CIFF Winners announced for Audience Choice Awards

The ballots have been tallied. Festival-goers across the US cast their votes, and the 56th Chicago International Film Festival has announced the Audience Choice Awards presented by Xfinity! The Audience Choice Award for Feature Film goes to the third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, Nomadland. The film Frances McDormand’s Fern who, after the economic collapse of a company town … Continue reading “CIFF Winners announced for Audience Choice Awards”

CIFF announces the winners of its 2020 competition

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival, North America’s longest-running competitive film festival, this morning announced the winners of its 2020 competition. In a virtual ceremony live-streamed on YouTube, prizes were awarded to films in the following categories: International Feature Film Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look Competition; and Short Film Competition. The Chicago Award and the Roger Ebert Award were … Continue reading “CIFF announces the winners of its 2020 competition”

CIFF announces ‘Go to the Body’ as winner of The Pitch

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival has announced the winner of The Pitch at the 6th edition of Industry Days: Go to the Body, written and directed by Kyra Jones (co-creator of The Right Swipe) and produced by Angellic Ross.  The film follows Sanaa, a rising racial justice organizer who is sexually assaulted by a fellow activist … Continue reading “CIFF announces ‘Go to the Body’ as winner of The Pitch”

CIFF screens Chicago-made film ‘Finding Yingying’

Chicago made, award-winning feature documentary, Finding Yingying is screening tonight at the Chicago International Film Festival.  Produced by Kartemquin Films, Finding Yingying is Chicago-based filmmaker Jiayan “Jenny” Shi’s debut feature documentary. The film follows the story of the Zhang family who, in the summer of 2017, travel to the United States from China in search of their missing 26-year old daughter. … Continue reading “CIFF screens Chicago-made film ‘Finding Yingying’”

The CIFF opens tonight with world premiere of Belushi

The Chicago International Film Festival is kicking off their 56th year with the World Premiere of Belushi, celebrating the genius and legacy of Chicago comedy icon John Belushi in the words of those who most closely knew and worked with him. The drive-in screening starts at 6:30pm CT at the ChiTown Movies Drive-In  (2343 S Throop St., … Continue reading “The CIFF opens tonight with world premiere of Belushi”

Interview: CIFF Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman

Today is the beginning of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival. Unlike other years, the prestigious festival is a bit different than the ones we have experienced in the past. With an ongoing pandemic and COVID on the rise in Illinois, the fest is combining streaming on-demand and appointment screenings and an in-person drive-in theatre … Continue reading “Interview: CIFF Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman”

Two Kino Lorber films to screen at CIFF next week

Next week begins the 56th Chicago International Film Festival and Reel Chicago will bring you coverage of the films. This year, we can look forward to two award-winning films from Kino Lorber. THE REASON I JUMPDirected by Jerry Rothwell **WINNER! Sundance 2020 Film Festival Audience Award,World Cinema Documentary** Based on the best-selling book by Naoki … Continue reading “Two Kino Lorber films to screen at CIFF next week”

CIFF selects four IL film projects for “The Pitch”

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of four narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched live in front of a virtual audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.  Now in its sixth year, The Pitch at Industry Days has established itself as a leading industry showcase spotlighting bold, original work from the Chicago region. Past projects from The Pitch at Industry Days have gone onto completion, including Jennifer Reader’s Signature Move, and two films showing at last year’s Chicago International Film Festival: Knives and Skin, also directed by Jennifer Reeder, and Haroula Rose’s Once Upon a River. This year’s filmmakers represent a diversity of voices that continue to reinforce the breadth and vitality of Chicago-area filmmakers and projects: from a sci-fi comedy horror film set in the suburbs to a drama set along the Mexico-American border, to the story of a sexual assault within a Black community and an estranged daughter in an Iraqi-American family who impersonates her recently deceased father. See below for loglines. The winning pitch receives an awards package of in-kind goods and services worth tens of thousands of dollars. Contributors include Keslow Camera, IFA Chicago and The Story Stage at CineSpace, Chicago Media Angels, Ramo Law PC, and the Sundance Institute. “Right now, during the pandemic, it’s the perfect time to develop, workshop, hone, and fine-tune feature film projects and make them great,” said Chicago International Film Festival and Industry Days Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman. “The Pitch is a terrific way for the Festival to support and encourage local filmmakers and help push their projects forward.” This year’s Pitch will be hosted by IFA Chicago Executive Director and producer Angie Gaffney, and this year’s jury includes: Bronwyn Cornelius, producer of Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Clemency; Ilyse McKimmie, Deputy Director for Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program; and Yvonne Huff Lee, co-CEO of Lagralane Group. The selected projects for 2020’s The Pitch at Industry Days are: Anchor Baby After witnessing his father nearly beat a Mexican immigrant to death while patrolling the desert border, a thirteen-year-old boy growing up in the Arizona Border Militia finds solace in an unlikely place — the arms of the new undocumented migrant girl in town. Screenwriter: Anna Hozian Director: Danny Mooney Producer: Dale Armin Johnson Go to the Body After Sanaa, a rising racial justice organizer, is sexually assaulted by a fellow activist, she tries to push past her trauma and return to her normal life. The only thing standing in the way is her fianceé, Kendrick, an overprotective boxer who has his own idea of justice. Writer/Director: Kyra Jones Producer: Angellic Ross Invasion of the Housewives … Continue reading “CIFF selects four IL film projects for “The Pitch””

CIFF announces Gardner as keynote speaker

The Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, has announced this year’s Industry Keynote conversation with Academy Award-winning producer and president of Plan B Entertainment Dede Gardner. Her credits include 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight. Both presented at past editions of the Festival. Additionally, Industry Days will host master classes with Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter … Continue reading “CIFF announces Gardner as keynote speaker”

Children’s Fest winners announced by Facets, CIFF

“The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales: ‘A Baby to Deliver,’” “The Little Fish and the Crocodile,” and “Beauty” among this year’s recipients (Chicago — 12 November 2018) Facets’ 35th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival hosted its Closing Night Ceremony on November 9, 2018 at the DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media Theater, … Continue reading “Children’s Fest winners announced by Facets, CIFF”

Swanbergs and Steve James on Kutza, CIFF, and Chi film

Indie-film legends Steve James, Kris and Joe Swanberg discuss the Chicago film fest and Michael Kutza’s retirement.   Surrounded by the glitz of the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF)’s Summer Gala at the Loews Chicago Hotel on July 14, it only makes sense that three of Chicago’s greatest independent filmmakers gravitated towards each other. Reel … Continue reading “Swanbergs and Steve James on Kutza, CIFF, and Chi film”

CIFF debuts program of local directors’ short films

ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS of the Oct. 13-27 Chicago International Film Festival is the “Shorts 1: City & State” program of eight films produced by Chicago / Illinois filmmakers.

The program screens Oct. 18, 23 and 26 at the AMC River East 21 Theatres. Gender roles and identity, God, police brutality, the meaning of life and a Bosnian refugee experience are among the topics explored in the films.

CIFF to honor directors Bogdanovich and McQueen

Two tributes will be paid to iconic award-winning film directors at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival coming up Oct. 13-27.

Pete Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show”) will receive a Gold Hugo Lifetime Achievement Award and in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of CIFF’s Black Perspectives, a tribute will be paid to British filmmaker, Oscar and BAFTA-winning director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”).

2 of 4 CIFF Audience Awards go to Chicago filmmakers

Two of the four coveted Audience Choice Awards of the 50th Chicago Film Festival went to Chicago filmmakers now living on the West Coast. Kartemquin director Joanna Rudnick’s “On Beauty,” won the award for Best Short Film, out of 68 short films from 50-plus countries and Gabe Polsky’s Best Feature Documentary “Red Army” won out of a field of 19.

Columbia Night and David Chase light up CIFF, Oct. 16

YOU NEVER KNOW who’s going to show up at the Chicago International Film Festival, which is part of the fun of attending.  On Friday night, actor Vince Vaughn showed up to support his sister Valeri Vaughn’s documentary, “Art of Conflict: The Murals of Northern Ireland,” which he narrates, that examines how street art tells the story of Northern Ireland’s history.   He also participated in a post-screening question-and-answer session.

‘City & State’ a CIFF tribute to local indie cinema

Harry Lennix shows up as a controversial comic a la Richard Pryor at his wife’s (Tatum O’Neill) Chicago night club, in Mr. Sophistication, one of nine features and six shorts in the “City & State” section of the 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s spotlight on our vibrant indie cinema scene.

“City & State” films, by local filmmakers and shot in Chicago and the state, screen throughout the Oct. 11-25 festival at AMC River East theatres.

Beast’s Valencia edits music doc screening at CIFF

BEAST EDITORIAL has been rockin’ lately with more than its usual major advertising spot work. To wit: It edited a major doc that will showcase at the Chicago International Film Festival, anointed a new producer, and executive producer Melissa Thornley assembled an awesome panel of agency executives who will speak at the Oct. 4 Midwest Independent Film Festival’s Advertising Shorts Night, she will moderate.

CIFF opens Oct. 6 with Dennis Farina’s indie

The 47th Chicago International Film Festival, Oct. 6-20, pays homage to its home city by opening with the “The Last Rites of Joe May,” a quintessential Chicago-set drama, shot in Chicago and starring favorite son Dennis Farina.

CIFF has also designated a “Chicago Collection” section, where “Conversations with …” five notable natives take place throughout the festival, speaking of their remarkable careers or in connection with their latest movie.

Chicago films rule as CIFF audience choices

Three films produced by local filmmakers and one from a director with Chicago ties took the Audience Choice Awards at the just concluded 46th annual Chicago International Film Festival.

“Louder than a Bomb,” the documentary from local filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel and the feature, “Trust,” the feature directed by Lookinglass Theatre founder David Schwimmer, were acclaimed the top winners by festival audiences.

“Chicago Overcoat” bows at CIFF Saturday

Six Columbia College alums will proudly walk the red carpet Saturday night when their ambitious first feature premieres at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Their $2 million indie feature, “Chicago Overcoat,” a totally local project, will be one of only five Chicago-made films among the 150 entries from throughout the world that will screen at CIFF, Oct. 8-22.

CIFF Summer Gala tribute to Tarantino Aug. 18

Director Quentin Tarantino will receive a special tribute at the Chicago International Film Festival’s 2009 Summer Gala Aug. 18, along with the Chicago premiere screening of Tarentino’s wildly awaited “Inglourious Basterds.”

The Tarantino tribute features a montage of his groundbreaking body of work and a Career Achievement Award from Cinema/Chicago, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

The tribute and premiere will be held at the AMC East theatre, starting at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at theWit hotel following the tribute and screening at 9:30 p.m.

All this week at CIFF: Spotlight Illinois films

Locally-made features by Carl Seaton, Joe Swanberg and Tom Gustafson, a feature doc about an underground rocker, and 10 shorts shine in the Spotlight Illinois section of the 44th Chicago International Film Festival.

The 14 locally-made films screen on different days throughout the festival, now through Oct. 29, at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois.

Executive producer Robert Townsend stars in “Of Boys and Men,” the third feature by Columbia alum Seaton (“One Week”), shot on a reported $650,000 budget.

Common will be feted along with Sidney Poitier at CIFF’S Black Perspectives Tribute Oct. 18

SINCE MICHAEL KUTZA began the Chicago International Film Festival as the first competitive film festival in North America in 1964, the local festival scene has steadily grown in size of submissions and attendance to emphasize the importance of these annual events.

Now dozens of festivals span the calendar, catering to a spectrum of audiences, ethnicities and interest groups, even as some local events like Indiefest have closed.

Foundation’s experimental short, “The Nephilim Grieves,” to screen in two CIFF sections

THE DEBUT SHORT FILM of writer/poet Vignette Nicolle Lammott, Foundation’s new media director, produced and directed by Foundation’s Anna Patel, landed in the 44th Chicago International Film Festival in October.

“The Nephilim Grieves” (Nephilim being the giant offspring of humans and angels), is based Lammott’s poem that interprets a massive abstract painting.

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.

Silver Images Award slips through CIFF’s cracks: ?a matter of confusion, not an intentional slight’

What would have been the 4th annual Silver Images Generational Award for the best film portraying the process of aging went missing from the 43rd Chicago International Film Festival.

Terra Nova Productions, producers of the Silver Images Awards, claim CIFF offered no explanation for excluding CIFF’s only cash award.

“Our biggest fear is that the festival no longer wanted to be in any way identified or associated with aging, when in fact, it had been a pioneer in championing the concept,” said a chagrined Ed Menaker, Terra Nova’s development director and a former Ch.

CIFF’S “Home Grown Shorts” program spotlights work of seven talented, local filmmakers

Plucked from more than 200 entries, the work of seven local filmmakers will be screened at the Chicago International Film Festival’s specially-cultivated, “Home Grown Shorts” program starting Oct. 7.

“These guys demonstrate that you don’t have to flee to one of the two coasts to make good films,” says CIFF Competitions Coordinator Philip Bajorat.

This is Bajorat’s sixth year with CIFF, considered to be a record of sorts by some.

Terra Nova’s cash prize?the only one at CIFF?goes to best positive film on issues of elderhood

The film that best portrays realistic images of aging will win the $2,500 cash prize from Terra Nova Film’s Silver Generations Images Award during the Chicago International Film Festival.

For the second year, Terra Nova has given the festival’s only cash prize. It will be awarded Oct. 14 at a brunch ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel.

Terra Nova’s cash prize — the only one at CIFF,

The film that best portrays realistic images of aging will win the $2,500 cash prize from Terra Nova Film’s Silver Generations Images Award during the Chicago International Film Festival.

For the second year, Terra Nova has given the festival’s only cash prize. It will be awarded Oct. 10 at a brunch ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel.

Brian Jun’s gritty “Steel City” showing Oct. 10
at CIFF was shot in his native Alton, Illinois

Illinois native Brian Jun’s “Steel City” is one of 16 films under the “New Directors Competition” heading at the Chicago International Film Festival.

The filmmaker’s $350,000-budgeted working class drama was filmed in 16mm in his Downstate home town of Alton, a former Mississippi River steel industry area, for nine months in 2004.

CIFF Chicago Award to Fleischer’s animated short

RON FLEISCHER’S debut eight-minute animated short “Lemmings” took home the Chicago Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. Fleischer was an animator for “Animaniacs,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” and “The Power Puff Girls Movie.”

Other locals honored at CIFF include a Silver Plaque to Justin Hayward for his short “Divorce Lemonade,” and a Gold Hugo for Best Student Film to Josh Hyde for his short “Chicle.”

Krysztof Krauze’s Polish feature “My Nikifor” took a Gold Hugo for Best Film and a Silver Hugo for Best Actor for Roman Gancarczyk.

Marisol Torres’ semi-autobiographical feature has local debut Oct. 9 at CIFF

After garnering a strong response at the Tribeca, UrbanWorld and New York Latino International film festivals, Marisol Torres’ debut feature “Boricua” has its first hometown screening Oct. 9 at the Chicago International Film Festival.

“The response has been phenomenal,” said Torres, who teaches film and video at Columbia College. “It’s a film that inspires conversation.”

Art Institute prof’s women’s wrestling doc bows at CIFF before Feb theatrical release

Ruth Leitman’s feature documentary, “Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling,” is one of four Chicago-made features that will premiere during the Oct. 7-21 Chicago International Film Festival.

Koch-Lorber picked up North American rights excluding premium cable for “Lipstick & Dynamite” after its U.S. debut at the Tribeca Film Festival last May.

The company is blowing the picture up to 35mm for a 30-50 city theatrical release next February, said Leitman, a School of the Art Institute professor.

The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater released today

Filmed at locations throughout Valparaiso, Crown Point, and Chicago’s suburbs, The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater is produced by Binary Star Pictures, LLC. It tells the tale of Ava Moriarty (Lorrisa Julianus), an Art History PhD dropout-turned-dominatrix.  Director/Producer C.J. Julianus says, “We established Binary Star Pictures to tell the kinds of unique stories that we long to … Continue reading “The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater released today”

Groundbreaking film program builds inmates skills

The International Children’s Media Center (ICMC), has been invited back into Cook County Jail to present the groundbreaking program, WorldScene. Once a week, detainees enrolled in the Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort (S.A.V.E) will view and discuss award-winning multi-cultural short films from around the globe. Created by ICMC Executive Director Nicole Dreiske, WorldScene aims to help cultivate … Continue reading “Groundbreaking film program builds inmates skills”

‘Dreaming Grand Avenue’ director Hugh Schulze

Dreaming Grand Avenue, produced by Newcity’s Chicago Film Project, is the story of Maggie and Jimmy, who have never met, but they keep showing up in each other’s dreams. As they navigate memories, traumas, hopes and desires in sleep and the waking world, they’ll discover the truth of their linked destiny with the help of … Continue reading “‘Dreaming Grand Avenue’ director Hugh Schulze”

56th Chicago International Film Festival announces juries

Mimi Plauché, artistic director of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival, today announced the jury members for its competitions, featuring a host of acclaimed filmmakers and film professionals from across the globe. Juries will review films competing for prizes in the following competitions: International Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look; City & State; and Short Film … Continue reading “56th Chicago International Film Festival announces juries”

Chicago Filmmakers hints at Reeling festival going virtual

Today, Thursday May 14th, The Indie Film Town Hall met to discuss the future of production in Illinois.  The panel included Christine Dudley (IPA) Angie Gaffney (IFA), Peter Hawley (Illinois Film Office), Anthony Kaufman (Chicago International Film Festival Industry) Brenda Webb (Chicago Filmmakers), Colette Ghunim (Mezcla Media Collective).  The discussion was led by Angie Gaffney, … Continue reading “Chicago Filmmakers hints at Reeling festival going virtual”

Sydney O’Haire’s short film debuts on Omeleto

Being Here, a short film written, directed, and produced by local Chicago female filmmaker Sydney O’Haire, will make its debut on the Omeleto platform, a short film YouTube channel currently with 2.45 Million subscribers.   The short, which won Best Drama at the Windy City Film Festival, focuses on Charlie (Breiner-Sanders), who is struggling to … Continue reading “Sydney O’Haire’s short film debuts on Omeleto”

21st annual Chicago Irish Film Festival opens February 27

The 2020 Chicago Irish Film Festival kicks off with the US premiere of Guns & Rosaries, the 2019 documentary directed by award winning BBC filmmaker Peter Kelly, February 27 at Chicago’s Theatre on the Lake. Narrated by Martin Sheen, Guns & Rosaries is a “fascinating documentary about Father Patrick Peyton, the Irish-American priest who brought … Continue reading “21st annual Chicago Irish Film Festival opens February 27”

Architecture, racecars, and the Blues

The ChiFilmFest 2019 program offers moviegoers art, thrills, and the music that inspired Buddy Guy The Chicago International Film Festival announced an ambitious schedule for its 55th annual run during a press event yesterday morning at AMC Theatres River East. Hosted by Artistic Director Mimi Plauché and programmers Anthony Kaufman, Alissa Simon, and Sam Flancher, … Continue reading “Architecture, racecars, and the Blues”

The Chicago Independent Film and TV Festival

CIFTV’s four-day program offers a diverse, relevant, and entertaining weekend showcase The 2nd annual Chicago Independent Film and TV Festival will return to Columbia College April 4-7. Founded on a mission to supply Chicago with “a quality international independent film festival,” the four-day event promises a diverse, relevant, and entertaining showcase of documentaries, television concepts, … Continue reading “The Chicago Independent Film and TV Festival”

NBC renews Dick Wolf’s ‘Chicago’ franchise

Nearly 35 million regular viewers watch the Windy City trifecta every Wednesday night Chicago production community rejoice, you will have even more crime, fire and sickness to deal with next year. NBC has announced that the network plans to move forward with new seasons of all three of Dick Wolf’s dramatic “Chicago” series – Chicago … Continue reading “NBC renews Dick Wolf’s ‘Chicago’ franchise”

Chicago International Film Festival call for entries

Submit work by July 8 (late deadline) to be considered for CIFF’s 55th annual run, October 16-27 The Chicago International Film Festival has announced entries are now being accepted for all programs of the Festival’s 55th edition taking place October 16-27, 2019. Filmmakers can now submit feature-length, documentary, and short films on the Festival’s website … Continue reading “Chicago International Film Festival call for entries”

‘Among Wolves’ week-long screening at Music Box

“Gorgeous … intimate” Chicago-produced doc tells of Bosnian War veterans who find peace while defending a herd of wild horses To celebrate the release of Among Wolves, an award-winning documentary that premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF), the Chicago filmmakers present a special week of screenings, events, and discussions that explore combat trauma … Continue reading “‘Among Wolves’ week-long screening at Music Box”

“Feeling of Being Watched” at Chicago Film Fest

Chicago-made doc explores an FBI operation that surveilled more than 500 mosques, schools, and businesses of American Muslims for more than a decade In The Feeling of Being Watched, journalist Assia Boundaoui investigates the legitimacy and scope of the FBI Chicago’s “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” Vulgar Betrayal profiled and followed hundreds of members of the Muslim … Continue reading ““Feeling of Being Watched” at Chicago Film Fest”

Chi Int’l Film Fest announces winning poster design

Graphic designer Michael Zhang’s poster selected after global contest to represent festival, October 10-21   (Chicago) — Cinema/Chicago and the 54th Chicago International Film Festival announced the winner of 2018’s poster design competition, Chicago’s own Michael Zhang. Zhang’s design will be the signature look of the Festival, held October 10-21, 2018. Zhang won a truly … Continue reading “Chi Int’l Film Fest announces winning poster design”

Cow Lamp Films shares insight at Chicago Indie Film Fest

Cow Lamp Films will continue to earn its keep as the Midwest’s only distributor of independent films on Saturday afternoon at the Chicago Independent Film (+TV) Festival (CIFF). Director of Acquisitions Josh da Silva will join a 4 p.m. panel discussion about distribution at the New 400 Movie Theaters in Rogers Park, where a majority … Continue reading “Cow Lamp Films shares insight at Chicago Indie Film Fest”

Milwaukee to Kampala: the int’l Windy City Horrorama

The upcoming 2018 Windy City Horrorama is already on the radar of thrill seekers, horror lovers, and DIY-film enthusiasts. However, international-film lovers should pay attention as well. Besides five Chicago-made films and a host of other gory US-made features and shorts, this year’s Horrorama is packed with seven of the hottest genre films on the … Continue reading “Milwaukee to Kampala: the int’l Windy City Horrorama”

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”

Cutters-edited ‘Princess Cyd’ wins at Chi Film Fest

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival announced its winners Friday night and one of the films awarded was a Cutters Studios post project by writer / director Stephen Cone called Princess Cyd. The film was given “The Chicago Award.” A Chicago-based filmmaker, Cone is best known for 2015’s Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, which was hailed … Continue reading “Cutters-edited ‘Princess Cyd’ wins at Chi Film Fest”

Sneak Peek at the 53rd Chicago Int’l Film Festival

Once again, the Chicago International Film Festival has more than lived up to its name. This year’s run, its 53rd, features not only a collection of films but also an official poster selected from submissions that spanned the globe.

“We looked at more than 5,000 films,” artistic director Mimi Plauché told guests at the festival’s “Sneak Peek” in the gallery of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Tuesday night.

Jane Lynch to accept a Comedy Film Fest award

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.

MPG’s Hercules’ comedy among Sunday’s Pitch contenders

Like so many filmmakers, Bob Hercules of Media Process Group, a company acclaimed for its many award-winning TV documentaries, labored over a narrative feature screenplay on and off for many years.

Now, after a total of 10 years in the works, his comedy, “Waiting for the Clash,” will be one of six projects competing at Sunday’s The Pitch session, for a substantial award of in-kind services, at Gallery at GreenRiver, 259 E. Erie, from 2 to 6 p.m., co-produced by CIFF and IFP Chicago.

Trisect cuts staff in wake of ConAgra account changes

BLENDED AGENCY TRISECT a recently went through a rough patch that caused it to reduce staff by 25%, letting between 20 and 30 staffers go as a consequence of changes in the ConAgra account.

The agency explained in a statement that this was “a proactive step to ensure the agency is well aligned with rapidly shifting client needs and their demands for leaner, more nimble partners. Trisect is centered on its care growth drivers – digital marketing, social media and cross-channel content production.”

Sunday’s Film Summit & Expo earns 4 stars all around

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.

Christy LeMaster new director of IFP/Chicago

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

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

Bob Winter becomes Y&R’s chief creative officer

A MAJOR AGENCY CHANGE is at hand as Bob Winter will join Y&R as chief creative officer of the Chicago office, starting in December. He moves over from Leo Burnett where he was SVP/ECD for more than three years on Altoids, Kellogg’s, Greenpeace and Caesars Palace.

Winter succeeds Ken Erke whose departure shocked Michigan Avenue when he joined digital agency R/GA a few months ago as executive creative director. Erke joined Y&R in2000 from Cramer/Krasselt.

Five U.S.-made films take top Hugo Awards

A TOTAL OF FIVE U.S.-made films won Chicago International Film Festival Gold and Silver Hugo awards. One of those five was a Best Actress Silver Hugo statuette to Liana Liberato for her breakthrough performance in David Schwimmer’s film “Trust,” in the International Feature Competition.

Three of the other four U.S. Hugos went to Docufest entries and the fourth for a New Director. A Russian feature, “How I Ended the Summer,” won the top Gold Hugo in the International Feature Film Competition.

Schwimmer and Cumming to walk the Red Carpet

DAVID SCHWIMMER AND ALAN CUMMING are the stars at CIFF’s Red Carpet Monday night. The Festival welcomes openly gay actor Cumming, who receives the fest’s Artistic Achievement Award as part of its OUTrageous Program, celebrating contributions to GLBT films.

Foundation Content wins a prestigous Gold Hugo

GOLD HUGOS TEND TO BE SCARCE around these parts, so it was with understandable great excitement that Foundation Content’s Samantha Hart received word of a Gold Hugo awarded to their United Way piece in the Charitable Activity category.

“Everyone on the team collaborated on the film,” says Hart, to produce the 2-minute piece for presentation at United Way’s gala benefit last May,” says Hart, who came up with the Hugo Gold idea.

The piece utilized live action and special effects in the use of a clothes line criss-crossing the city.

One film screens at two fests the same time

WHAT ARE THE ODDS of filmmakers actually seeing their short film premiere at two international film festivals, being held the same weeks this month, at two widely separated locations?

Short film producers Kathryn Henderson and Marie Ullrich fly to London Tuesday to see their short, “Faster!” showcase at the ultra prestigious 54th British Film Institute London Film Festival.

At the same time, “Faster!” also screens as one of the 11 choice selections in the Illinois(e)Makers program at the 46th Chicago International Film Festival.

Toronto screens five Michigan-made features

FIVE MICHIGAN MADE MOVIES are featured at the Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 9-19. “These films are not only a success with the critics, they are a success for Michigan’s economy by creating jobs and investing in our communities and businesses,” said Carrie Jones, Michigan Film Office director.

These films represent 1,005 new jobs and $39.8 million-plus invested in Michigan’s economy.

Three star-studded gala fundraisers this month

MOVIE AND TELEVISION STARS will abound this month as they headline gala fund-raisers to support the city’s culturally important visual arts organizations.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ June 11 “Salute to Chicago Television” will honor three generations of broadcasters, directors, producers and executives — 50 in all confirmed so far — at its fund-raiser at the Hilton Hotel & Towers.

Founder/director Bruce DuMont declares this is the first-ever reunion of these broadcasting.

DDB to welcome new creative chief

A NEW CHIEF CREATIVE FOR DDB after a two year search appears to be Ewan Paterson, 42, ECD at London’s Cemmow Horby Inge & Partners.

He will join the agency in June at a time when the agency accounts are sliding (State Farm gave nearly half of its creative business to DraftFCB and Wrigley moved Extra gum to Energy BBDO).

Paterson started his ad career in 1990 at Y&R, spent a decade at BMP DDB, to Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 2004 as CD on British Airways and a year later recruited by CHI.

Campaign MAGAZINE ranked him the No.

Roger Ebert officially announces his new TV show

TIMING IS EVERYTHING, they say, and Roger Ebert’s new movie review show comes on the scene coincidentally as the last vestiges of Disney’s “At the Movies” syndicated review show fade to black after nearly 25 years on television.

In his blog, printed in Friday’s Sun-Times, Ebert tells about his new movie review show, “Roger Ebert presents At the Movies,” that he and his wife, Chaz, are producing.

More than just a TV show, it will have total new media distribution: net streaming, cell phone apps, Facebook, Twitter, etc., he says.

Laura Szymber wins IFO’s “Shortcuts”

When producer Laura Szymber met writer/director Brad DeMarea at a coffee shop a year ago to read the script he wanted to make, she was immediately sold on it. “I felt his writing and vision was right on. I just knew it was going to be a great production.”

Right she was. Szymber’s production of DeMarea’s “An Evening with Emery Long” won the IFO “Shortcuts” contest.

Szymber’s film was one 42 submissions, double that of the IFO’s first “Shortcuts” last year, which the film office designed to showcase the work of Illinois filmmakers.

Made in 2008, the film stars L.A.

Chicago Children’s Fest screening 260 films

One of Chicago’s claims to Oscar fame is the fact that the golden statuettes are made here. But a lesser-known Oscar connection is that the Chicago International Children’s Film Fest (CICFF) is the only Academy-qualifying children’s film festival in the world.

Running now through Nov. 1, winners in CIFF’s short film category can go on to compete in the Oscars.

Virginia and Elaine Madsen’s doc screens

NOT EVERYONE gets the pleasure and satisfaction of working with their mother, but Oscar winner Virginia Madsen teamed up with her filmmaker mom, Elaine Madsen, to produce a provocative doc. “I Know a Woman Like That,” features interviews with extraordinary women ages 64 to 94.

Produced by Virginia and directed by Emmy-winning Elaine, “Woman” will screen Oct. 13 at Columbia College, prior to which Brenda Sexton and Chaz Ebert will host a cocktail reception in the Madsen’s honor. BTW, the Madsens are Chicago natives.

Chicago #4 in Variety’s ’10 Greatest Locations’

VARIETY NAMED CHICAGO the number four filming location on a list of “10 Greatest Locations in North America,” in a special issue published next month. We rank behind California, of course, New York, right, and New Mexico.

Speaking of locations: The recent six-day Buick shoot by Form of L.A., racked up the most locations, on 59 city blocks, or 53% of the locations used for filming, during the month of September, so far.

The 2016 Olympic films came in second with shoots on 14 blocks or 22% of locations used, according to Everyblock.com.

Call for IFO’s Shortcuts contest entry

The Illinois Film Office’s “Shortcuts” film contest is back in business for a second year and statewide filmmakers have five months from now ? until June 30 – to enter their shorts.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage filmmakers across the state to explore and showcase their creativity and short filmmaking skills.

The winning short will receive a cash prize and will get a sport in 2009 Chicago International Film Festival’s Short Film Program.

IFP names Ryan Jewell new executive director

IFP HAS NAMED RYAN JEWELL, fresh from two years as Cinema/Chicago’s managing director, as its new executive director, a position that’s been vacant for four months.

At Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, Jewell handled all aspects its business. Earlier he’d been with Magnolia Pictures/Landmark Theatres for five years and was responsible for the operations of three different theatres.

Two big November advertising events

A SURFEIT OF ADVERTISING RICHES comes to Chicago in late November in the form of two hours worth of the world’s best commercials from two famous New York international competitions.

The winners reels from the 2008 AICP and One Show will screen here a scant five days apart at two diverse veues. And both are well worth taking in.

The Nov. 20 AICP Show in Chicago is a trendy, dressy affair at the History Museum with $150 tickets for the show and reception — a highlight of what’s been a drab advertising year.

The Nov.

Dobson’s Radio Hall of Fame induction stays

THE RADIO HALL OF FAME induction of controversial conservative broadcaster Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” stays, regardless of protests to the contrary by gay and other anti-bigotry groups.

Bruce DuMont, president/founder of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Radio Hall of Fame sponsor, defended Dr. Dobson’s nomination by the RHOF steering committee. “Radio is an industry predicated on free speech — Dr.

“Check Please” short wins IFO check

Agency creative Larry Ziegelman’s romantic comedy short, “Check, Please,” based on a family incident, won the Illinois Film Office’s first Shortcuts short film contest.

IFO director Betsy Steinberg presented Ziegelman with a check for $665 and a crystal star award before his film screened as part of CIFF’s Short Films program Monday night at the AMC River East theatre.

Ziegelman, an ACD on the State Farm account at DDB, says he will use the check towards his next, more ambitious comedy that he will direct this weekend.

Lucky Elder to shoot in Mexico in January

ALWAYS BUSY GEORGE ELDER of Luminair wrapped the Chicago shoot for the seventh season of “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.”

The half-hour TV shows are shot in Chicago at the home of restaurateur Rick Bayless, owner of top-rated Topo Lobampo, and in warm, sunny Mexico, where Elder, Bayless and crew will be headed in January.

FILM WISCONSIN: A cast and crew of 150 are filming “Road to Emmaus,” a drama based on a Bible story, Ozaukee County filming(northeast of Milwaukee).

IFP honors Roger Ebert with a Gotham Award
Nov. 27 which he plans to accept in New York

THIS IS ROGER EBERT’S YEAR for prestigious awards. He will receive the Gotham Award presented by the Independent Feature Project Nov. 27 in New York.

The Gotham prize was awarded to only one other film critic, The New Yorker’s late Pauline Kael in 1995.

“Through all the outlets at his disposal, Roger has been a very vocal champion of independent films,” said IFP executive director Michelle Bryd.

“Nothing has given me greater pleasure on the job than discovering a wonderful film by a new director,” Ebert said.

Recommended by former boss, Dave Pavlik moves to Canon USA as regional sales director

IT’S A RARE THING when an employer recommends one of his star staffers to another company. But that’s what Fletcher Chicago’s Tom Fletcher did when Canon USA marketing exec Larry Thorpe asked him for suggestions.

Fletcher said Dave Pavlik was his man. Thorpe agreed and Pavlik was hired as Canon USA’s regional sales director.

Pavlik had been with the company for 12 years as sales and rental coordinator and most recently a coordinator in Fletcher’s sports division.

For fans who want more of Oprah ? they can shop at her new fashion boutique near Harpo Studios

OPRAH’S AUDIENCE will soon be able to leave the studio and walk across the street to her new fashion boutique at 57 N. Carpenter.

The 4,500-sq. ft. store is under construction in what was tabletop star Peter Elliott’s studio for 25 years. Oprah bought the property last year.

The shop, also housing a caf?, will feature African-designed apparel, African baskets, baby gear, her workout pants and beach tote and the newest craze, a $14 iPod cover with the Oprah logo.

THE 2007 CHICAGO CREATIVE CLUB AWARDS SHOW has been put on hold.

THE REEL THING: Sears’ monster 28 spot shoot

A MONSTER SEARS SHOOT is taking place ? 28 spots in all ?directed by Hollywood’s Patty Jenkins, writer/director of Academy Award winning “Monster,” starring Charlize Theron.

The monthlong shoot, handled by bi-coastal MJZ, takes place in suburban locations, with one day in Chicago. The 40 principal actors are being cast by David O’Connor.

Y&R is Sears agency; Lisa Margulis is executive producer; producers are Laurie Boccaccio David Fisher. Valerie Bulinski is location scout.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

CIFF’S CHICAGO AWARD deservedly went to “Street Thief: A Filmed Record,” winning over 12 other Chicago made films. Malik Bader of the Bader Brothers directed, and edited by Outsider’s Nadav Kurtz.

“Thief” competed against 12 other Chicago made films, including 10 entries in the “Home Grown” category. Catch it Oct. 18 at River East 21.

P.R. ACE JOHN DIGLES, an IPA mover and shaker from the get-go, was hired by XanGo, LLC, leader in the mangosteen supplement category, as SVP/sales and marketing.

“Homesick Blues” screens at three major fests

“HOMESICK BLUES”, the 15-minute short that my wife Junko Kajino and I made in Osaka, Japan, will have its world premiere Oct. 8 at the Chicago International Film Festival.

The short is a prelude to our forthcoming feature film, also called “Homesick Blues.”

The short stars Japanese pop singer Zoey as an 18-year-old girl who runs away from her Osaka home, headed for Chicago hell-bent on becoming a blues singer.

Music by Shun Kikuta of Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine. Stephen Combs shot and edited. Sound by Benjamin Steger, Mark Messing and Adam Frick.

Independent Production Roundup

USAMA ALSHAIBI’S in-progress documentary “Nice Bombs,” about returning to his native Baghdad during the U.S. occupation, has been selected as one of 29 projects to participate in the Tribeca All Access Connects program, a showcase for emerging filmmakers. It runs concurrently with the Tribeca Film Festival, April 19-May 1.

“Nice Bombs” will compete with seven other docs for a $10,000 Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award. Alshaibi’s wife Kristie Alshaibi is producing “Nice Bombs” through their Artvamp LLC, along with Ben Berkowitz and Ben Redgrave of Benzfilm Group.

Record number of locally-made films screening at Chicago Film Festival

One of the films was made in India and one of the directors lives in L.A., but with 12 films ? four features and eight shorts ‐ either made in Chicago, by a local director, or both, there’s more “Chicago” in the 40th Annual Chicago International Film Festival than there has been in recent memory.

Here’s a quick guide to all the Chicago films at this year’s CIFF, which runs through Oct. 21. Venue locations are listed at the end.

“THE JOURNEY,” World Premiere

Local attorney Ligy J.