Mark Androw frankly admits his loves his job as board chairman of the 255-member Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers.
The president/executive producer of The Story Companies was recently reelected to a second one-year term. “There’s an amazing group of producers on the board and it’s a it’s a privilege to serve with them,” he says.
Fresh off Jeff Garlin’s feature debut and the season premiere of CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” Misty Tosh of Fatcake Productions is on her way to Baja, Mexico to produce a pilot for the series “Tracking Expats.”
“It’s a totally off-the-cuff, spontaneous road show about tracking down American expatriates in foreign countries, really covering how they make the move, what they do once they arrive, and what kind of life they are leading, or looking to leave,” Tosh said. “It’s geared toward National Geographic Channel.”
A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD will be presented to actress/comedian Jane Lynch, a Chicago area native, by the Chicago Comedy Film Festival (CCFF) and the Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School, Thursday, Nov, 10 before a sold-out audience at The Second City Training Center.
Lynch will receive the award from Jessica Hardy, CIFF founder / artistic director and Second City president Andrew Alexander. The 7 p.m. presentation will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by the Chicago Filmmakers Shorts Program of a dozen locally-made comedy films.
Two years ago Chicago lost another great writer/performer to the lure of Hollywood. Andy St. Clair spent years on the Second City Mainstage and touring company in ”Campaign SuperNova (How Many Democrats Does it Take to Lose an Election?),” “Studs Terkel’s Networking,” and the Mainstage show, “The Taming of the Flu.”
Still, he’s not quite sure how he ended-up a staff writer for Denis Leary’s new series, “Sirens.”
In the TV world of head-spinning change, it’s rare when a show can sustain itself, night after night, for a quarter of a century, as WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” has done.
In celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary, WTTW is celebrating with a benefit gala at the Harris Theatre April 17, with host Tim Kazurinsky and a galaxy of local stars.
They include gospel legend Mavis Staples, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, the top brass from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Second City performers and 7-year-old piano prodigy Emily Bear.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chicago improv that had its genesis in the legendary Compass Players, which in turn spawned The Second City.
Paying homage to that revolution in comedy, Chicago Improv Festival’s subtitle is “From the ?Compass’ to the World, Celebrating 50 years of Improvisational Theater.”
In 1955, University of Chicago alums Paul Sills and David Shepherd founded the pioneering comedy of the Compass Players in a converted storefront cabaret theatre near the U of C.
The first Second City revue show premiered in 1959.
GAY IS THE GIVEN, not the punchline.
They’re funny. They’re gay. And when I saw their runway summer hit “Weddings of Mass Destruction,” my first thought was, “I can’t believe they’re not on television.” But if all goes according to plan, that’s about to change.
The Second City-born GayCo rolls in its ninth anniversary as a celebrated Chicago sketch comedy stage ensemble with the introduction of its newly completed series of TV-style sketch videos, “GayCo Presents?”
It was the most fun I’ve had producing anything for the screen.
Rewind to summer 2004.
Three former performer/writers who worked together at The Second City combined their considerable comedy talents in a comedy short directed by award-winning spot director Leroy Koetz.
The payoff: “Jakarta Boom Boom” will be one of 19 comedy shorts presented at the prestigious and career-boosting HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Feb. 9-13.
The 12-minute short is based on a performance of the improvisational group “Dasariski,” comprised of co-writer/performers Craig Cackowski, Robert Dassie and Rich Talarico.
We never pass up a story about Chicago’s favorite son, Bill Murray. And Bill Murray is trending again. Not for his globetrotting antics or reliving the same day in February over and over again. Murray has joined up with Emmy award winner, Master of None creator, writer, director, and star, Aziz Ansari in the upcoming … Continue reading “Bill Murray teams with Aziz Ansari in Searchlight comedy-drama”
Chicago friends, family and co-workers were shocked to hear of the sudden passing of actress Lindsey Pearlman last week when she was found deceased in her car near a popular Los Angeles hiking trail. Lindsey was just 43 years old and had been reported missing a few days prior to the heartbreaking discovery. Full story reported … Continue reading “Chicago mourns the death of actress Lindsey Pearlman”
The wait is almost over! Premiering this Sunday, Sikora reprises his role as Tommy Egan in Power Book IV: Force, the highly-anticipated Power spin-off. Fans of Chicago local, Joseph Sikora were absolutely thrilled to catch glimpses of him as Starz’s newest series Power Book IV: Force was filming throughout the Chicago area beginning last March … Continue reading “Joseph Sikora reprises his role as Tommy Egan in Power Book IV: Force”
The Chicago Film XLerator, a Creative Cypher Project is a content lab intended to discover new BIPOC talent and increase creative pipelines in the entertainment industry. Founder Troy Pryor is an advocate for connecting undiscovered diverse talent to mainstream media platforms through his entertainment brands Creative Cypher and Pryor Holdings. On Thursday, January 19th, 2022, … Continue reading “Chicago Film XLerator Program for BIPOC creators announces 2022 winner”
Chicago’s greatest cultural export just might be improv theater, which was born at Jane Addams’ Hull House during the Great Depression and carried out into the world by the likes of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. While to most people improv might seem synonymous with comedy, the art form was devised … Continue reading “How a trailblazing woman made Chicago the home of improv”
Global creative audio network Squeak E. Clean Studios has promoted Julie B Nichols to Creative Director after two years as a senior composer with the company. A renowned Chicago-based composer, songwriter, director and producer, Nichols has over a decade of experience as a well-rounded musician composing across commercials, film, live theater and her with band The Chicago Soul … Continue reading “Squeak E. Clean promotes composer Julie B Nichols to Creative Director”
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”
Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity on a daily basis. For the month of February, you will be able to celebrate wonderful human beings, like Tyler Davis with … Continue reading “RBL Spotlight: actor, comedian, filmmaker Tyler Davis”
Noisefloor welcomes singer/songwriter, filmmaker, and writer Carly Glenn to the family. Carly has worked in production for almost 3 years and brings many talents to the table. “Carly is a great fit for us. Her willingness to wear multiple hats and learn new skills is exactly what we were looking for,” says Noisefloor partner Cory … Continue reading “Noisefloor welcomes Carly Glenn to the family”
Players Workshop, the original school of improvisation in Chicago established in 1970, is offering free virtual workshops to teachers and furloughed or laid off workers to help them overcome some of the work challenges from the pandemic. Teachers will learn improvisation exercises they can use to engage and focus their students in virtual classrooms. Those looking for work will learn how to become a … Continue reading “Players Workshop offering free virtual classes”
Chicago Public Library announced that the upcoming group of celebrity readers for the popular “Live From the Library” program will celebrate the beginning of Major League Baseball. “Live From the Library” which features a combination of librarians, authors, celebrities, and notable Chicagoans, will highlight notable representatives of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox organizations, … Continue reading “Cubs and White Sox read for CPL ‘Live From the Library’”
ALG Brands has been tapped to represent the estate of John Belushi and the Blues Brothers for licensing and legacy opportunities. Announced by ALG COO Scott Austin, the branding firm will manage Mr. Belushi’s personality rights and will oversee the evolution of the Blues Brothers’ iconic intellectual property via brand collaborations, media projects, experiential events … Continue reading “ALG to represent John Belushi and Blues Brothers’ estate”
Chicago Public Library announced this week’s group of celebrity readers for the Live From the Library program, featuring a combination of librarians, authors, celebrities, and notable Chicagoans, reading stories to children and families daily at 10 a.m. CST. Actor Joe Mantegna (7/13), actress Denise Richards (7/14), and Inside Edition Chief Investigative Reporter Lisa Guerrero (7/15) will be the latest Chicago notables … Continue reading “Chicago area celebs join CPL’s “Live From the Library””
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the lineup of Chicago and national celebrities who have come together to celebrate and pay tribute to the over 35,000 graduating high school seniors across Chicago. “Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago.” is a live, commercial-free 60-minute ceremony hosted and co-created by the City of Chicago and Citadel to … Continue reading “‘Graduation 2020: For Chicago. By Chicago’ lineup”
The Obamas and Oprah are among the Chicago celebrities reading children’s books across the Chicago Public Library social channels. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Library (CPL), one of the largest libraries in the US with over 385 professional librarians, and the CPL Foundation have partnered to host ‘Live from the Library,’ a daily story … Continue reading “FCB & Mayor Lightfoot launch ‘Live from the Library’”
Responding to the “Virus Crisis,” the Independent Writers of Chicago (IWOC) and the Chicago Creative Coalition (C3) have teamed up to come to the rescue of freelancers particularly hard hit in these desperate times with a FREE webinar on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. on “Building and Preserving Your Personal Brand in COVID-19 Times,” featuring … Continue reading “IWOC & C3 free webinar on keeping your brand alive”
Those who know me best might be surprised to learn that I’ve never attended a comic con, nor have I ever truly attempted cosplay. Conceptual modeling? Yes. Cosplay? Not so much. Last Halloween, I was excited to take on the challenge of creating my favorite Mortal Kombat character of all time (Kitana), while simultaneously making … Continue reading “From cosplay to comics, C2E2 comes to Chicago”
Erica Duffy, a transplant from San Francisco, has been part of the Chicago film community for 6 years and counting. No stranger to film production, she’s the proud owner of Camera Ambassador, a local rental house in Chicago. Camera Ambassador provides resources and services to filmmakers such as workshops and screenings. The space also hosts … Continue reading “MFF launches 2020 season under new director Duffy”
The Chicago Comedy Film Festival, sponsored by Columbia College Cinema and Television Department, will present a panel of films and guest speakers around the topic of LGBTQ voices and conversations in the comedy film industry. The program is made possible by a grant from Columbia College’s academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department. It will serve … Continue reading “LGBTQ Voices in Comedy panel at CCFF”
Breaking Bad producer Stewart Lyons will be among the TV and film creators appearing at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts Visiting Artists Series this winter. The award-winning guest, who also produces Better Call Saul, will take part in the VAS’ series of feature screenings and onstage discussions with leading talent in the entertainment industry … Continue reading “‘Breaking Bad’ producer Stewart Lyons at DePaul”
Indie distributor scores ‘Open Tables’ and ‘Close Quarters’ by Second City’s Harold Ramis School Program Director Cow Lamp Films — the Midwest’s first and only full-service, independent film and television distributor — has acquired two movies by romantic comedy legend Jack C. Newell. In Newell’s signature style, both of the stories use food and humor … Continue reading “Cow Lamp acquires a pair of Jack Newell films”
’BlacKkKlansman’ screenwriters among panelists appearing at DePaul’s all-day industry conference on Saturday, Sept. 28 DePaul University’s annual Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference will take place this Saturday, September 28, from noon to 7 p.m. in the school’s Daley Building, 247 S. State St. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For … Continue reading “Film & TV pros share expertise at ‘Courier 12’”
Chicago institution that helped train Bill Murray, Bonnie Hunt, David Mamet, Amy Sedaris reopens “for people from all walks of life” after 15-year break Players Workshop, the original Chicago school of improvisation founded in 1970, is reopening its doors just in time for a 50th anniversary celebration next year. New owner Jeff Rogers, actor, creative … Continue reading “The venerable Players Workshop is reborn”
An endearing new Windy City-based family web series offers laughs and lessons while helping young people build confidence It’s hard not to fall in love with the kids in CHI-nanigans, a new Chicago-based family web series with ASL translation created by Harold Ramis Film School alum Jill Ross set to premiere August 4 on YouTube. … Continue reading “‘CHI-nanigans’ and the ‘perfect imperfections of youth’”
The world’s first film school dedicated to comedy will accept Fall session applications unitl May 15 The Harold Ramis Film School at Second City will host an Info Session and Tour next Friday, April 26, from 4-5:30 p.m. in its Old Town location at 230 W. North Ave. Founded in 2016 as “the world’s first … Continue reading “Harold Ramis Film School Info Session & Tour”
“People would like to see Denim Underwear, Hula-hoop, or The Phases of the Moon play.” Gar Hoover More than a year after production, Beth and Gar Hoover’s Curtains continues to roll through a festival circuit that has stopped in seemingly every city but their hometown of Chicago. The 25-minute comedy is about a disgraced avant-garde … Continue reading “Chicago-made ‘Curtains’ rolls through festival circuit”
“Olympia” received rave reviews at the Chicago Int’l Film Fest and is the latest from Chicago’s growing film community (Chicago, IL — 23 October 2018) Right off of a successful three-screening run at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival, Cow Lamp Films announce the film Olympia to screen for college audiences at the upcoming Chicago … Continue reading “‘Olympia’ at Chicago Comedy Film Festival”
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”
“Blues Brothers” director John Landis describes impending explosions while scouting locations in John Davies’ vintage short film In 1979, Chicago filmmaker John Davies produced a short titled, Hollywood Comes to Chicago, that featured a tour through the Windy City and its film production industry. He planned to submit the piece to WTTW’s Image Union, a … Continue reading “Hollywood Comes to Chicago — 1979”
Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are bringing their new HBO series to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Titled Lovecraft Country, the series is based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name. According to IMDb, the story is about “a young African-American (who) travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search of his missing … Continue reading “Peele and Abrams bring new HBO series to Cinespace”
Confession time. I’ve always had an odd crush on Rachel Dratch. Yeah, Debby Downer. Her. I can’t explain it, but I have always found the Second City alum kind of alluring through all of her oddball skits. So imagine my surprise and deep down joy (lust?) when I saw these amusing new Ruby Tuesday spots … Continue reading ““SNL’s” Rachel Dratch in new Ruby Tuesday campaign”
RSA Films promotes Chris Karabas to executive producer Before the promotion, Chris Karabas was the Midwest representative for RSA Films. In his new role, Karabas is expected to utilize RSA Films’ resources to branch out into multiplatform storytelling – especially social media. Previously, Karabas worked for Shafer Antelis Music in the early 90s, was a … Continue reading “Karabas, “Real Prayers,” “Make Out Party,” and more”
(Editor’s note:) Last Friday, Fox 32 abruptly parted ways with their Emmy award winning traffic reporter, Jenny Milkowski. The #1 digital talent in the Chicago market (via Sharerocket), Milkowski was understandably stunned and saddened by the decision. She issued the following statement to her Chicago followers and fans. I remember the day … Continue reading “Jenny Milkowski on her departure from Fox 32”
An Open Letter to the Chicago Film Community: The Chicago film industry continues to enjoy record-breaking growth and development. But there’s one change we are not seeing fast enough — an unequivocal rejection of the culture of sexism, misogyny, and discrimination that has long dominated this business. If our community is to continue to thrive, … Continue reading “Chicago Media Standards”
Director Tim Mason started off his new role as the newest addition to ONE at Optimus’ directorial roster by helming spots for Illinois Lottery / Downtown Partners and New Ocean / Golin.
The next 10 days will be especially exciting for talent agent Marisa Paonessa. She will be making two consecutive weekend trips to New York to celebrate the TV and film premieres of two of her agency’s talent.
She will attend the Oct. 1 premiere of “Saturday Night Live’s” 42nd season, in which her client, improv artist and sketch performer, Alex Moffat, will debut as a regular member of the iconic TV series.
“Grace and Fortune,” a comedy short written by Lapiz SVP/ECD Fabio Seidl, is one of a dozen short films by some 30 filmmakers to screen at the Midwest Independent Film Festival’s annual Advertising Community Shorts program Tuesday, Oct. 6.
TICKETS FOR “THE COCKUPS – The Motion Picture,” a feature written and directed by Gerard Jamroz of Mobilwave Films, are back on sale for the July 23 premiere after the first call
While the number of women directors of major studio films has dropped to all-time low of 4.6% in 2014, it’s encouraging that various studies show that larger numbers of female directors of indie cinema are holding their own.
For the third consecutive year, The Hollywood Reporter’s ranked Lakeview-based DePaul theatre school number 18 out of the top 25 drama schools<
Food luminaries from around the world flocked to Chicago to applaud winners of the “Oscars of the Food World” – the 25th annual James Beard Foundation Awards gala — May 4 at the Lyric Opera, the first time the awards were held outside of New York in its history.
Three popular past DCASE events have been folded into one colossal event this spring to give creative professionals in film, music, fashion, culinary and performing arts a place to meet and learn more about their craft from experts.
DAN WAYMACK, DICTIONARY FILM’S NEW DIRECTOR/DP filmed the entire Colorado town of Crested Butte, population, 1,500, for Bud Light/Energy BBDO’s “Up for Whatever” campaign, in which they painted the main route through the town bright “Bud Light Blue.”
In no uncertain terms, Sunday’s Film Summit & Expo was a rousing success – and a somewhat surprising one given the short time frame the organizers had for assembling the parts that made it so successful: the 1,000 professionals attendees, out of 1,500 who registered. The SRO panel discussions. Dick Wolf’s candid speech. The crowded roomful of exhibitors.
Say this for Mario Van Peebles: Despite the dark themes of Startz “Boss,” the director presides over a festive set. Before filming ended on the second season July 10, Van Peebles shot a final scene at in a private suite at Arlington Park racetrack.
Despite the chandeliers and gratuitous Doric columns, Van Peebles wore lime green shorts and boat shoes. The rest of the largely Chicago crew wore hats – fedoras, panamas, newsboy – in honor of their day at the races, darting off to make bets in between scenes.
AN ADDED SPECIAL TREAT for Hugo Awards attendees. John Mahoney will be on hand to honor his “Frasier” co-star Kelsey Grammer at the Hugo awards ceremony Thursday, April 19 at the new Chicago Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 221 N. Columbus Drive.
Mahoney, an Oak Park resident, and Grammer, star of Starz series “Boss,” played Dr. Martin Crane, father of Dr. Frasier Crane in the comedy series that ran a record-breaking 11 years on NBC. Tickets are $100 and may be purchased at www.chicagofilmfestival.com or by calling 312/683-0121.
After a five-year absence, the 22nd Chicago Film Critics Awards (CFCA) takes the spotlight at the Broadway Playhouse in Water Tower on Jan. 7, it again will be the first of the many awards presentations for Hollywood’s best that climax with the Oscars.
At CFCA’s first show in 1990, shy almost reclusive writer/director John Hughes received the first Commitment to Chicago Award. By then he had already had produced 11 films in Chicago.
MANY HOLLYWOOD AND LOCAL EXPERTS will lead seminars and panels May 7 during the Sundance Institute’s ShortsLab:Chicago at Columbia College, showing how filmmakers can show and promote their work, either at festivals or innovative distribution.
JOE KEEFE of Long Tail Media Group is producing fridaynitebYtes, a streaming comedy sketch series targeted to tween-and-teen internet users. The members contribute their sketch ideas and a professional cast and crew creates a show based on their ideas.
“This is where young members can contribute to upcoming episodes and learn comedy and production skills,” says Keefe, the founding executive producer of Second City Com he says.
A MEMORIAL SERVICE will be held Monday for Dorothy Jean (Dottie) Fletcher, the Fletcher family matriarch, at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.
Mrs. Fletcher, 76, was the wife of Fletcher Chicago founder Archie Fletcher and mother of Tom (Cindy), Sally and David (Kimm) of Monticello, Illinois. The Fletchers had been married for 47 years.
Mrs. Fletcher had been a registered nurse specializing in public health, substance abuse and orthopedics until she retired in 1994.
A NICE 10TH ANNIVERSARY PRESENT for Darryl S. Duncan’s Gamebeat Studios was landing the scoring assignment for the Illinois Lottery’s Summer Campaign for the second year in a row.
Gamebeat will compose music for three TV and two radio spots each for the urban market, with version for general and Hispanic markets for lottery agency R.J. Dale and producer Darryl Manuel.
A former songwriter for Warner Bros. and A&M records in Hollywood, Duncan founded his company in April, 1998. He employs seven and works out of a 3,000-sq. ft.
The AICP added a committee of 15 persons to judge a new category called Advertising Excellence/Next for the upcoming 2008 AICP Show, which arrives in Chicago five months after the New York presentation.
In scanning the list of judges, I was again struck with the deplorable lack of Chicagoans on the committee.
Maybe that’s because East and West Coast counterparts are nationally known. They consistently blow their own horns for recognition, whereas dead silence is mostly what’s heard from Chicago.
THE QUEEN OF DAYTIME is headed for primetime. Oprah’s Harpo Productions sold two reality shows to ABC, the first time she’s attached her name to a weekly primetime series.
These are the first series to emerge from Harpo’s recently formed TV development group, headed by EVPs Ellen Rakieten and Harriet Seitler.
The shows will be shot in L.A. Oprah is said to appear in at least one of the two shows, although it’s not known if she’ll be the host on either one.
THE QUEEN OF DAYTIME is headed for primetime. Oprah’s Harpo Productions sold two reality shows to ABC, the first time she’s attached her name to a weekly primetime series.
These are the first series to emerge from Harpo’s recently formed TV development group, headed by EVPs Ellen Rakieten and Harriet Seitler.
The shows will be shot in L.A. Oprah is said to appear in at least one of the two shows, although it’s not known if she’ll be the host on either one.
“I love Chicago comedy. The artists are funny, intelligent, have a great work ethic and a strong point of view. In L.A. it’s easier to find good pizza than those qualities.”?Jim Zulevic (1965-2006), in a 2005 interview.
Chicago lost a darling Saturday, Jan. 7, when Jim Zulevic died from an apparent heart attack shortly before he was due to host his weekly radio show.
In the world of improv and sketch comedy, Chicago reigns supreme. Nowhere is that more evident than in the eighth annual Chicago Improv Festival, now through May 1 at the Athenaenum Theatre and other venues.
CIF8 is bigger and more energetic than ever than ever before, with a celebrity soup roster of 125 improv and sketch ensembles.
They come from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chapel Hill, Toronto, Honolulu and Oslo, Norway.
Voiceover superstar Harlan Hogan has returned to the legitimate theatre for the first time in more than 25 years. Looking very dapper and trim in a well-fitted double-breasted suit, Hogan plays Edvard Lunt, a famous novelist and a bridegroom, in “Impossible Marriage,” a comedy by Beth Henley.
Nothing goes according to plan in this Southern Gothic comedy, set in a splendid garden (kudos to scenic designer Joey Wade).
But Hogan does get the much-younger-girl before the final curtain, even if her wedding gown includes giant, iridescent butterfly wings.
Actor/writer/producer Trevor Anthony states he has the experience and moxie to make it big in Hollywood. And he’s willing to sell a piece of his ultimate success to investors on Ebay. “With this purchase we’ll start in the red and end in the GOLD,” he promises. “Invest in my dream and I’ll take you along.” To date, the $24 response to his ad won’t quite get him to Sunset Blvd., but it is a creative bid for attention. See it at ebay.com.
The 4th Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, aka Sketchfest, at the Theatre Building is running on all three 150-seat stages simultaneously from now through Jan. 16.
One hundred-plus shows will be mounted by 83 local, national and Canadian sketch troupes chosen from more than 160 applicants.
Sketchfest’s special events include a comedy writing workshop, “How to be Funny Even if You’re Sketchy,” taught by John Vorhaus, veteran Hollywood comedy/sitcom writer (“Married?with Children”) Jan. 15. It will be followed by a panel of Chicago’s premier comedymeisters.
Figures released last month by Actors Equity Association (Equity) confirm that Chicago once again fueled Equity’s 13-state Central Region to a record-setting year, as measured by total work weeks booked under various Equity contracts.
For the 2003-2004 season (July 1-June 30), the Central Region booked 45,026 work weeks, up nearly 6% over 2002-2003. The Central Region supplied 15.6% of all Equity work weeks nationally, even though only 8.6% of all Equity members live in the region.
Business film scriptwriter Catherine Rategan interviews Eric Anderson, a 34-year-old screenwriter and graphic designer who lives in Oak Park. He was a semi-finalist in the2004 Project Greenlight competition to discover new screenwriters and directors.
By Ruth L Ratny
Twenty-five years ago, in January, 1979, I launched Screen the Weekly Newsletter. My friend, the astrologer Laurie Brady, advised an auspicious start would be on the new moon of Jan. 29, a time of new beginnings.
Auspicious astrologically perhaps, but not on Planet Earth. Screen bowed during a wicked blizzard and a SAG actors strike at a time when the once- thriving film business was fading to black.
Road Pictures has announced it has signed director Mark Schimmel for national representation. The union between Greg Malone, Executive Producer and owner of Road Pictures, and Schimmel is a long-standing one. Their work relationship has included sharing second unit producing responsibilities for the Farrelly brother’s mini-series The Now, as well as other commercial projects. An … Continue reading “Director Mark Schimmel signs with Road Pictures”
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and DCASE spotlight a slate of engaging summer arts and recreational programming taking place on the Chicago Riverwalk, a magnificent urban space located on the south bank of the Chicago River. The award-winning, pedestrian-friendly Chicago Riverwalk stretches 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Street offering restaurants, wineries and bars, live … Continue reading “Chicago Riverwalk 2022 summer season events announced”
John David Held, who went from writing copy for newspapers and TV stations to a far-flung career as an agency producer to being the first formal leader of a major industry trade association, has passed away. Held died on June 3 in Wyoming, where he had resided for a number of years. He was 97. … Continue reading “John David Held, 1st Executive Director of AICE has passed at 97”
Former Chicagoan, actor/ writer/ producer, Niko Vitacco, will return home to begin filming in August on the feature film, Guys Night. As if he followed the advice of Hemingway and Mark Twain, to write what you know, Vitacco has a heartfelt memory of his youth that is bursting to be told. Drawing from his own … Continue reading “Former Chicagoan Niko Vitacco returns home for the filming of Guys Night”
Chuck E. Cheese, the number one family entertainment venue, announced today that their second annual national live tour with Mr. Munch’s Make Believe Band will kick-off June 4 in Chicago at Navy Pier. The iconic group will return to the stage this summer to jam with families across the country, with shows in Chicago, Miami, Santa Monica and Dallas-Ft. Worth. One lucky fan will … Continue reading “Chuck E. Cheese kicks-off Summer of Fun with Navy Pier Concert Series”
The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season with screenings at NEIU and the Music Box Theater throughout the summer from May 11 thru August 31. See the full schedule and ticket information below. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SEASON FROM THE CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY Sometimes it feels like the state of cinema is one last … Continue reading “The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season”
Five new cast members join the Kay Oyegun untitled ABC pilot that is expected to begin filming in Chicago on Friday, May 13. 20th Television is onboard as the production company. Oyegun is the writer/ Executive Producer. The story revolves around five therapists in Philadelphia who find unique ways to solve problems in their patients’ … Continue reading “Five new cast members join the Kay Oyegun ABC pilot as filming begins”
In order to combat Miami’s frequent extreme heat waves, Coors Light debuted Chillboards, a new experiential eco-and social-conscious campaign directed by HELO’s Set Free Richardson via DDB. Helping communities keep cool and lower utility bills, Coors Light installed billboards with minimalist ad messaging on the roofs of 96 apartment buildings in Miami. The Chillboards feature white … Continue reading “Coors Light beats the heat with Chillboards energy-efficient campaign”
The 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival announced today the winners and runners-up for its Audience Choice Awards. The slate of 50 features and 36 shorts from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States, included an array of premieres, stories of underrepresented communities, and an increase in LGBTQIA+ films. Even though the festival is a non-competitive … Continue reading “Two feature debuts take top honors at Chicago Latino Film Festival”
Mike Hagerty, longtime character actor, best known as Mr. Teeger the building manager on Friends, passed away suddenly at 67. Hagerty was born in Chicago and got his start in acting at Second City. He has a long list of credits, having appeared in episodes of Cheers, Boston Legal, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cheers, Community, CSI, Curb Your … Continue reading “Chicago native, longtime character actor Mike Hagerty, has died at 67”
Jane Lynch accepted a new challenge by jumping into the directors chair and joining a growing list of talented actresses who appear in front of, and behind the camera. What better place to hone her skills than her hometown Chicago where she not only directed the spots for the new Illinois Tourism campaign for STORY … Continue reading “INTERVIEW: Chicago’s own Jane Lynch at home in the directors chair”
Backyard Productions announces the additions of Mac Eldridge and John M. Lopez to their roster of acclaimed directors for US commercial representation. Mac Eldridge is a multidisciplinary director with a rich background in crafting films, branded content, and commercials. Acclaimed for bringing his captivating visual style and narrative-driven storytelling to the sporting industry, his work … Continue reading “Backyard Productions signs directors Mac Eldridge and John M. Lopez”
Broken Bulb Productions, a new Chicago film production company, premieres their first feature film, That Night, on Saturday, April 30th at Logan Theatre. The comedy, written and directed by 26-year-old Lisle, IL native Zachary Trussell, is about a drunken night with friends that gives a struggling artist the opportunity to advance his career and win back the love … Continue reading “Chicago filmmakers premiere their first feature ‘That Night’”
Flavor and Cutters Studios announce the return of production veteran Kate Smith in the role of Executive Producer. The announcement was made by Flavor’s Managing Director Neal Cohen and Executive Creative Director Brian McCauley. Previously a Producer for Flavor, Smith spent the past year as Senior Producer with Carbon developing high-profile brand campaigns, including BBH … Continue reading “Production veteran Kate Smith returns to Flavor as Executive Producer”
Chicago Police Department posted a tweet with a video of three people brutally attacking Kwame Amoaku, Director of the Chicago Film Office. The post also included surveillance video of his attackers shopping at the North Riverside Park Mall after the attack. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed Amoaku to lead the city’s film office in July … Continue reading “Police ask for help and release videos of Kwame Amoaku’s attackers”
Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2022 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Women like Angie Gaffney are making “Herstory.” Strong, confident, capable, Angie Gaffney is a true renaissance woman … Continue reading “Reel Women: Angie Gaffney, Executive Director at IFA Chicago, film producer”
Friday, Reel Chicago reported that beloved Chicago Film Director Kwame Amoaku, was brutally attacked Wednesday morning. He posted on his Facebook page: “This a.m. I was attacked beaten and my car stolen by three kids. Thanks to all who have reached out. I’m in the ICU I’m going to be ok.” His Facebook post was … Continue reading “Update: New details on the Kwame Amoaku attack”
The Midwest Film Festival (MFF) presents its second entry of their 2022 season. On Tuesday, April 5, at 7 pm, MFF will host an hour-long networking soiree before featuring the Midwest premiere of Michael Glover Smith’s feature-length film: Relative at 8 pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center. This screening will be followed by a … Continue reading “Midwest Film Festival presents Relative a film by Michael Glover Smith”
American philanthropist and former WGN-TV (Channel 9) television journalist, who survived a kidnapping and murder attempt, Merri Dee passed away at age 85. Her death was confirmed Wednesday by a statement shared by WGN, “Chicago’s Very Own, Merri Dee, was a one-of-a-kind legend. From WGN staff announcer to hosting parade telecasts, telethons and even the … Continue reading “Merri Dee Chicago’s homegrown broadcasting legend has passed at 85”
Chicago-based 1o8, the evolved performance marketing agency, attracts top creative talent Jen Bills in the new role of Executive Vice President / Executive Creative Director. Bills comes directly from O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP) where she was Group Creative Director. 1o8 is a minority owned agency founded by Aalap Shah in 2018. Shah is mindfully building … Continue reading “1o8 adds top creative talent Jen Bills as EVP/ECD”
What do HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Apple TV, Netflix, NBC/Uni, Sony, Disney, AMC Studios, Showtime, STARZ all have in common? They’ve all moved into town, setup shop, and made themselves a home in Chicago to shoot a tv series. I’ve lived through the ebb and flow of the Chicago film industry since the mid 80s. This … Continue reading “What new series are setting up in Chicago and what’s leaving”
Chicagoland native, Emmy-winning writer, Golden Globe-nominated actor, comedian, director, producer, and Second City alum Bob Odenkirk returned to Chicago to promote his book at an event at the Music Box Theatre. Odenkirk was joined by Tim Meadows, actor/comedian and Second City alum, who you might also recognize from his appearance in the Chicago set of … Continue reading “Bob Odenkirk opens up about life, death, and reinventing himself”
Cinematographer Ari Wegner, ACS is no stranger to dramatic filming locations. For the 2013 feature Ruin, she worked in the Cambodian jungle; the remote landscapes of the 2018 drama Stray were captured in New Zealand; and the 2019 biopic True History of the Kelly Gang features several spectacular filming spots around the Australian countryside. Her most recent project The Power of … Continue reading “Ari Wegner ACS captures The Power of the Dog with Panavision optics”
We’re taking you behind the scenes to show you how Tracy Spiridakos and stunt double Kelli Victoria Scarangello pulled off Chicago P.D.’s most challenging scene of the season. Chicago P.D. is making a splash with their upcoming Episode 9.13 Still Water. The episode begins with Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) chatting with Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) as … Continue reading “Chicago P.D.’s Tracy Spiridakos makes dramatic Chicago River rescue”
Fargo fans should be thrilled to hear that Noah Hawley’s Emmy-winning anthology series is officially returning for a fifth season. FX announced during their presentation at the Television Critics Association’s virtual winter press tour that the network has ordered a fifth season of the series inspired by the Coen Brothers’ 1996 cult classic film. We … Continue reading “Fargo has been picked up for Season 5”
South Side got a thumbs up from HBO Max for a third season. The streaming service announced the renewal of the Chicago series. The second season of the beloved, critically acclaimed comedy series premiered as a Max Original in November 2021. Starring Bashir Salahuddin, Sultan Salahuddin, Kareme Young, Quincy Young, Chandra Russell, Zuri Salahuddin, Nefetari Spencer, … Continue reading “HBO Max renews comedy series ‘South Side’ for a third season”
In storytelling, there are four P’s: people, place, purpose and plot. The South Side Short Film Series, Reel Black Filmmakers, a program of the Community Film Workshop of Chicago, will feature five short films exemplifying the power of the four P’s. South Side Short Film Series, Reel Black Filmmakers on Wednesday, February 23 from 7-8:30p … Continue reading “South Side Short Film Series showcases talented and emerging filmmakers”
For the past few months our beloved Second City alum Bill Murray has been all over, making news and finding himself trending on social media. From Charleston, South Carolina to New York, to Monterey County, California, his heartwarming hijinks are entertaining fans. Charleston, South Carolina Although Bill Murray was born and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, … Continue reading “Where in the world is Bill Murray?”
Champaign-based Transcendence Broadcasting, a Telly Award-winning TV production studio, with deep roots in Chicago, has completed post-production for its latest documentary film, The Cotton Club: The Musicians’ Story (2022) and plans to release it on Paus.TV, a leading streaming service in the European market. The film features well known talent from Chicago, including Dee Alexander, … Continue reading “The Cotton Club: The Musicians’ Story released for streaming”
Three Chicago Med crew members make a daring real-life rescue. If you are lucky enough to know a fireman or first responder, then no doubt you have witnessed a rare breed, and the abundance of compassion that calls them to duty. The call to save lives does not end when they clock out and leave … Continue reading “Life imitates art with a daring real-life rescue on the set of Chicago Med”
Chicago Humanities Festival will present Chicago’s own Bob Odenkirk in conversation with Tim Meadows at the Music Box Theatre on March 2 Odenkirk opens up about the highs and lows of Hollywood with fellow SNL alum Meadows. The two legends get candid about all the comedy and drama in showbiz that Odenkirk has lived through and writes about in his … Continue reading “Bob Odenkirk with Tim Meadows: Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama”
Chicago P.D. is the latest TV series to fall victim to the Omicron variant Covid-19 surge, requiring a pause in production Thursday morning after a number of positive Covid tests were reported. Some of the cases were in Zone A, which includes the cast and those who directly interact with them. Our sources say that … Continue reading “Chicago P.D. pauses filming due to positive Covid tests”
Directors Steve Conry and Christian Schultz recently released this heart felt documentary that celebrates the 10 year anniversary of world famous music festival, Electric Forest. Steve Conroy is on the Seed Media Arts director’s roster. Electric Forest is co-produced by Madison House Presents and Insomniac Events who gave Conry and Schultz carte blanche to document … Continue reading “Directors Steve Conry & Christian Schultz find the heart of Electric Forest”
Human beings are social animals. Personal contact and social interaction with others is simply essential. In opposition, Covid created lock downs, quarantines and generally created a need to rethink how we communicate with each other. Because communicate, we must. Although we all had hopes for 2021, it has pushed, provoked, squished and forced its way upon us … Continue reading “The Best of Reel Chicago interviews in 2021”
Not to be outdone by Chicago Med and Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. has gotten into the holiday spirit by gifting fans one of the most intriguing mid-season finales ever. The episode titled No Way Out begins at Roy’s grave where Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) is given a choice by Special Agent Walker North (Alex … Continue reading “Chicago P.D. recap of mid-season finale No Way Out”
Fusion92, a Chicago-based marketing innovation company, announced that Shonda Nelson has been named SVP, People Strategy and will lead the firm’s expanded Human Resources Department. She will report to Fusion92 President Doug Dome. Nelson has more than two decades of HR leadership experience across multiple industries, including marketing & advertising, technology, and public relations. She has driven a wide array of HR initiatives and facilitated organizational change, gaining … Continue reading “Shonda Nelson Joins Fusion92 as SVP, People Strategy”
It’s that time of year again! Decorate the tree, get a nice cup of cocoa, and cozy up on the couch to watch the One Chicago dramas presenting their holiday episodes. Chicago Med did not disappoint with their final episode before holiday hiatus. Chicago Med, Fire and P.D. will return with new episodes on Wednesday, … Continue reading “Chicago Med recap of winter finale ‘Secret Santa Has a Gift for You’”
The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), today announces the complete lineup, schedule and special guests expected for the eighth Chicago Critics Film Festival, November 12-14. The festival opens with the Chicago premiere of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley and Peter Sarsgaard. The weekend-long festival will close with … Continue reading “Chicago Critics Film Festival announces full lineup”
IFA Chicago’s inaugural Fall Into Film Block Party event, celebrates the growth of the film industry in Chicago, the arts, creatives & filmmakers, and the local community. Whether you are a creator/filmmaker, member of the community, sponsor, business in the neighborhood or a local community member…all those looking to support our mission – this event … Continue reading “IFA Block Party celebrates the growth of the Chicago film industry”
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center announces the full festival schedule for its 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, which will take place both virtually and in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center from November 5 through December 2. The festival’s month-long showcase of Black stories will feature … Continue reading “Full festival schedule for the 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival”
Ghostwriter is a beautifully filmed black and white Indie film, about a bartender who, as a once published writer, has struggled for years with his second novel, and how he helps a combat veteran face his fears over completing a short story about his time in Iraq. Filmed in Chicago, the film is written by … Continue reading “Interview: writer and director of ‘Ghostwriter’ beautifully filmed in Chicago”
The 57th Chicago International Film Festival announced the program for Industry Days, to be held October 14 – 17, 2021, with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the film and entertainment community. Highlights include this year’s Keynote talk with Brenda Gilbert, President and Co-Founder of BRON Studios, which has received six Academy … Continue reading “57th Chicago International Film Festival announces Industry Days”
Irish heritage, tradition, grit, and resilience all run deep in Chicago, and in the not-too-distant future, so will Guinness roots. This great American city will be the home to the new Guinness Chicago Taproom, slated to open to the public in 2023 in the city’s lively West Loop neighborhood. Located at 375 N. Morgan Street, the 15,000-square-foot … Continue reading “Guinness announces Chicago taproom in West Loop”
Our predictions on Reel 360 became a reality as Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso, one of the most hilarious shows on television, took home seven Emmys after being nominated for an impressive 20 awards. The series won best comedy after Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein all scored acting accolades. This broke the record for … Continue reading “Jason Sudeikis gives a shout out to Chicago in Emmy acceptance speech”
Last night, the 73rd Emmy Awards were held with Cedric the Entertainer hosting on CBS. While most of the big Emmy news for Chicago will be pointed (deservedly so) toward Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis’, who studied here at the IO Theater, Second City and Anonymous, and co-creator, co-star and Chicagoan Brendan Hunt’s wins, another Chicago-based … Continue reading “Lovecraft Country represents Chicago with two Emmy wins”
As COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates across the state continue to increase, particularly in downstate communities with the lowest vaccination rates, Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike today announced vaccine requirements for individuals in high risk settings. All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as … Continue reading “Pritzker mandates vaccine for all healthcare workers, teachers, students”
Showtime’s brilliant series Work in Progress is back for a second season. The hit series revolves around the life of a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke, Abby (Abby McEnany) as she encounters death, doubt, suicide and depression while becoming an altogether likable heroine. Abby McEnany, creator, writer, and star of series is a fixture in … Continue reading “Work in Progress: the concept, the talent, and plans for Season 2”
There is an impressive group of Hollywood’s A-List in the new documentary American Badass: A Michael Madsen Retrospective. Among those who honor the life and career of Michael Madsen are Quentin Tarantino, John Travolta, Ron Perlman, Virginia Madsen, Charlie Sheen, William Baldwin, Paul Sorvino, the late Harry Dean Stanton, Daryl Hannah, Chuck Zito. Born in … Continue reading “Star-studded doc honors life and career of Chicago’s Michael Madsen”
Following his work on Season 1 of Godfather of Harlem, cinematographer Jack Donnelly returned for Season 2 to focus on preserving “a consistent visual style” for the series. When Godfather of Harlem Season 2 begins, it’s February 1964, and the series’ eponymous gangster, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson (Forest Whitaker), has been in hiding for three months while notorious mafioso Vincent “Chin” Gigante … Continue reading “Cinematographer Jack Donnelly discusses Godfather of Harlem”
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”
The FCB Network continues its winning streak on day two of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, taking home two more Grand Prix trophies – the first, in the category of Media – Social Behaviour for FCB Chicago’s “Boards of Change,” on behalf of the City of Chicago. The second Grand Prix was awarded … Continue reading “FCB continues its winning streak at Cannes Lions”
This Friday, June 4, is the exclusive Chicago streaming engagement of Monuments, from local filmmaker and Gene Siskel Film Center alum Jack C. Newell (Open Tables, 42 Grams), and Chicago Producer, Angie Gaffney (Executive Director of the Chicago Independent Film Alliance). The road film, featuring many Chicago landmarks and faces, stars David Sullivan (Primer, Flaked, Sharp Objects) as a college … Continue reading “Chicago filmmakers’ Monuments opens at Siskel Center”
Chicago’s youth will march alongside Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, and a number of other local and national stars in the 92nd Annual Bud Billiken Parade on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 10 a.m. The theme for this year’s parade is “Back to School, Back to Life, Back to Bud Billiken.” Produced by the Chicago Defender Charities, it is the largest … Continue reading “World famous Bud Billiken Parade and Festival is Back!”
22 beaches have officially opened for the 2021 season. The return of beach season is another step forward with Open Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot‘s initiative to safely and fully reopen the city. This marks the first time Chicago beaches have opened for public use since September 2, 2019, due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions. The 2021 beach … Continue reading “2021 Chicago beach season kicks off this weekend”
As we say goodbye to our favorite heroes from One Chicago for the summer, it’s fun to look back on all the amazing TV shows set in the Windy City over the years. Chicago has been a production powerhouse for decades and has given us some of the best movies and TV shows that were … Continue reading “Our Top 10 list of the best TV shows set in Chicago”
Today, Grubhub, a leading food-ordering and delivery marketplace, and The Greg Hill Foundation’s Restaurant Strong Fund announced the latest phase in their commitment to supporting restaurants: the Restaurant Stronger program, a new initiative to provide $5,000 grants to eligible independent restaurants. As the industry faces new challenges post-pandemic, the Restaurant Stronger grants will help restaurants fully reopen their doors, including … Continue reading “Grubhub & Restaurant Strong help restaurants reopen”
Merrell is blazing a new trail with Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG), in a new campaign that broadens the notion of hiking to attract younger, more urban consumers who shop at DSG. Video and graphic ads on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube support three new models available at DSG – MOAB Flight, Nova and Antora 2 – … Continue reading “Blue Chip’s new Merrell campaign says “Take a Hike””
Seed Media Arts is expanding and moving their headquarters to Los Angeles. This originally Chicago-based company founded in 2011 by Roy Skillicorn has recently partnered with Los Angeles based Executive Producer Brad Johnson. As Johnson expands Seed to Los Angeles, Roy Skillicorn and Nathan Skillicorn are continuing in Chicago as the midwest representation. “Chicago is where … Continue reading “Skillicorn takes on partner moves Seed headquarters to LA”
What if you could save the planet from an impending environmental atrocity with a single click? Google, in partnership with Global Citizen, FCB and 360i, teamed up to bring this to life. A new 30-second spot, on YouTube, shows a photograph of a house and its surroundings being burned down by a wildfire. The audio … Continue reading “Google, Global Citizen & FCB partner to Save the Planet”
The directorial debut of Chicago native Christian Taylor with The Girl Who Wore Freedom is an education on empathy. This documentary being shown at the GI Film Festival San Diego tells the untold WWII stories of the men, women, and children of Normandy, France, who lived through German occupation, the D-Day invasion, and the liberation … Continue reading “Chicago director, Christian Taylor screening at GI Fest”
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”