the CityArts Program is awarding general operating grants between $2,000 to $30,000 – and special project grants ranging from $2,500 to $56,200 – to 191 nonprofit organizations for a total … Continue reading “City of Chicago awards $2m in CityArts Program grants”

Bears to begin games without fans in stands

Expect The Bears ratings to go through the roof this year. And not because former Eagles’ Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is a QB. No, The Bears and the City of Chicago have agreed that it’s not yet the right time to welcome fans back to Soldier Field due to COVID-19. But they will continue … Continue reading “Bears to begin games without fans in stands”

Legendary Pam Zekman honored with virtual tributes

The team at Reel Chicago feels that Pam Zekman is as much a part of Chicago as Navy Pier, the Cubs, and Vienna dogs. Clearly the people of Chicago feel the same way. Comments and tributes began pouring in after hearing the disturbing news that Pam lost her position of 39 years as investigative reporter … Continue reading “Legendary Pam Zekman honored with virtual tributes”

Mayor Lightfoot announces Chicago’s 4th of July events

Fourth of July signature events include a virtual House music festival, a virtual “Independence Day Salute” concert event, and at-home Salsa dance parties across Chicago.  Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced the City’s signature Fourth of July holiday events including a virtual House music festival, a virtual … Continue reading “Mayor Lightfoot announces Chicago’s 4th of July events”

Chicago Film Office begins issuing permits for filming

In the following statement, the Chicago Film Office announces that it will begin issuing permits for filming, with specific guidelines. The City has indicated that Chicago’s key health metrics are on track to allow for a transition from Phase 2 (Stay at Home) to Phase 3 (Cautiously Reopen) in early June. This means that some … Continue reading “Chicago Film Office begins issuing permits for filming”

3% Conference touts ‘amazing’ 2019 lineup

Authors, CEO’s and former NFL players among speakers scheduled for annual event at Navy Pier   The organization built on a commitment to women is looking for men. The 8th annual 3 Percent Conference — taking place this year on November 7-8 at Navy Pier — explains the gender bias on the front page of … Continue reading “3% Conference touts ‘amazing’ 2019 lineup”

TimeZoneOne says “Meet Us Here” at Oak Park

“Oak Park is Chicagoland’s hidden gem, and this fully integrated campaign is about re-positioning the city and its many communities,” — Daniel Thomas, TimeZoneOne The team at TimeZoneOne seems to be keeping very busy. Last week, we reported on the indie communications agency being named AOR for popular Navy Pier. Now the agency is helping … Continue reading “TimeZoneOne says “Meet Us Here” at Oak Park”

The Escape Pod unveils new leadership team

“To help our clients win, we need to make sure our leadership team is the best in the business.” – Norm Bilow, Escape Pod Big moves are happening at indie agency The Escape Pod. The agency announced its new leadership team. This news includes Derek Sherman who has been appointed Executive Creative Director, Tyler Moore … Continue reading “The Escape Pod unveils new leadership team”

AICP Midwest Chapter sets active agenda for spring

A busy slate of events will culminate in the AICP Post Awards next month AICP’s Midwest Chapter is about to kick off a series of events for the local ad and production community that will provide opportunities for professional development, learning and networking. The slate is the product of planning and strategizing by the chapter’s … Continue reading “AICP Midwest Chapter sets active agenda for spring”

Reel Women: Susan Betteridge, Group Creative Director

The mcgarrybowen creative leader and SheRunsIt Working Mom of the Year describes how she is “still figuring it out” Susan Betteridge has made a profound and positive impact on a lot of people since moving to Chicago from Grand Rapids nearly two decades ago. Besides clients and coworkers at mcgarrybowen, where she has been a … Continue reading “Reel Women: Susan Betteridge, Group Creative Director”

AICP Post Awards announces 2019 Curatorial Committee

The select panel of editors, colorists, visual effects artists, directors and audio mixers will ensure work meets judging criteria and select Shortlist and Best in Show Matt Miller, President and CEO of AICP, today announced the makeup of the 2019 AICP Post Awards Curatorial Committee. The AICP Post Awards, part of AICP’s suite of competitions … Continue reading “AICP Post Awards announces 2019 Curatorial Committee”

WTTW’s “Chicago on Vacation” with Geoffrey Baer

WTTW special revisits the great Midwest family road trip with Geoffrey Baer When your family piled into the car for a vacation, where did you go? Starved Rock? Lake Geneva? The Wisconsin Dells? Maybe the Indiana Dunes? Or Michigan’s Harbor Country? The road trip is a time-honored tradition, and “are we there yet?” is a … Continue reading “WTTW’s “Chicago on Vacation” with Geoffrey Baer”

The 3% Conference rises in Chicago

Expert speakers, engaging activities, and sensational presentations helped to guide 1,300 industry attendees onto the same important long-term group project   Besides being informative, last month’s 3% Conference at Navy Pier was enlightening, collaborative, optimistic, intense, cosmopolitan, introspective, touching, intimate, raunchy, and hilarious. And that was just during the final few hours of the two-day … Continue reading “The 3% Conference rises in Chicago”

72andSunny seeks applicants for 3% Conference Chicago

The agency will sponsor five young people to join them at the November 8–9 Navy Pier event. To bring more diversity to the agency culture, The 3% Movement was formed. The movement aims to create opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to break glass ceilings and join in on what is happening in the creative … Continue reading “72andSunny seeks applicants for 3% Conference Chicago”

“Avenger” cast members storm Ace Comic Con Midwest

Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, and Tom Hiddleston will headline the October 12-14 event at Navy Pier (Chicago — 1 October 2018) Don Cheadle (War Machine), Chris Evans (Captain America), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) — stars of the worldwide hit Avengers film franchise — are headlining ACE Comic Con Midwest at Chicago’s Navy Pier, October 12-14. … Continue reading ““Avenger” cast members storm Ace Comic Con Midwest”

Cow Lamp Films’ “Skeletons in the Closet” at Horrorama

The “hilarious” and “terrifying” anthology series starring The Widow and her dead husband, Charlie screens at the Davis Theater on September 7 (Chicago — 17 August 2018) Cow Lamp Films announce the World Premiere of its newly acquired indie horror comedy feature film Skeletons in the Closet by Chicago Directors Tony Wash and B.A. Lewandowski. … Continue reading “Cow Lamp Films’ “Skeletons in the Closet” at Horrorama”

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”

Radha Mitchell toplines “The World Without You”

Chicago-based SB Productions announces Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill, London has Fallen), last seen in the faith-based film, The Shack, alongside Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, will star and executive produce, The World Without You, based on Joshua Henkin’s best-selling novel of the same name.

The film represents the directorial debut of established actor Damon Shalit, who was the writer and producer of African Gothic and A-List.

Reality web series seeks next “Great Street Musician”

PRODUCTION HAS BEGUN, literally, in the streets of Chicago for a new music-based web reality series, “In Search of the Great American Street Musician” – an “America’s Got Talent” meets “American Idol” concept, hosted by local actors, Shannon Novack and Keithen Banks.

The series follows the pair as they comb every nook and cranny of Chicago in order to find the best undiscovered musical talent. Needless to say, the production team will be in and around Lollapalooza next weekend.

“Heroes on Deck” reveals WWII sunken aircraft secrets

How 100 World War II aircraft ended up on the bottom of Lake Michigan and revealed a secret U.S. Navy training operation, is the subject of an intriguing documentary to air on WTTW/11.

Hourlong “Heroes on Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan” will be broadcast as part of the PBS station’s Memorial Day observance May 26 at 9 p.m. and May 29 at 6 p.m. and on PBS stations nationally.

City’s silly tourism “ideas” miss the obvious answer

When?  When?  When will the madness end?

We’ve watched for years, decades — an eternity it seems — as Chicago has continued to grapple with that most pressing of marketing issues:  How do we make this city a hotspot for tourists?

With Rahm Emanuel now at the city’s helm, it appears he has instructed his small circle of business buddies — including potential gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner — to double down and come up with some fresh answers to a question that has proved unanswerable for so long.

Art smart Burnett/Arc’s public ploy promotes theatre

There they were Sunday morning.  A couple of hundred people gathered around the staircase inside the Michigan Avenue entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago.  They were staring at something odd. Something that didn’t look right — a drastically-altered version of Georges Seurat’s famous “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884.”  

Those who know that painting well would have known immediately that a number of the key characters Seurat put in the painting were missing in the version that greeted them at the entrance to the Art Institute.

Experiential design demand fuels Leviathan’s growth

When his company eatdrink started to bounce back from the recession in 2009, Chad Hutson turned to Matt Daly, formerly a CG and VFX artist at Optimus, to augment his downsized staff and win bids for Walt Disney Imagineering and Maytag.

The two began to envision a design studio “grounded in broadcast CG but extending into experiential design,” with Daly as chief technologist and Hutson as executive producer. They brought on Jason White from lift as executive creative director, and launched Leviathan in 2010.

Chicago needs to creatively rethink its film future

Like the recently revealed Chicago Cultural Plan for expanding the arts, here is a film professional’s vision of how to move Chicago into the top tier of entertainment production.

Chicago needs to step up its game if it plans on competing in the film industry.  But if it’s happy competing for film revenues with low-producing Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, then Chicago is headed in the right direction.

Zombies invade new YouTube webisodes

Although the fall season has only just begun, Joone Studios and Zombie Army Productions are already into deep into Halloween, with Season 2: “The Days of the Living Dead,” a weekly webisode series starting Sept. 16.

Season 2 covers a “meet-the-zombies one-by-one as they transform from the house of the living to the house of the dead,” says DP Jayme Joyce, who cofounded Joone Studios last May with director Jessica Christopher.

Thank YOU, Ron Howard!

WHAT AN UNEXPECTEDLY NICE GESTURE. In surely what’s got to be a first in the 35-year annals of Hollywood-in-Chicago entertainment production, departing director Ron Howard, stars Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, and the cast and crew of “The Dilemma,” placed a full page ad in the Sun-Times Friday.

The ad thanked Chicago “for a great shoot and a great time in your town!”

The ad offered “Our special thanks to ?

Why not Chicago?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Michael Mann’s 1930s crime movie “Public Enemies,” which spent $25 million filming in Chicago and the state last year, will have various premieres, advance and special showings everywhere else except Chicago before the movie’s national July 1 opening.

Its world premiere will be the centerpiece of the Los Angeles Film Festival June 18-28.

In Wisconsin, which is already benefiting from tourism to movie locations, has at least two pre-release events planned so far.

Zig/Chicago losing its zip without Kevin Lynch

ZIG/CHICAGO MAY ZAG with the loss of creative director Kevin Lynch come early February, when he leaves the Chicago branch of Toronto-based Zig. Two years ago Zig acquired hot creative boutique agency Hadrian’s Wall, of which Lynch was co-founder.

Lynch’s stated reason for leaving, he told the Sun-Times, was simply because he wanted a change. He said he is considering all career options in advertising and beyond.

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. ?

HMS Media scores record number of theatrical promo projects this year, including national tours

Business has never been better for HMS Media, the 20-year-old company that specializes in performance art video. “The economy has had so much fluctuation, but if anybody ever needs evidence that the show must go on, we’re it,” said HMS co-founder Scott Silberstein.

He estimated that by year’s end HMS will have completed jobs for 30 Broadway shows and 95 national tours.

“We never thought we’d crack the Broadway world ? word is that they have production companies out there,” Silberstein joked.

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.

The Show Department to celebrate its 25th anniversary; Town Hall meeting for SAG members

THE SHOW DEPARTMENT founders/owners president Lee Faclis and vice president Jeff Facklis will host a gala, invitation-only silver anniversary party for clients, colleagues and friends Thursday night at its Fulton Street facilities.

The AV equipment and supply rental service was founded in 1983 and has grown substantially to become one of the nation’s biggest companies.

Total number of employees among The Show Department and Resolution Digital Studio divisions numbers nearly 100.

The Wachowskis’ new North Side post/FX facility should focus favorable attention on local scene

The Wachowskis’ new North Side post and special effects studio will give Chicago the Hollywood glitz it has long needed to move it into the foreground of production.

The native South Siders of “The Matrix” fame, will open a high tech facility at 5645 N. Ravenswood in what had been the Ravenswood Studio, a scenic design shop.

The Wachowskis’ new North Side post and special effects studio will give Chicago the Hollywood glitz it has long needed to move it into the foreground of production.

The Wachowskis’ glitzy new special effects studio should provide new jobs

The Wachowskis’ new North Side post and special effects studio will give Chicago the Hollywood glitz it has long needed to move it into the foreground of production.

The native South Siders of “The Matrix” fame, will open a high tech facility at 5645 N. Ravenswood in what had been the Ravenswood Studio, a scenic design shop.

Given the Wachowskis well-known propensity for privacy, little is known about the studio operation, such as the official date of opening, staff size or whether local artists will be hired or all imported from L.A.

Ellen DeGeneres promises her May 3 Chicago-based daytime NBC show will be “super-sized”

ELLEN DeGENERES will tape her popular daytime show here May 3, although the taping venue hasn’t been announced. Since her show airs on NBC, taping at Ch. 5’s big studio seems a natural. DeGeneres declares her Chicago show will be “big, big, big, huge It’s extra-large. It’s super-sized.”

While in Chicago, DeGeneres will headline the nearly- sold out annual black-tie Make-A-Wish Ball at Lincoln Park Zoo. Tickets are $500 each.

SCREENWRITER/DIRECTOR ZACH HELM (“Mr.

L.A.-based Windward to shoot daring single-take kidnap thriller here; stars “Spy Kids” Alexa Vega

“Spy Kids'” Alexa Vega performs one of her first grownup roles in L.A.-based Windward Entertainment’s low-budget film, which shoots here March 24-28.

Windward’s Evanston-based producer, James Toland, says they are “absolutely thrilled with the reception we’re getting from Chicago” for their film, which shoots under the SAG Low Budget Agreement.

“Helix” (a working title) is a “Russian Ark”-style kidnapping story told in one 96-minute single take. Toland says this is the first time a single take movie has been made in the U.S.

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.

Story of Chicago’s lengendary Chess Records to film here, starring Matt Dillon and Jeffrey Wright

ACTOR MATT DILLON will portray Leonard Chess, the legendary founder of the South Side Chicago blues label Chess Records, in Sony/BMG Film’s “Cadillac Records.”

Written and directed by Darnell Martin (“Prison Song”), filming of the 1950’s story is set to begin in January in New Jersey and Chicago. Jeffrey Wright also stars.

Chess, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, scoured the South, checking out the various blues scenes and selling records from the back of his Cadillac.

The town is jumping with movie and TV projects; Backyard’s Kevin Smith shoots a short this week

DIRECTOR KEVIN SMITH of Backyard Productions of L.A. and Chicago departs from his role of directing commercials to helm a 20-minute short titled “Bubblerama” around town this week. Leigh Jones is producing.

The story is about a young woman played by actress Annie Paresse, a bohemian artist type, who reinvents herself during the process of researching an upscale life style.

“Bubblerama” will head for the festival circuit when completed.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” premieres here June 7

SPINNING HUNK POWER INTO RELIEF AID, “Ocean’s Thirteen” will have a June 7 Chicago premiere to support relief efforts in war-torn Darfur. Producer Jerry Weintraub and “Ocean’s Thirteen” stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle will hit Chicago on a three-city tour — L.A. on June 5 and Las Vegas on June 6.

Vanity Fair will host the Chicago premiere. It will include the screening at AMC River East 21, followed by a glitzy party at the new Room 21 restaurant and night club due to open at 2100 S. Wabash.

Neuberger produces music festival webcast

HANK NEUBERGER, Chicago’s sound guru, is currently in Palm Springs where he will head a 90-member crew, including lots of Chicago guys, to produce a three day webcast of the big annual Coachella Music Festival of contemporary rock and pop music.

The festival will be captured with 18 HD cameras, with video support provided by Trio Video.

It will run on website www.at&tblueroom.com for 10 hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The following weekend, the entire crew moves to the Empire Polo Field in nearby Indio, Calif.

“Dark Knight” brightens the city this summer

“THE DARK KNIGHT,” Warner Bros.’ latest “Batman” installment could be “the largest single production ever shot in Chicago,” says the CFO’s Rich Moskal.

It could add at least $30 million to the local economy.

We don’t know if that’s “Batman’s” budget here, however, or if it represents the Chicago budget’s 2.5 multiplier or “trickle down” effect on the economy. But who cares. That’s a lot of moolah and represents a lot of work.

Christopher Nolan again directs, and Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman return in the cast.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes

NEW LOBBYING FIRM FOR IPA. The Illinois Production Alliance has hired The Illinois Governmental Consulting Group to convince the Illinois legislature to extend the wage tax credit bill to a full five years from the one-year extension it got last December.

IGCG representatives are chief lobbyist Brian Hynes, who knows the film business through his Teamsters clients, and Elgie Sims, Jr. Meanwhile: IPA legislative committee, chaired by DGA’s Dan Moore, is finalizing the legislative agenda to present to the spring session.

Mayor, Mrs. Daley and the city honored for their support of arts programs since 1989

Hizzoner, Richard M. Daley, has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Leadership in the Arts by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. The prestigious honor was presented January 18 at the Mayors’ Arts Luncheon in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Daley was cited for his unwavering support for arts programs in Chicago since taking office in 1989. He was credited with saving and restoring our beautiful old public library and turning it into a cultural center, for “Cows on Parade,” and for the creation of Millennium Park.

Up & Down the Avenue

O’Connor Casting added full-time session director Lynn Ann Bernatowicz, a former play director for Goodman, Shattered Globe, Circle and University of Pittsburgh theatres. And Sarah Reule rejoined the staff as a session director and Anthony Berg was named office manager. David O’Connor reports working on 150-plus productions commercial, print and corporate so far this year.

Up & Down the Avenue – 08/30/04

Lakeshore Productions’ internationally-flavored feature “Wicker Park” has opened in theatres to lukewarm reviews. The movie is an adaptation of a French screenplay originally set in Paris, but relocated to Chicago. It was written by a Hollywood screenwriter, shot in Montreal with an American-Australian-German cast and directed by a Scot. The movie shot in the real Wicker Park for five days last spring.

Don’t throw away your junk just yet.

Nicolas Cage to be honored July 19
at Chicago Film Fest Summer Gala

Nicolas Cage will receive the career achievement award at the 39th Chicago International Film Festival.

The 2018 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards

The 60th annual celebration of the standard bearers for excellence in the television broadcasting industry   The 2018 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, Chicago Ballroom, 540 N. Michigan.       The Nominees Outstanding Achievement for News Programming – Evening Newscast: Larger … Continue reading “The 2018 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards”

Cutters Detroit starts up with a notable staff of six

 Already a part of the Detroit post scene with its partnership in RingSide Creative, newly established Cutters Detroit is creating its own identity in the Motor City’s multibillion dollar ad market in its own new offices in the RingSide facility in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park.

Cutters Detroit has a staff of six, headed by executive producer Mary Connolly, who was recruited from Griot Editorial, where she worked for 12 years, starting as a rep and moving to a producer’s position.

Subscribe to ReelChicago.com

To receive our reader Elerts, delivering the latest, exclusive news of Chicago’s visual media industry, click here.