‘Black Panther’ star’s next project set in Chicago

AMC Networks opens a writers room for Michael B. Jordan’s Windy City series, “61st Street” Here’s potential good news for the Chicago production community. According to The Wrap, AMC Networks has opened a writers room (sorry Chicago writers, the rooms are in LA) for Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street, a “murder mystery” that dives into … Continue reading “‘Black Panther’ star’s next project set in Chicago”

Author Blair Davis on “Black Panther’s” epic influence

According to DePaul University Associate Professor Blair Davis, Black Panther is worth all the hype. “My students have been over the moon since last year,” he says. “Not only because there is a black superhero, but also because there is a big budget blockbuster with a huge Hollywood marketing campaign and toys and t-shirts.”   … Continue reading “Author Blair Davis on “Black Panther’s” epic influence”

Lexus, Black Panther team up for Super Bowl LII

Step aside Audi, there’s a new luxury ride in Marvel films. And it’s the vehicle of Kings. Or one King to be exact – T’Challa from the upcoming Disney/Marvel film, Black Panther. Lexus, which has had a TV relationship with Marvel’s Agents of Shield for the past 5 seasons, has unleashed a 60-second extended digital … Continue reading “Lexus, Black Panther team up for Super Bowl LII”

Doritos launching SOLID BLACK multi-platform initiative

Black voices and stories are too often unheard. In its 2020 #AmplifyBlackVoices work, Doritos recognized this and is now launching SOLID BLACK, a new multi-platform initiative backed by action and funding designed to bolster the voices of Black innovators and creators and provide them with resources to continue driving change. In total, Doritos will invest … Continue reading “Doritos launching SOLID BLACK multi-platform initiative”

Black Harvest Film Festival honors Chadwick Boseman

2020 Black Harvest Film Festival closes on November 30th with a tribute to the illustrious career of Chadwick Boseman. The Kill Hole, Boseman’s first starring feature film role, screened in the 2012 Black Harvest festival. This thriller takes on issues from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as traumatized vet Lt. Samuel Drake (Chadwick Boseman) is haunted … Continue reading “Black Harvest Film Festival honors Chadwick Boseman”

Opening Night: 26th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival

A Black Harvest Feast, opening night program on Friday, November 6 at 7:30 pm, is hosted by NBC Chicago’s LeeAnn Trotter, our Master of Ceremonies, and features a unique parade of filmmakers in a virtual red carpet to kick off the festivities.  Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshlman serve as the honorary … Continue reading “Opening Night: 26th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival”

Reel Black List: Charles Andrew Gardner, actor

“I am most proud when I’m able to shift peoples’ perspectives through the work that I do.” Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, SAG-AFTRA Chicago local president Charles Andrew Gardner is an actor with a passion for illuminating the stories of the underrepresented. On-camera credits include episodes of The Chi and Chicago PD; feature … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Charles Andrew Gardner, actor”

Black Harvest shares a wealth of American culture

The Siskel Center’s annual fest makes it clear: the next big thing in cinema will come from the African American community The Black Harvest Film Festival kicked off with an awards ceremony and a four-movie screening at the Siskel Center last Saturday night. It was followed by a reception at the Joffrey Ballet across the … Continue reading “Black Harvest shares a wealth of American culture”

Chicago Documentary Festival March 30-April 8 features four world premieres by local filmmakers

THE CHICAGO DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL returns in its biennial incarnation with more than 100 docs screening between March 30 and April 8 at eight venues throughout the city.

One of the highlights is an appearance by former Chicagoan Mike Gray and the showing of his “The Murder of Fred Hampton,” exposing the Black Panther leader’s assassination for Chicago police.

Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios welcomes several new productions to its growing campus.  As the Dick Wolf, One Chicago series prepares to wrap soon for the season, Cinespace announced four new series filming at its facilities. The Midwest’s production hot spot and second-largest film studio outside of Los Angeles in North America, recently added another 105,000 … Continue reading “Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more”

Michael B. Jordan’s ’61st Street’ filming at Cinespace

The Michael B Jordan AMC drama series 61st Street has begun shooting at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. 61st Street, which has been ordered as a two-season television event series with eight episodes per season, is a propulsive courtroom drama that follows Moses Johnson, a promising, black high school athlete, who is swept up into the infamously corrupt Chicago criminal justice system.   … Continue reading “Michael B. Jordan’s ’61st Street’ filming at Cinespace”

REVIEW: ‘Trial of Chicago 7’ is compelling entertainment

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a compelling courtroom drama that is filled with crisp dialogue that debuted on Netflix a month before the election. While Trump’s Justice Department labeled the film as political propaganda, writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s latest shows how much has not changed when it comes to our judicial system. Up to … Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Trial of Chicago 7’ is compelling entertainment”

Interview with Eileen Cabiling director of Basurero

Basurero, a short film written and directed by Eileen Cabiling, has been making some serious waves at Asian film festivals this year. In it, a struggling young Filipino fisherman named Bong (Jericho “Echo” Rosales) begins to moonlight as a Basurero, or garbageman, to make ends meet. In this case, “taking out the trash” means covertly … Continue reading “Interview with Eileen Cabiling director of Basurero”

Imagine living in a world without a superhero

Although most of us know that Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday night at the young age of 43 due to aggressive Colon Cancer, only played Black Panther in a movie, for most of us it feels like the actual superhero Black Panther died. Chadwick was bigger than life. He was more than an actor, he … Continue reading “Imagine living in a world without a superhero”

Chadwick Boseman’s final film, ‘Ma Rainey’ delayed

Netflix has halted the release of the new Chicago-set drama, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Chadwick Boseman due to the shocking and devastating news of his death. The star was 43, and lost his 4-year battle to colon cancer.  A virtual preview of first-seen clips from the film was scheduled for Monday, as well as a … Continue reading “Chadwick Boseman’s final film, ‘Ma Rainey’ delayed”

‘The Batman’ to shoot in Chicago September 30?

To say DC FanDome was a hit with fans would be a mild assessment. As millions of DC fans tuned in from around the world to see the virtual event Saturday, they were treated to new footage from several highly anticipated projects. One of the most anticipated project is Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which has … Continue reading “‘The Batman’ to shoot in Chicago September 30?”

Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street is on campus at Cinespace

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios‘ president, Alex Pissios has confirmed that the Michael B. Jordan AMC drama series 61st Street is on campus and they will begin shooting in 2021. 61st Street, which has been ordered as a two-season television event series with eight episodes per season, is a propulsive courtroom drama that follows Moses Johnson, a … Continue reading “Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street is on campus at Cinespace”

‘John Wick’ directors help out with ‘Matrix 4’ stunts

When the Wachowskis’ The Matrix premiered in 1999, it gave film audiences some of the most ground-breaking, jaw-dropping action sequences of the time. Who can forget in the opening minutes, Trinity (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) springing into the air, freezing and the camera spinning around her? Even if the subsequent sequels were not as beloved, … Continue reading “‘John Wick’ directors help out with ‘Matrix 4’ stunts”

Chicago Stunt Community punches COVID-19 in face

Right now, social distancing due to the horrendous coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, is now the norm. But the Chicago Stunt community is finding ways to still be creative while keeping a safe distance. Inspired by stuntman Aaron Toney, (Avengers: Infinity War/End Game and Black Panther), to create a “worldwide fight,” local stuntman Shawn Bernal (Batman … Continue reading “Chicago Stunt Community punches COVID-19 in face”

Jay Thomas, marketing executive

Jay Thomas, Account Director for Equator Design, 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 the archives, click here. JeWayne … Continue reading “Jay Thomas, marketing executive”

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

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

ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch”

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

ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda

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

Millennium Park Summer Film Series 2019

From “Black Panther” to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Chicago’s outdoor movie schedule offers something for everyone The 2019 Millennium Park outdoor movie schedule is diverse and awesome. Taking place every Tuesday night from June 4 through August 20, it opens with Black Panther, finishes on My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and offers Moonlight, The … Continue reading “Millennium Park Summer Film Series 2019”

2019 Academy Awards Review

Colin Costello recounts the thrill passion, and spectacle of Hollywood’s biggest night of the year There’s no way to prepare for the spectacle that is the Oscar celebration in Hollywood. Frankly, I was blown away. The, pomp, the limos, the security and the enormous amount of international press – the cameras, the microphones, the reporters, … Continue reading “2019 Academy Awards Review”

No host. No “obvi” winner. Here are our Oscar picks!

Awards season finally comes to a curious, confounding and sometimes confusing end this Sunday when the Oscars announce their winners at the Dolby Theater. This year, there is no host (may come to regret that, Kevin Hart detractors) for Hollywood’s version of The Super Bowl. And in a Black History Month where a notable number … Continue reading “No host. No “obvi” winner. Here are our Oscar picks!”

‘Favourite’ and ‘Roma’ lead 91st Oscar noms

“A Star is Born,” “Vice,” and “Black Panther” follow closely behind with eight nods apiece Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) unveiled the list of nominees for the 2019 Academy Awards, which will be broadcast on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m ET/5 p.m. PT. The Academy of Motion … Continue reading “‘Favourite’ and ‘Roma’ lead 91st Oscar noms”

My real life superhero Stan Lee passes at 95

Then I discovered my first “Spider-man” comic. Here was someone I could relate to. Stan Lee will always be remembered for creating iconic Marvel superheroes Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men and of course my beloved Avengers. He died today and I think a little bit of myself passed away with him. Here’s why. I … Continue reading “My real life superhero Stan Lee passes at 95”

Wizard World Chicago returns August 23-26

“Star Trek’s” Nichelle Nichols, “Napoleon Dynamite’s” Jon Hedon, and “X-Files” duo David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson scheduled to appear The 20th annual Wizard World Comic Con will waive its magical wand of storytelling, fantasy, and sci-fi at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont from August 23-26, 2018. The pop-culture convention hosted by Wizard … Continue reading “Wizard World Chicago returns August 23-26”

“Infinity War’s” new box office record and other news

In Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, intergalatic despot Thanos, otherwise known as the “Mad Titan,” hurls a moon at Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. The same can be said about Disney and Marvel as the behemoth event, also known as a film, did the same to the weekend box office.   The epic story, ten years … Continue reading ““Infinity War’s” new box office record and other news”

The Kyles sisters’ “Cubicle Creepshow” is scary office fun

Cubicle Creepshow is a web series that makes fun of modern corporate culture with a cast of dolls who occasionally turn into monsters. Set in an office full of self-absorbed, undisciplined smart alecks, the familiar workplace situations fit perfectly with classic horror themes. All the usual and unusual suspects are there, from the boss who … Continue reading “The Kyles sisters’ “Cubicle Creepshow” is scary office fun”

Lexus pulls a fast one for an April Fool’s Day prank

If one had stumbled across Lexus’ press room this week, one would have read a new release about Lexus’ amazing new customization for new drivers. Through a partnership with Mountain View, CA-based 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, Lexus stated that they would, ahem, soon offer the ultimate answer to vehicle customization. Called “Genetic … Continue reading “Lexus pulls a fast one for an April Fool’s Day prank”

The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news

Live action director and VFX supervisor Ergin Kuke joins The Mill+ Chicago Ergin Kuke will soon begin working his LA-honed, box office savvy as Creative Director for The Mill+ Chicago, according to a press release issued today.     Kuke has notched an expansive variety of experience since relocating to the States from his native … Continue reading “The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news”

United Airlines ends NRA discount & other news

United Airlines joins other brands in NRA boycott Chicago-based United Airlines has joined other major brands including Delta Airlines, Hertz, National and Avis car rentals as well as MetLife, Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines in discontinuing or altering their relationships with the National Rifle Association. In a tweet, United said it is … Continue reading “United Airlines ends NRA discount & other news”

“A-List” Burrell, Russell Stover, Zapwater, box office

Burrell among Chicago shops on Ad Age’s annual A-list While some were out shopping for mattresses or watching Marvel’s Black Panther for a third time on President’s Day, Ad Age dropped its annual “A-List” issue of the best agencies, and some Chicago shops made the list. We’re not surprised. We’ve been covering them all year. … Continue reading ““A-List” Burrell, Russell Stover, Zapwater, box office”

Motion, MSI, SCC, Bennett Jr., Haddish, Incredibles 2

Motion PR & AgencyMSI merge to form Motion Move over new agency Merge, there is another merger happening between two agencies. Yesterday, Chicago-based public relations and digital firm Motion PR announced its merger with AgencyMSI, the 57-year-old, integrated communications agency. Effective immediately, the two companies come together as Motion. According to the landing page on … Continue reading “Motion, MSI, SCC, Bennett Jr., Haddish, Incredibles 2”

The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Last night, the non-televised portion of The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards took place here in Pasadena. The celebration of outstanding work by African Americans in film, TV, music, and literature inspired the likes of Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Morgan Freeman, Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), and Kareem Abdul Jabbar to attend. While ten winners … Continue reading “The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards”

Fay Ferguson, Urban Grind, The Avengers, Apple

CAF honors Burrell’s Fay Ferguson Burrell Communications tweeted that The Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) named agency Co-CEO, Fay Ferguson, as the 2017 Silver Medal Award winner. Ferguson is the 22nd professional to receive the prestigious award. Nominated for her outstanding service in the advertising industry both locally and abroad, Fay is among an elite group … Continue reading “Fay Ferguson, Urban Grind, The Avengers, Apple”

OKRP, Robin Stevens, WGA-E, Ron Smith in the news

OKRP Juices up Lots of OKRP-in-Cincinnati Chicago news these days (70’s babies will understand what I did there). In addition to their great new Chili’s work, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul has acquired Chicago-based, award-winning Juice Interactive, a digital marketing agency with a roster that includes MillerCoors and SAP Hybris. The move follows the boutique agency’s … Continue reading “OKRP, Robin Stevens, WGA-E, Ron Smith in the news”

Costello’s directorial journey part 4 – an essay

Editor’s Note — Our contributor, Colin Costello, recently enjoyed personal growth by moving from beyond a writer’s traditional role to actually directing and producing his short film, “The After Party.” We asked Colin to chronicle is journey.

Let me just start out by saying I HATE crowdfunding. I feel like it is the digital version of a homeless guy on the subway, wheeling his way through on a rolling board, with a 7-11 Big Gulp cup asking for money. Some people give. Others turn the other way. I personally have acted both ways.

Mike Gray here for west side fest on social justice

Legendary Chicago native documentarian Mike Gray of Los Angeles will help open the first North Lawndale Sundown in K-Town Film Festival – a partnership between Facets and the Better Boys Foundation – when it opens Wednesday, July 10.

“This is a fully fleshed out film festival dedicated entirely to social justice and social issues,” says Mary Visconti, BBD chief executive director.  “It’s important to note that all ten films deal with issues of the city’s west side.

“The festival offers a venue for work that is amazingly important and yet rarely screened.”

Three famous filmmakers here covering NATO protests

Three famous Chicago native filmmakers, who established their reputations during the shocking turbulence surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, are returning this week as a team to document the many political, economic and environmental protests of the NATO Summit. 

Two-time Oscar winner cinematographer Haskell Wexler, director Andrew Davis and writer/director Mike Gray, with local activist/filmmaker producer Suree Towfighnia and a contingent of 15 to 20 filmmakers, will capture stories about the people in the various movements.

Telling Truth in Chicago:
A Survey of Local Docmakers, Part I

Drawing on a rich tradition of bluntness and iconoclasm, Chicago is home to a wealth of documentarians, from TV powerhouses like Towers and Kurtis Productions to national theatrical and TV leaders Kartemquin to a range of small to mid-size companies capturing public imagination and affecting social change by telling true stories. This is the first in a two-part survey of the local docmaking scene. Part two, covering companies M-Z, in our next issue.

Chicago-based films fare well in Oscar noms

Actor-producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas and singer, songwriter and actor Nick Jonas announced the 93rd Oscars nominations today (March 15), live from London, via a global live stream on Oscar.com, Oscars.org, the Academy’s digital platforms, an international satellite feed and broadcast media. Films that are either based in Chicago, or featured Chicago talent, fared very well when the nominations settled. In this very … Continue reading “Chicago-based films fare well in Oscar noms”

Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry to speak at Macy’s

Macy’s on State Street will celebrate Black History Month with a screening of the Academy Award-winning short film Hair Love followed by a thoughtful discussion with the film’s writer and director, Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry. The event takes place on February 20 at 6 p.m., Macy’s Narcissus Room, 111 North State St. Hair Love, … Continue reading “Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry to speak at Macy’s”

Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box

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

Update: Indie production, premieres

David Miller of Mindlight Films, who runs the Sangamon St. Studios in the former Orbis facility, is producing “Finding Preet,” an HD romantic comedy feature, for IV Entertainment. Production started May 6. DP is Joseph Farris of Visions of Light. Miller produced Juan Frausto’s “Once Upon a Time in the Hood,” which was lauded at the Chicago Latino Film Festival and is due for release from Breakaway Films/Maverick Entertainment and HBO Latino. Reach Miller at 773/ 562-3731.