One of Chicago’s busiest color pros looks ahead while remembering the past As a Senior Colorist at Company 3, Tyler Roth operates in a spectrum that literally runs as wide as the eye can see. Mixing pixels of red, green, and blue at different levels of brightness and saturation, he’s got … Continue reading “Talking hues with Company 3 Senior Colorist Tyler Roth”
The Chicago office of Company 3 has relocated to the 26th floor of 515 N. State, where it will operate from the same building that houses Cutters Studios. “We are very happy about this new location,” says CEO Stefan Sonnenfeld. “We fully intend to continue serving this very important region with Tyler (Roth) as the … Continue reading “Company 3 relocates to 515 N. State”
LA-based Deluxe Entertainment’s Chicago Studio of Beast editorial, Company 3 color grading and Method Studios visual effects group located in the Tribune Tower, added four to bring the total staff number to 28.
The new additions are VFX producer Matthew Engel joining from Method Studios in New York, designers Matt Fultz, who’d been freelancing at local post houses, Tobias Mattner, from Leviathan, and Company 3 color assistant Zachary Korpi, from color intern at The Mill.
Colorist Tyler Roth and his assistant, Paul Galati, are the first hires of Company 3, the new Chicago branch of the international color and finishing specialists.
Two international posthouses have joined their established Chicago sister editorial company to form a powerhouse collective of talent and services, located in new 9,000-sq. ft. facilities in the Tribune Tower.
AFTER NEARLY A DECADE as Cutters’ CGI director, Brian Bullock has left to start re:think post, quite possibly the city’s first company specializing in creating 3D elements for spots, product demos, end tags and full CG pieces for brand identity packages and, of course, web content.
Leading independent Chicago agency OKRP is launching Putney, an independent production and content studio to be owned and led by current agency Head of Production Elena Robinson and ECD Aubrey Walker, making Putney a Black-owned company. Putney is designed to create culture-defining content that blurs the lines between advertising and entertainment with work that is … Continue reading “OKRP launches Putney, an independent Black-owned production company”
Sarofsky’s dazzling 3D glass house main titles for the HBO Max limited series The Staircase are so captivating that it will make you hit rewind to take another look. Inspired by a true story, the eight-episode Max Original limited series The Staircase, debuted Thursday, May 5 on HBO Max. The Staircase explores the life of … Continue reading “Sarofsky creates dazzling 3D glass-house main titles for The Staircase”
As the countdown for the 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival, presented by Corona Extra, begins, organizers unveiled the list of films that will receive their World, North American, U.S. and Midwest Premieres at the Festival, led by the locally produced Bye Bye Chicago. The Festival this year will feature two World Premieres, five North American … Continue reading “Bye Bye Chicago world premiere at 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival”
Continuing its ongoing efforts to help one of Earth’s most precious resource – water – Moen is launching a new awareness and conservation effort on World Water Day through their CSR Mission Moen. The campaign, created in partnership with creative agency Havas Chicago, showcases the kitchen and bath company’s commitment to save one trillion gallons of water … Continue reading “Moen commits to saving one trillion gallons of water by 2030”
The 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will be a virtual presentation held on Sunday, December 5 at 7:00 pm. Comedian Pat McGann, the South Side Chicago native who hosted the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards in 2016 and 2020, returns to emcee the show this year and legendary Bob Newhart is expected to make a guest appearance. The virtual presentation … Continue reading “List of nominees for the 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards Dec 5”
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announces July 3rd fireworks along the lakefront to kick off Independence Day Weekend. The event will also act as a celebration for Chicagoans whose diligence in following public health guidance has allowed City leaders to safely and fully re-open under Mayor Lightfoot’s “Open Chicago” initiative. In place of Navy Pier Fireworks, … Continue reading “July 3rd fireworks to Celebrate Chicago’s Reopening”
Men’s skin care company, Tiege Hanley continues to make life less complicated, most recently teaming up with local video agency p3 mediaworks to rethink the filmmaking process; producing a video ad using a fully remote production approach. p3’s creative concept, promoting Tiege Hanley’s uncomplicated men’s skin care and grooming brand, embraces the current remote conditions of the world as the … Continue reading “p3 mediaworks generates studio quality content remotely”
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced that the network of 36 independent and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP), have committed nearly $3 billion to date in support of members, health care workers and local communities to aid in the ongoing fight against … Continue reading “BCBS commits $3 Billion to members and first responders”
“I guess I learned how to take the lights out at the right moment. You just have to always be looking for the right end.” –Craig Taylor Not all of Second City’s stars appeared on stage. Some of the biggest ones were behind the scenes. This past weekend, Second City announced that longtime stage manager, Craig … Continue reading “Second City Stage Manager Craig Taylor passes at 63”
Every year, the annual 3% Conference transforms a highly professional agenda into a warm and spontaneous vibe. Inspired to change the fact that only 3% of agency creative directors were women at the time of its founding, the event offers a two-day program of panels, experts, and workshops that dives deep into the intricacies of … Continue reading “The eighth annual 3% Conference”
Yuri Rutman’s guerilla-filmed, psychoerotic short begins streaming tomorrow on ShortsTV Kiev-born, Chicago-raised, LA-based filmmaker Yuri Rutman endured 48 hours of the Windy City winter to make a film that becomes available for streaming in 33 million homes tomorrow. His 18-minute short, Trained, is a love story like no other. Offering a glimpse into the lives … Continue reading “Chicago-made ‘Trained’ rolls into 33 million homes”
‘3 PM Slump’ delivers the kind of quick humor that is destined for internet memehood Office workers succumb to a corporate form of zombification in Slump, a new spot by mcgarrybowen for P3 Portable Protein Packs. Stricken by the energy sapping late afternoon, they drop like dominoes in the elevator, at their desks, and all … Continue reading “mcgarry creates instant classic with new P3 campaign”
More stories from the keyboard of founder Ruth L. Ratny as she reports on an IL Tourism spot from BBDO and Arturo Cubacub and more Chicago – May, 2003 – Illinois Tourism’s first commercial of 2003 from BBDO directed by Dennis Manarchy shows off seven tourist “must see” destinations, from the Magnificent Mile to … Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: First 2003 Tourism spot airs”
Together with Sprinklr, Twitter, and Papa John’s, the 3% Movement encourages fans to track purpose-driven campaigns by using the hashtag #3percentsb In its sixth year of generating real-time feedback to Big Game ads, The 3% Movement is now setting out to capture what that feedback suggests about brand purpose. Using sophisticated data analytics in partnership … Continue reading “3% Movement: brand purpose will win Super Bowl”
Expert speakers, engaging activities, and sensational presentations helped to guide 1,300 industry attendees onto the same important long-term group project Besides being informative, last month’s 3% Conference at Navy Pier was enlightening, collaborative, optimistic, intense, cosmopolitan, introspective, touching, intimate, raunchy, and hilarious. And that was just during the final few hours of the two-day … Continue reading “The 3% Conference rises in Chicago”
The film and commercial vet will relocate from Chicago, where he was a mainstay at Filmworkers Club (New York — 24 September 2018) Senior Colorist Fred Keller is heading home; the veteran post production artist, a mainstay of the color scene in Chicago for the past dozen years, is going back to New York as … Continue reading “Click 3X adds Senior Colorist Fred Keller”
“This era of mass incarceration is having a crushing impact on our neighborhoods.” Director Keith McQuirter Last week, action inspired by the documentary Milwaukee 53206 helped unite a family that had been separated for more than two decades. It came by way of a yearlong social justice impact campaign that encouraged Wisconsin authorities to … Continue reading ““Milwaukee 53206” helps secure Wisconsin man’s parole”
“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”
Chicago filmmaker Stephen Hamilton joins Vittorio Sacco and Stef Viaene on the directorial roster while Charlotte Omnès becomes Culinary CD of Food@Click (New York — 23 July 23) Click 3X — a renowned production and digital studio — has launched Food@Click, a collective of food stylists, food writers, and other creative and strategic resources. … Continue reading “Click 3X grows new content division Food@Click”
In 1984, Ronald Reagan was president. Marvin Gaye passed away. Terms of Endearment won the Oscar for Best Picture. The Celtics beat the Lakers in seven exciting games, and Prince had a little-known hit song called Purple Rain. It’s also around the last time Wisconsin-based Sentry Insurance aired a TV spot. In late December, Sentry … Continue reading “gyro creates first Sentry spot in over 30 years”
It’s getting close to quitting time for most businesses, but 321 Fast Draw is preparing to work well into the night. “Three videos need to be done for ESPN,” says partner Sal Pecoraro. “It’s a simple, 2D animation explaining an app.” Pecoraro founded 321 Fast Draw with former college friend Ken Nilsson and production vet … Continue reading “2:32 p.m. — 321 Fast Draw”
Periscope Post & Audio handles a lot of tasks in the production industry, and many of them don’t begin until after 5 o’clock. Today is no exception. “We work on all different size projects,” says founder Mike Nehs. “From tiny indies and music videos up to multimillion-dollar features. Tonight, we have dailies going on for … Continue reading “3:02 p.m. — Periscope Audio & Post”
Harvey-born Nelsan Ellis, who rose to fame as the character Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood, has died at the age of 39.
Variety confirms the cause was complications from heart failure.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement given to Variety.
“Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”
(Editor’s note: Chicago music giant Butch Stewart passed away in May. There will be a memorial held for him June 23, 24 and 25 at 1900 Greenwood Street in Evanston, Illinois. Emma Young wrote this moving tribute about Stewart and his company in 2014.)
Good Stewart Productions sits on an industrial street in Evanston. From the outside it looks quiet, but inside — there’ a whole lot going on!
On April 28, Chicago’s The Escape Pod was named creative and media agency of record for The a2 Milk Company, the number one branded milk in Australia, which is also distributed in five countries globally.
The duo aims to disrupt the U.S. dairy category with real cows’ milk that is naturally easy to digest.
The agency will be responsible for creative, media, experiential, and in-store marketing initiatives.
GigRig, a Chicago-based company that boasts one of the largest independent fleets of rentable film production vehicles in the Midwest, moved this month into a former electrical plant on the city’s near west side.
AICP’S INAUGURAL DIVERSITY SHOWCASE, the Commercial Directors Diversity Program (CDDP) was held Wednesday night, Jan. 11 at LA’s Directors Guild of America Theatre.
Participating were 13 highly qualified, unsigned directors out of 122 applicants. There were eight women and five men. Four work in LA and four in New York. None were from Chicago.
Tucked away in a small retail store in Wicker Park is the next game changer for the film industry. Owner / photographer / VFX pro Stan Miskiewicz opened 312UAV two years ago as the first and only store dedicated to drone technology and aerial services in Chicago – and other states.
Miskiewicz believes drone usage opens doors for independent filmmakers to capture shots that were formerly too expensive or impossible to shoot. It allows them to get lower altitude shots up to 400-feet with a variety of angles and perspectives.
Producer Joe Orlandino of Chicago’s Atlas Media Group, hopes that the investors and distributors at the current American Film Market (AFM) make an offer his people can’t refuse for the animated series he’s pitching.
“The Baritonios,” the raunchy 3D animated sitcom revolves around a fictional Italian crime family, is the brainchild of Elmwood Park businessman and musician, Steve Sprovieri.
When 85-minute low-budget indie “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” — an art film masked as an exploitation film and shot in 16mm — was released in fall of 1986, its chances of theatrical success seemed unlikely.
The cards were stacked against it. Everyone connected with it was unknown. The budget was so low that family and friends were brought on as actors using their own possessions. And its highly-restrictive MPAA X-rating limited its commerciality.
Introducing a roundup of news about film activities throughout all that landscape Downstate, from south of Route 1-80 to Cairo at the tip of the state.
Springfield — “Before ‘I Do,’ the latest feature by writer-director Kimberly Connor of Springfield, will have red carpet premiere April 30 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, 420 S. 6th St., at 7 p.m. on behalf of Predestined Arts and Entertainment Productions, Connor’s company.
MEET. DRINK. TALK. — that’s the official title of AICP-Midwest’s popular annual event held exclusively for Midwest agency, commercial production and editorial professionals Thursday, April 7 at The Underground.
More than 300 guests are expected from AICP member production companies and their agency clients, “to eat, drink and “talk face-to-face in a comfortable, casual environment,” notes Stan Glapa, Cineverse rentals manager and a member of the event planning committee.
Fast-growing 321Fastdraw, having outgrown its offices and its owners eager to be back in the bustle of production, in early spring will move into new space in Cinespace’s Main Building at Rockwell and W. 16th St.
AFTER 14 YEARS IN LA, talent agent Emily Rabinowitz of RTA has returned to the area and set up shop representing a roster of 75 exclusive actors, from juniors to seniors.
“ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE” is the Illinois Lottery slogan, except perhaps for the actual possibility of Northstar, hiring an Illinois production company for its Illinois Lottery commercials.
The first of Ari Golan’s legendary Halloween parties, in 1986, was actually a one-year anniversary party for his Golan Productions Inc. that he had started Nov. 19, 1985, in the basement of his mother’s house, with one employee, his best friend from the University of Michigan film school.
KESLOW CAMERA doubled its Chicago staff to eight, with the recent hiring of Jim Summers as camera rentals marketing agent and three
Victoria and Christopher Kelley of Downstate Quincy take pride in the fact that they are a husband-and-wife team of filmmakers.
Their company, Table Sixteen Productions, produces commercials and corporate videos that help feed their four cats, she says, while they spend weekends working on their passion: feature films.
Digital Kitchen has gone global with its acquisition by Kyu, the new strategic operating unit of Japanese Hakuhodo DY Holdings, the seventh largest advertising holding company in the world.
Jerry Bryant has put up for sale his massive, one-of-a-kind JBTV archive of 30,000 remastered, first generation digibeta music videos from the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s in order to capitalize the expansion and resources of his live music show.
Picture Show Films’ “Real Guys, Real Grooming” campaign for Wahl internationally-sold line of men’s facial trimmers and clippers rolls into its second month of airing on sports and other shows geared to men, and internet outlets.
There’s a theatrical flair to Leo Burnett’s current YouTube and Vimeo campaign for client ComEd. Three videos were filmed on a theatre stage and the cast of 16 principals included a Shakespearean actor and Second City performers along with on-camera talent.
NGN PRODUCTIONS (The Mask) of Studio City is developing the thriller feature The End of the Night for production next year on a $1-3 million budget. Associate producer Thomas Gaunt’s Black List-selected script is about “a homeless vet living in a Chicago cemetery forced to confront his past wh
New Pink Hippo Productions is possibly the first company formed in Chicago by film school grads, who say they are serious about living and working here and growing their business, in spot production and ultimately features.
No film school in the country has got what DePaul/Cinespace’s Cinema and Interactive Media program will be rolling out this summer: a custom-built, 3-ton grip and electric truck for student production use.
The $100,000 truck was designed and built by John Corba, Assistant Director of DePaul/Cinespace and DePaul MFA alum, and Joe Lyons, DePaul/Cinespace equipment manager, both with decades of feature crew experience.
ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO WORK in Chicago is 8-year old marketing agency Tris3ct, so cited by the Chicago Tribune’s Chicago’s survey of the Top 100 Workplaces and ranking 13 out of 40 small companies. The list was divided into groups of large, medium and small companies.
Last week, the RETHINK STUDIOS’ staff settled into its handsome, spacious new design studio at 950 W. Fulton Market in the West Loop; a move that coincided with their third anniversary of business.
A 2013 CANNES LION triple Grand Prix film will be presented here Wednesday by sales rep Tracy Bernard, on behalf of her client, B Reel, which produced the hourlong episodic film, “The Beauty Inside,” for client Intel and San Francisco agency Pereira & O’Dell.
Assistant editor Ben Winter, of now-departed Red Car, won the top 2013 AICE Chicago Camp Kuleshov annual competition for assistants at AICE member companies. Other Grand Prize winners were Hootenanny’s Kelsey Moher and Eddie Loera and Earhole’s Ricardo Mondragon.
Winners were announced Wednesday night at a packed party and awards show at the Bottom Lounge. Camp Kuleshov is open to AICE Chicago member company assistants in editorial, audio engineering and design, while Tent City is for non-assistant staff.
TV staple Jerry Springer, returning to Chicago after a four year absence, is the surprising – and always controversial — host of the 55th Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy awards ceremony to be held Nov. 3 at the Alhambra Palace, in the West Loop.
The decision to invite Springer by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), however, was not eagerly embraced by all members of the committee that proposed him.
EVERYBODY ATTENDED OPTIMUS’ block party last Friday, making it certainly the biggest in its 18 year history of commemorating the week in which the present five owners bought the company from previous owner Anheuser Busch.
You never know where relationships will take you.
In 2005, Mark Rewey and Greg Schroer wanted a place to showcase the short films they had made. They invited filmmaker friends to showcase theirs. About 40 people showed up at the Ambassador East.
Kevin and Patricia Sinnott of Warrenville-based production company Sinnott Productions are gearing up for next spring’s year two of CoffeeCON, which they bill as the first coffee convention targeted to consumers (by contrast to industry driven shows like the Specialty Coffee Association of America Exposition and CoffeeFest).
“We plan to build on 2012’s success,” Patricia Sinnott says. “This will include even more exciting classes such as coffee and food pairings. Even more experts will be invited.”
October 22, 2012
NEW YORK’S 59E59 THEATERS continue to provide welcoming off-Broadway accommodations for shows that originated in Chicago. Bruce Graham’s The Outgoing Tide, which had its world premiere in 2011 with Northlight Theatre and won its author a Jeff Award for best new play, will open in November at the busy theaterplex in a non-Northlight production, featuring a new cast.
It would hardly be a stretch to suggest Cirque du Soleil has become part of a circle of entertainment events that can, in a way, call Chicago a home.
For the truth is, the Montreal-based producer of circus spectacles has been regularly visiting the Windy City for nearly 25 years in a blue and yellow circular tent that gives audiences a real, dazzling and often innovative taste of the old-fashioned one-ring circus experience.
THREE LOCAL LEADING LADIES were named among 10 actors around the country as 2012 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows. E. Faye Butler, Susan Moniz, and Hollis Resnik join seven other actors from around the country in July for a prestigious week-long master class on American musical theater.
Hollywood transplants to the Chicago area, DeAnna and Kevin Cooper, have produced Chicago’s first stereoscopic 3D feature and possibly the first 3D comedy anywhere so far. The family comedy, I Heart Shakey in 3D, is Cooper’s directorial debut and their first Amarok Productions film. It will be available OnDemand June 15 and domestic theatrical distribution starts June 29 via Phase 4 Films.
Screenwriters in the Flyover Zone who have traveled to Hollywood to pitch their story ideas to The Right People can save their travel expenses and time by attending the first ever Chicago-direct-to-exec pitch, hosted by the Chicago Screenwriters Network.
The two day Mini-Pitch Session/Workshop, with three of Hollywood’s very respected, knowledgable and successful screenplay pros, takes place the weekend of July 14-15.
So now — in advance of its debut later this month — we have the second TV commercial in what can only be described as a new era in Illinois Lottery marketing.
That new era began with the appointment in January of Downtown Partners/Chicago as the new agency of record for the Lottery. DP/C replaced Energy BBDO/Chicago, which was dismissed soon after Michael Jones became the new Illinois Lottery superintendent last October.
When ad agencies acquire new companies, these new divisions provide related services that are directly related to and feed into the advertising business, such as research, digital, design or PR companies. Not so with Shafer Condon Carter.
Eager to learn about Canon’s new cinema cameras, more than 100 professional motion and still shooters attended ProGear’s informative presentation of the highly touted new Canon C300 on Thursday.
Held at ProGear’s West Loop motion/still equipment rental house, the event centered on giving attendees an opportunity to get their hands on the C300 and Canon’s EOS family of 5DMII, 7D and the new 5DMIII cameras, says associate Doug Sperling.
Digitas’ Chicago office has been given eBay’s estimated $20 to $30 million business, after the online retailer heard creative pitches from East and West Coast agencies last fall.
Digitas, a Publicis Groupe company, will handle only digital creative and media.
After several rounds of presentations, a trio of finalists — Organic, Swirl and Digitas — competed in the finals, executives familiar with the matter said.
Canon reps Ed Meyers and Tim Smith unveiled the EOS C300, touted as the company’s first bona fide cinema camera, in its Chicago debut Jan. 26 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
Meyers and Smith presented the camera to a mostly-full house of camera pros in the Siskel Center’s 200-seat theater.
Eric Anderson and Amelia Dellos launched their production company Corn Bred Films last March “with the goal of establishing a film studio in the Midwest dedicated to finding and encouraging Midwestern talent,” Anderson says.
The husband-wife writing/producing partners planned the $250,000 horror feature, The Devil’s Promenade, as their first feature production. But Anderson says “budgetary concerns amidst an uncertain economy” put plans for that project on hold.
After just six months VP and managing director of Protokulture, Jim Olen left the design, post, and production firm Dec. 16.
Olen explains his departure this way: “When you work at a small company, it’s important that all the staff members (especially the management team) are on the same page. We simply weren’t on the same page.”
The announcement that Roscor Corporation, reseller and renter of audiovisual equipment, on Friday, Oct. 28 closed its rental and service departments and mass fired 100 of its 130 employees, sent shockwaves through the Midwest AV industry.
The 35-year old Mt. Prospect-based company, owned by brothers Paul and Mitch Roston, president and CEO/CFO respectively, said it would restructure as an engineering design firm. Its mission would be to designing integrated systems based on the best-value equipment, while providing tech support.
STAGE 773 SHOWED OFF its newly renovated space on Sunday, Oct. 16 – and also gained two resident companies for the year. Congo Square Theatre Company, which lost its venue at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts when the latter was taken over by a church, will produce starting in February 2012 at Stage 773.
More than a decade ago, local theatre and dance teacher and arts writer Lucia Mauro became intrigued with an equestrian statue on the Janiculum Hill in Rome: A woman wielding a pistol in one hand and cradling a baby in the other.
Mauro’s subsequent screenplay, “Mother of War,” reminiscent of Errol Flynn swashbucklers, brings to life Anita Garibaldi, the heroic woman memorialized in the statue.
After an almost two year absence from local production, former Cutters’ general manager John McGrath came back in full force as a partner in one of the city’s first wholly dedicated 3D and CGI shops.
McGrath has teamed with former Cutters colleagues, CGI designer Brian Bullock, and general manager/ editor Jessica Simmon at re:think post. As lead facilitator of the six-person-and-growing company, McGrath will “keep things together under pressure, and focus on business development and growth” says Bullock, who founded re:think post a year ago November.
Award-winning composer/executive producer Greg Allan has a new vision of what today’s music business is light and it’s light years away from Spank! Music and Sound Designer, his company for the past 14 years.
“It was time for a change,” he says.
Allan purchased 100% of the stock of Spank! Music from former partner/composer Matt Morse to create new company Sonixphere.
A veritable who’s who of social media experts from Chicago’s biggest companies are being signed up for the first Social Media Week Chicago along with hosts, events and in-kind sponsors.
The Sept. 19-23 event is being organized by the Zócalo Group, a division of Omnicom, and the Chicago Tribune and will be held at locations across the city.
Up in Traverse City, Michigan, no one is more excited about next Friday’s release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 than a group of 3D visual effects artists there, who had a hand in its production.
The 13 full-time artists in the new West Michigan branch of Culver City-headquartered I.E. Effects worked on 3D conversion for the wildly anticipated last installment of the Harry Potter canon.
A few months ago a rejuvenated Chicago Chapter of the International Game Developers Association kicked off its reboot with a party for its some 70 company members, and has been holding periodic meetings since.
Thursday’s meeting at NoiseFloor’s new River North audio studio is sure to attract a large crowd since the speaker is Josh Tsui, president of Rodomodo, Chicago’s biggest game studio and the makers of Mortal Kombat, Fight Night Round 3 and the Tony Hawk skateboarder franchise.
A $300,000 GRANT from the MacArthur Foundation was awarded to Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tod Lending, for his important new feature-length documentary, All the Difference.
Typically ambitious, the doc will be four years in production as Lending follows two young African American men from Chicago’s downtrodden Englewood neighborhood through their four years at prestigious colleges.
Memorial services for Grossman Jack partner and talent agent Mickey Grossman will be held next Monday, June 13 at the Apollo Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln, an appropriate venue to accommodate an SRO gathering of his many friends, colleagues, clients and admirers.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the service will begin at 7. For those unable to attend, the service will be streamed at www.livestream.com.
The much respected and admired agent died on Memorial Day, on what would have been his 58th birthday, after a year of battling pancreatic cancer.
After a year spent converting a 105-year old West Rogers Park firehouse into a shooting stage, post facilities and offices, new Firehouse Studios will welcome guests at a Friday, June 3 Grand Opening
Owned by Tim and Selene Plum, the faithfully restored 3,800-sq. ft. former firehouse for Engine Company 70 at 1545 W. Rosemont Ave. is being offered as a complete rental facility at attractive rates.
LEO BURNETT WORLDWIDE was not only the “Agency of the Year” at the International Advertising Awards in New York earlier this month, but it won a record 35 awards, including six of the total 24 Gold prizes, from 14 global offices. “This demonstrates yet again, the remarkable creative talent we have residing inside this network,” boasts Leo Burnett Global CCO Mark Tutssel.
ON FRIDAY, the state Senate unanimously passed SB398 that pushes the Illinois tax credit sunset 10 years hence to 2021 — and who knows what can happen by then. All you film folks who phoned and faxed your state senator in protest should feel a great sense of accomplishment in your part in defeating the five year clause. This shared action also showed what we can positively achieve when we rally together to move the film industry forward.
IN ITS ONLINE RELEASE, director Eddie O’Keefe’s short film, The Ghosts, garnered 30,000 hits in two weeks. It’s a dreamy, black and white, rock-infused ‘50s-style tale of a girl caught between her preppy boyfriend and the romantic leader of a greaser gang.
“We have released the film online in advance of our festival run in hopes of tapping into the vast network of blogs and all the niche audiences that our film appeals to,” producer Matthew Mandarino says.
Silk Road Theatre Project is rolling out a new series of short-form video plays designed to be accessible to mobile device and tablet users, shot cinematically, on theater sets, sometimes followed by live or online discussion.
Last spring, internet success Mike Rhodes turned his grandiose idea for a tech incubator into reality, when he founded the Syncubator, in a full floor 18,000-sq. ft. West Loop loft.
His vision was to create a collective, a congenial place where budding tech entrepreneurs could develop their million dollar ideas and avail themselves of low-cost support services from more than a dozen “partner” specialists.
Best of all, when it came time to take their idea to market, they would receive financing from Rhodes’ $3 million investment fund.
Claire Simon Casting so far has cast the most Chicago AFTRA actors in network television shows, 371 in all – 198 in the 13 episodes of Fox’ “The Chicago Code,” and 173 in 18 episodes of ABCV’s “Detroit 1-8-7.”
“I’m really proud of our Chicago actors, they are amazing,” she says. “Everyone involved with the two series was totally happy with their work.”
Over the past few weeks, Nick Sanabria has been moving gear and furnishings out of his Radio City Recording and Audio studio at 445 E. Ohio Street in preparation of closing Sept. 1 after 30 years of business.
Radio City will reopen in a downsized studio in his Aurora home, where Sanabria will continue to record, narrate, compose and produce original music.
He will retain Fox News’ Chicago billboards, a client of a dozen years, and several retail operations and automotive dealerships of long duration.
Little known fact: Chicago Recording Company, the mainstay of Chicago’s audio recording business for 30 years, is the country’s largest independent recording company in terms of billings, personnel and number of annual projects.
Recently renovated and infused with the energetic management of Michael Gullickson, the company’s first-ever vice president, CRC is aggressively poised for new growth in several directions.
Well-established in advertising, CRC’s expansion will be audio for long form — lower features and independent films, TV shows, documentaries, says Gullickson.
Possibly the first comedy to shoot anywhere in stereoscopic 3D will be directed by Hollywood executive turned Columbia College professor this July in Chicago.
Kevin Cooper makes his feature directorial debut with “Shakey,” the story of a father and young daughter who give up their troublesome dog for adoption, only to find the loyal canine crossing the metro area to reunite with them.
Quite possibly one of the first Chicago area company to work in stereoscopic 3D (S3D) is Chris Ryan’s Chaos Studios of Carpentersville.
Ryan, a visual effects supervisor and compositor, says he got his feet wet in S3D by working on compositing computer generated characters into live action stereo plates for a 3D feature being produced by a Canadian production company, whose name he can’t disclose.
A remark made by Leo Burnett executive director Vincent Geraghty, producer of the recent Samsung 3D TV commercial, and reported online, brought attention to 3D stereoscopic work in Chicago into the open.
In an online recap of a producers meeting in New York, “Geraghty pointed out that there are currently no post houses in Chicago capable of displaying 3D content.”
While he said “my remark was taken out of context,” it had validity, as no local post house as yet has engaged in stereoscopic 3D (S3D) finishing.
Mike Gullickson is a man with a mission to plump up Chicago Recording Company to a former dynamic position that somehow lost some of its sizzle over the past several years.
An eight-year CRC employee, based in Los Angeles, Gullickson is the company’s first-ever vice president and the first executive to have full charge over the management and growth of CRC’s three facilities.
After 30 years in business, Film & Tape Works has become the latest production company to fall victim to the economy and changing technology and closed its doors March 31.
F&TW owns the building at 237 E. Ontario, which is in the process of being readied for potential leasing of the 30,000-sq. ft. facility and an arsenal of studio equipment.
The building and the company is owned equally by Jim Mahoney, chief operating officer, his former wife Kari Blunda, company president and their son, Clinton, who is handling the leasing.
“The Street Stops Here,” TeamWorks Media’s documentary about Jersey City’s impoverished and athletically dominant St. Anthony’s High School basketball team, has its national broadcast premiere March 31 at 9 p.m. on Ch. 11/PBS.
“This project has impacted our company in a major way,” TeamWorks CEO Jay Sharman says. “We’re talking to folks about how we can do visual storytelling that impacts lives.”
Bob Hurley has coached the St. Anthony Friars basketball team in Jersey City since 1972, sending all but two of his players to college.
Trailer and film-to-digital conversion company Filmack marks a milestone this year that few other local industry outfits can match: 90 years in business.
That makes it “the oldest, continuously operating cinema trailer company in the country, and perhaps the world,” says third generation owner Robbie Mack, whose grandfather founded the company one year after Charlie Chaplin left Chicago for Hollywood.
Despite having recently cut back staff and office space, 3to1 studio’s Josh Reichlin claims that a philosophy of cheerleading on behalf of their clients is keeping them busier than ever.
Their “saucy” new 15-second spot for Hecky’s Barbecue, to air in July, is characteristic of the cheeky animations that have gained the studio repeat clients for print, web design and visual production.
Zacuto will exhibit 30 recently released products at Cine Gear Expo 2009 in L.A. this weekend. The innovative light weight DSLR Gunstock Shooters are included in the newest items to be showcased June 5-6 at the expo at Paramount Studios.
Gunstock Shooters are part of Zacuto’s new line of Gorilla Kits created specifically for “on-the-go, run-and-gun” guerilla shooters.
In addition to the new Gorilla Kits and Z-finder prototype, Zacuto will exhibit its entire line, including the 27 new products released at NAB in April.
Three Illinois state legislators, who have been champions of the Illinois filmmakers tax incentives since the beginning, will be honored at a special reception hosted by the board of the Illinois Production Alliance.
Open to all in the film industry, the party will be held Monday, Sept. 15 at Resolution Digital Studios, 5:30-7 p.m.
The IPA board says the event serves as a way to thank Sen. Rickey Hendon and Reps. Ken Dunkin and Skip Saviano for their staunch support of the Illinois Film Production Services Tax Credit Act, since it was first introduced in 2004.
“Make no little plans” is a deeply-rooted Chicago philosophy that Pixel Brothers’ three partners are taking to heart, as they expand their range of services into feature film production.
Such a move puts Pixel Brothers in an elite category of being one of very few Chicago production houses with a solid stake in Hollywood theatricals.
Partner Andrew Ryann said the company will co-produce a slate of four films with newly formed L.A.-based Hollywood Farms, LLC, a partnership of writer Justin Ware, and producer Kirkland Tibbels.
The scrupulous restoration of the Cultural Center’s 101-year old Tiffany Dome to its pristine condition has been captured by Malachi Leopold’s Left Brain/Right Brain in a documentary scheduled for mid-August completion.
The Dome’s 38-feet in diameter, contains more than 30,000 pieces of glass in 241 sections, and is estimated at $35 million, although many have described the dome as “priceless.”
Restoration specialists painstakingly handled, cleaned and washed every one of the Dome’s 30,000 pieces.
Michigan’s film infrastructure is receiving a significant boost from S3 Entertainment Group, a full-service film production services company based in Troy, Michigan.
S3EG has partnered with Toronto-headquartered William F. White Intl. (WFW), one of North America’s largest production equipment providers, to serve as WFW’s exclusive distribution partner in Michigan.
A year ago producer/director/DP Jerry Donahue and producer/editor Genevieve Wolff relinquished their lengthy freelance careers and merged their respective expertise into a boutique specializing in HD production, post and web content.
Now that they have put the finishing touches on their West Loop studio, the filmmakers this week formally announced their new company, metroSpace media.
“We were like-minded friends who wanted to start a company and concentrate on certain ideals ? by building relationships and working closely with clients.
Michelle DeLong’s “clan” is one of many companies that’s changing spaces during Chicago’s traditional moving month of May.
On May 31 the three affiliated companies will pack up move from a 1,400-sq. ft. office in the Orbis building and on June 2 open for business in 3,500-sq. ft. of space in a large building a few miles south of the Loop.
The clan ? DeLong’s Mimi Productions, her husband David Miller’s Mindlight Films/Viral Film Video and DP Tim Horstman’s Nexvision ? will settle in a 10-story building at 329 W. 18th St., at Canal St. and the Chicago River.
Following the advice of Chicago visionary Daniel Burnham, Pixel Brothers’ John Patterson is “making no little plans” as he sets in motion positioning Chicago as the New Media Center of the world.
Patterson will assemble local heavyweights from the worlds of entertainment, technology and commerce to participate in the Chicago New Media Summit, June 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
More than 100 guests are expected to attend the planning meeting to be held April 23 at RDS from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
ELLEN DeGENERES will tape her popular daytime show here May 3, although the taping venue hasn’t been announced. Since her show airs on NBC, taping at Ch. 5’s big studio seems a natural. DeGeneres declares her Chicago show will be “big, big, big, huge It’s extra-large. It’s super-sized.”
While in Chicago, DeGeneres will headline the nearly- sold out annual black-tie Make-A-Wish Ball at Lincoln Park Zoo. Tickets are $500 each.
SCREENWRITER/DIRECTOR ZACH HELM (“Mr.
An auction for bankrupt payroll service company Axium International is scheduled to take place Jan. 31, with an opening bid of $2.5 million, according to court appointed trustee Howard Ehrenberg. He expects multiple bidders.
Fallout from Axium’s sudden closing earlier this month left entertainment companies holding worthless paychecks and about 400 Axium employees without jobs.
Wisconsin was counting on an Axium office opening in Milwaukee January to accommodate its anticipated flood of feature business. Last year it was rumored an Axium office would open in Chicago.
Illinois and Wisconsin are among the 31 states listed below that have legislated generous incentives to entice the motion picture industry away from the Coasts and spend some of its annual $60 billion within their borders.
An asterisk highlights the 14 states with the added appeal of sales and use tax exemptions (helllo, City Hall!).
*CALIFORNIA: Free permits and no location fees for California state properties; 5% sales tax exemption on postproduction equipment; no state hotel tax on occupancy.
FOUR CHICAGO EMMY AWARDS went to HMS Media’s critically acclaimed “Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There,” the only independent production amid the hundreds of Emmy nominations for television shows and personnel.
HMS co-founder Matt Hoffman won two Emmys for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Editor and Todd L. Clark won for Excellence in Lighting Design.
Choreographer Billy Siegenfeld and his entire troupe of dancers, who were chronicled in the doc, received the Emmy for Excellence in On-Camera Performance.
With the post for two network TV shows underway, corporate work, their own shows ready for market and an aggressive new stance, Pixel Brothers is aiming for top market position.
Last July, the company landed a whopper of a deal: editing the daily syndicated “Jerry Springer Show” and its new fledgling spinoff “The Steve Wilkos Show.”
Each contract is for three-years and each calls for postproduction of the daily shows, daily promos, and pay-per-view episodes of, ironically, the bits from the Springer Show that are too naughty for a morning TV audience.
WHO HE IS: Chad Ashley, director of CGI and a creative director at Somersault, Avenue’s nationally recognized design/effects division.
WHAT HE’S UP TO: At Autodesk’s Oct. 10 “Meet the Experts,” Ashley and Somersault 3D artist Amador Valenzuela, will detail the 30-second Puma spec spot, five months in the works, created with Autodesk 3DSMAX.
Mark Ohlsen’s LRS, Chicago’s largest audio studio specializing in foreign languages, has a roster of 265 foreign-speaking voiceovers, who can deliver 30 different languages?from commonly called-for Spanish to obscure Laotian Mong.
Hundreds of Fortune 500 companies that need the appropriate language translation for their far-flung employees’ E-learning programs are his clients.
Ohlsen estimates LRS has translated/recorded some 3,000 programs?or an awesome 136 jobs a year?since starting the company in 1985 with first-and-continuing client McDonald’s.
Chicago-headquartered ProActive Inc., a strategic design and face-to-face marketing events firm, was purchased this week by Dallas-based Freeman, a 26-city, a full-service resource for expositions, conventions and exhibits.
Now known as A Freeman Company, ProActive will retain its name and 39-person staff.
Tony Lorenz, who founded the company in 1992, continues as president, and also serves as a member of Freeman’s senior management team. He reports to Freeman’s Bob Moore, EVP/corporate accounts.
Chicago advertising made an impression at the 36th international Mobius Advertising Awards of Los Angeles by winning 12 awards out of 271, and a Milwaukee agency scored one.
Germany led the awards with 97; the U.S. scored 88 and the United Kingdom snared 29.
Lou Beres & Associates leads the local winners with two first place Mobius Awards for TV and Print, and three certificates of Creative Excellence in Radio, Television and Mixed Media.
Beres won in Print for a PSA, “AMA – Time Magazine Cover Wrap,” and in Television for an “Etch a Sketch” campaign.
TWO KODAK VETERANS have taken advantage of Kodak’s tempting early retirement package and will leave the company Jan. 31.
Regional marketing and sales manager J.J. Johnston had spent 33 years at Kodak, while regional account manager Ben Stone was close behind with 27 years.
In early January, Kodak will announce its reorganization of personnel placement and how territories will be divided as it moves deeper ito digital imaging.
Speculation is that the reorganization will not call for replacing the two Chicago veterans.
As a new young company, 3to1 Studios is surging ahead with production of a whimsical short film a month for podcasting and enough commercial business to pay the rent.
The name comes from the three commercial services offered in-one venue?film, web design, and graphic design?said Josh Reichlin, partner, editor and graphics designer.
The shop opened last February in a 300-sq. ft. studio in the Fine arts building when four Columbia College grads teamed up with veteran producer Floyd Webb.
Most Chicagoans think of Michigan cities that curl around Lake Michigan as summer destinations, unaware perhaps that Holland is home to one of the biggest production companies in the Midwest.
Full-service Grooters Productions has become even larger with its recent expansion into a 9,000-sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility in that tidy city’s downtown area.
John Grooters, who founded his company in 2001 in tiny third floor offices above a shoe store, said they’d been looking for the perfect space for a year to accommodate their huge business boom and rapidly increasing staff.
Back in 1976 the country celebrated its 200th anniversary, “Rocky” won the Oscar, Woodward and Bernstein’s “The Final Days” was a best seller and TV audiences laughed at “Laverne & Shirley.”
That year, young audio engineer Bill Holtane joined a small company he wasn’t enthusiastic about, but it was the best decision he ever made.
Soon thereafter he bought the business and turned it into Sound/Video Impressions of Des Plaines, celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Sales are a comfortable $2 million a year and employees, who number 18, have an average seniority of 14 years.
A new sound recording studio is underway under the baton of Michael Nehs, a former local film company executive, who has raised $750,000 from investors to build and operate the studio.
Nehs is currently seeking 10-12,000 sq. ft. lease space in which to build “a full-level scoring studio that will accommodate a 25-30 piece orchestra.”
Local celebs and political leaders are among the guests expected at the IPA Victory Party June 13 at Rockit Bar and Grill.
The party celebrates IPA’s influential role in the Illinois’ new 20% tax credit on wages and supplies that should appreciably boost the economic impact of film expenditures in Illinois.
It’s also an excellent opportunity for new members to join the powerful three-year organization and keep the momentum going.
The Illinois Film Office estimated that state production revenues reached $90 million in 2005, up from $77 million reported in 2004 and $25.6 million in 2003. Projections for 2006 put production on track to approach the $125 million levels set in the late ’90s.
Studio features shot for a total of 150 days, according to the Chicago Film Office, up from 109 in 2004 and 80 in 2003.
JACK WILSON, long-time active local NATAS member and motivational video producer, will be honored Dec. 3 as the 2005 recipient of NATAS Governors Awards at the 47th Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards.
Wilson’s career in Chicago television started at Ch. 11 where he rose through the ranks to become VP/marketing and development before leaving to start his own company. His 20-year old JWA/Video produces and markets videos to home and corporate markets.
After 43 years as Ogilvy & Mather/Chicago’s anchor and biggest account, Hoffman Estates-based Sears cut the tie and gave its $640 million business to Young & Rubicam, effective Oct. 1. Both agencies belong to the London-based WPP Group.
Back in 1963, Ogilvy opened an office here and imported top Manhattan creatives and executives to service Sears. Y&R began sharing Sears billings in 1993.
Y&R handled the “softer side of Sears,” while Ogilvy handled hard goods, Kenmore, Die Hard and Craftsman brands.
Little kids are going to love “Jack’s Big Music Show” from a talented Chicago team when it bows Sept. 12 on Noggin, the network division of Nickelodeon aimed at preschoolers.
“Jack’s” is the brainchild of Spiffy Pictures’ partners David Rudman, a.k.a. “Sesame Street’s” Cookie Monster, his brother Adam Rudman and Todd Hannert.
The 13 half-hour daily shows are a mix of clubhouse fun with original Muppet-like puppets, lots of real singers and musicians and a wide range of original music and mini music videos.
Fred Berkover and his old pal Bob Carr of Red Car will take off on their annual fishing expedition the end of June. Forget Wisconsin or Canada as their destination. The two editors will head for the Arctic Circle for two weeks.
When Berkover returns, he will pick up the reins at his new test spot company, Test Patterns, which has settled into space at Post Effects.
For 24 years Berkover owned Daily Planet, which he sold to employee Scott Marvel two years ago.
Just three days before the 1968 Democratic National Convention was to convene in Chicago, a riotous Viet Nam war protest erupted at Grant Park.
Mike Gray, then a spot producer, shot 7,000 feet of film over three days that resulted in shot the provocative documentary, “American Revolution II” and changed his life.
Gray’s “Revolution” and equally important “The Death of Fred Hampton,” are part of the Chicago Film Archives collection of 5,000 16mm films.
The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee announced 107 nominations in 23 categories for non-union productions during the 2004-2005 season.
Winners will be honored at a June 13 presentation at Park West.
TimeLine Theatre Company and Circle Theatre tied for the most nominations with 14 each, followed by Bailiwick Repertory with 13 and The House Theatre of Chicago with 12.
Five productions were nominated for Outstanding Production-Play.
Towers Productions, the 16-year old producer of cable content, is Chicago’s largest production company, with estimated billings of $10 million.
ReelChicago’s Catherine Rategan talked to founder/president Jonathan Towers and VP/production Mike Schmiedeler to learn about thriving company.
RC: As Chicago’s biggest production company, give us an idea of Towers’ size and scope.
While local spot production may be at the bottom of the scale, documentary production for cable can be viewed as a growth industry with the explosion of cable outlets and its voracious need for programming.
Experienced doc-cable producers Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs hope to tap into those cable opportunities through their new company, Siskel/Jacobs.
Backyard Productions is never one to stand still, always finding a new way to serve emerging trends?like its newly-formed Seed, a content company led by former DDB award-winning group creative director John Immesoete.
Immesoete is Seed partner/creative director and also a director for Backyard.
Seed will concentrate on “entertainment opportunities such as TV shows and Web-based films,” said Backyard partner/principal Roy Skillicorn.
Since signing with Backyard in December, Immesoete directed the “Lady” Bud Light Super Bowl spot in collaboration with DDB.
For a comparatively tiny amount of money, HMS Media is producing an ambtious 13-part, half-hour series with the self-explanatory title, “The Chicago Dance Project.”
The series spotlighting more than 40 Chicago dance troupes, from the famous to the lesser known, airs Sundays over Ch. 11 until pledge month and resumes at an earlier Sunday time slot.
More than 300 persons attended funeral services Jan. 3 for admusic composer/producer Steve Shafer, 52, who was hailed as a visionary who revolutionized commercial music production through his early use of synthesized music.
Mr. Shafer, 52, died Dec. 30 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a long battle with kidney cancer that began last January.
He had been a founding partner in award-winning Spank!Music and Sound Design (with composers Greg Allan and Mat Morse) in 1997.
Peter Riegert comes to town Dec. 14, not as the famous actor he is, but as co-writer, director/producer of “King of the Corner,” his first indie feature.
It will be screened at 5:30 at the AMC River East theatre, followed by Q&A with Riegert and his cinematographer, Mauricio Rubinstein (“Casa De Los Babys”). Kodak sponsors as a promotion for its new Super 16 250D daylight stock, utilized in the Riegert feature.
He shares with ReelChicago’s Ruth L Ratny the path traveled from the decision to direct a full-blown feature four years after directing an Oscar-nominated short.
Let’s take a step back in time in order to bring perspective to Catherine Rategan’s interview with Tony Lorenz, founder/president of 12-year old ProActive, Inc., a business communications company with a staff of 30.
Decades before the digital revolution, Chicago flourished “as the 16mm capital of the world” by virtue of producing more industrial films, or “trips through the factory,” than any other film market in the country, as tracked by Eastman Kodak.
Writer/director Catherine Crouch reunites with “Stray Dogs” star Guinevere Turner (“Go Fish”) for Crouch’s sophomore feature “Metamora,” a horror pic she described as “a love triangle between two people.”
Crouch’s usual DP, former Columbia College classmate and reality TV regular Marie-Jo?lle Rizk, will shoot on black and white 16mm in Illinois and Indiana from Nov. 20 to Dec. 15.
Taking a rare break from a year-long festival tour that has taken him to Marrakech, Venice, Bangkok and beyond, Hakim Bellabes is back in town to screen his debut feature “Threads” at the Film Center Sept. 30.
Laura Marks stars as a young Chicago woman who accompanies her dying father (Azeddine Bouayad) to his hometown of Bejjaad, Morocco?where Bellabes himself grew up. Bellabes tapped into his considerable documentary background, interspersing a significant amount of verit? footage with the scripted story.
If anyone gives new meaning to the word “perseverance” it’s Valerie Gobos. The unwavering associate producer (that’s her front end credit on the movie) kept the faith for nine years to get a movie produced by a major entity.
Starting back in 1995, Gobos sold Martin Scorcese’s Cappa Films on co-producing with Athens-based Alco Films a feature by Greek director Panetlis Voulgaris.
The film, “Brides,” about mail order brides who came to America in the 1920s, written by Voulgaris’ wife, was shot last spring with an international cast on a $3 million budget.
FEATURE IN THE WORKS. Not only is Jerry Rose’s Total Living Network staff of 70 now ensconced in new $18 million Aurora headquarters, but Rose and his company, Christian Communications, are financing part of the $2.6 million feature, “The Visitation,” based on popular author Frank Peretti’s Christian-themed book. Filming starts in September in L.A.
Former comedian Dave Grier has started production on “Bill’s Meeting,” a 13-episode talk show series hosted by former Frank Sinatra lead trombonist Bill Porter.
Grier, formerly a member of the Coupla Fat Guys comedy duo with Pat Hall, is producing “Bill’s Meeting” through his Grier Productions, and is shopping for a station to carry the show.
Michigan Avenue could get a much needed big business boost if luck is with Cramer-Krasselt pitching the $200 million Kia Motors America account, and if Arby’s places its $15 million business with Euro RSCG, one of eight agencies it’s checking out. Also: The White Sox is looking for a new agency; Hoffman York currently has the account.
Leaving Michigan Avenue in January will be English WPP-owned JWT and Ogilvy & Mather, which will settle into new Merchandise Mart offices. Address doesn’t have the same cachet, but you can’t beat the economies of scale.
TIMECODE MECHANICS is releasing a preliminary DVD of their biblical apocalyptic thriller “The 4th Beast: Mask of the Antichrist” Aug. 14. The DV feature, shot by director Nathyn Masters last winter, will be available through the films web site www.the4thbeast.com for $12.95.
WHEW, OPRAH STAYS PUT. The tension’s over as to whether she would or wouldn’t opt out of TV and Chicago at the end of her current contract. But we can relax. Oprah is not going to hang it up after all. Her newly-signed contract will keep her on TV through 2011 ? and assure continuing jobs for the nearly 300 people who work on the show.
By 2011, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will have been on a full 25 seasons. And they say there’s no indication that the 25th season will be the last.
The times, they are a’changing, and nowhere is this more apparent than in post houses where new technology is affecting change. Venerable, 20-year old Post Effects is one of the companies straight-forwardly announcing a change. “We’re in essence a new company,” said president Mike Fayette. “We have the same people but in different roles.”
Toward that end, Post Effects has begun upgrading almost its entire facility by purchasing a dozen new, high-end workstations, and reconfigurating its staff of 30 by changing the status or trimming a third.
DePaul University has put its resources behind “a motion picture company first and a classroom second” by launching a bona fide indie production company with the dual goal of providing students with hands-on practical experience and producing viable films for exhibition.
A mixture of DePaul students, faculty and professionals are currently shooting a 30-minute indie film, “Last Call,” under the banner of Bluelight Productions. Oscar-winning sound editor David E.
AT THE POST. Filament Post has officially replaced Spots BME as the name of Bruce Frankel’s editing house. “I wanted it to be a new company, now that we’re adding new people and incorporating new ideas,” he says. New addition is Matthew Egan formerly with Cutters for seven years. “I can see him becoming one of the best editors in the city,” enthuses Frankel … New Daily Planet president is Scott Marvel , VP/editor, who’s been with the company for 15 years.
A second season of 13 “Soundstage” episodes launches June 17 on Ch. 11 and national PBS with a line-up of today’s hottest performers. First show is a Fleetwood Mac concert performing their hits and songs from their June 15 album release, “Live in Boston.”
“Soundstage” is a co-production of music producer Joe Thomas’ HDReady company and WTTW National Productions. The show is shot in HD and mixed in Dolby 5.1 surround sound in Ch. 11’s 10,000-sq. ft. Grainger Studio.
Thomas also directs; WTTW National Productions’ Randy King, Ch.
Production company 33 Degrees is poised to open a new one-stop production facility and is on the verge of closing a multi-picture film deal including the sale of their feature “dark,” which screens May 25 at Excalibur.
Philip Faversham of Highroad Productions joined forces with Brad Wells and D.A. Bullock of Cheeseburger Films to form 33 Degrees late last year, and are committed to growing the company into an outfit that handles development through post- production on feature films, television and commercials.
Well into development on their second major game release, Studio Gigante ? the former “Mortal Kombat” development team ? moved to 13,000-sq. ft. space at 4621 N. Ravenswood, triple the size of its former West Loop space.
The move was motivated when Gigante landed a contract to develop a game series for an undisclosed software publisher. “I can’t say much about it right now,” said Josh Tsui, VP/partner. “But it’s considered one of the largest and most successful franchises around in any media. We find ourselves extremely fortunate to be a part of it.”
Radio Ridge Productions is gearing up for a year of growth to follow up several major expansions in the past year.
“We’re in the midst of a major drive toward new business development,” said David Gulbransen, producer/director. “We’re focusing on providing HD and film production to businesses that don’t have in-house video, or those looking to outsource higher-end production.”
Epiphany Pictures got a boost in the long development of their dream project “Sweet Home Chicago” with the signing of new 4th Row Films of New York to co-produce the feature.
Producers will be 4th Row founder Doug Tirola, Epiphany partners Mark Frazel and Scott J.T. Frank, and Carey Lundin of Adelstein & Associates.
Epiphany director Dan Halperin plans to shoot the coming-of-age film in Chicago next summer with a budget between $3.5 and $7 million.
No sooner was the word out that tabletop director/ shooter Mark Klein had opened his own studio than his New York clients began ringing the phone off the hook, said executive producer Noreen Szeluga.
Klein’s new studio, MK Films Corp., was carved out of a massive former storage building at Lake and Ashland.
After three months of rehabbing, the fully-equipped studio has two stages, a full kitchen, motion control, several client areas and offices. “It represents a major personal investment on Mark’s part,” said Szeluga.
By Jan Lisa Huttner
After a long professional acquaintance that began on an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” director Robert Altman and screenwriter Barbara Turner’s new film The Company is now playing in theatres nationally.
Filmed here on location last fall, “The Company” is a dramatization of life in Chicago’s famous Joffrey Ballet Company.
When Altman and Turner first met, she was a New York-trained actress and he was a promising young television director.
An impressive investment: Film & Tape Works took delivery of a new DaVinci 2K+ color corrector to work in conjunction with its Spirit Data Cine.
It’s official: Chicago Story’s Mark Androw is AICP national chairman; @radical.media’s Frank Stiefel elected vice chairman; The Artists Company’s Sally Antonacchio, treasurer.
Erich Funke, formerly a creative director at TBWA/Chiat/Day/L.A. is BBDO’s new SVP/creative director on Jim Beam.
ACROSS THE HALL FOR MITIDIERO. Veteran editor Mickey Mitidiero and partner/business manager George Sosnowski closed their 21-year Lakeshore Productions and moved across the hall into KI Edit Design space. Mitidiero remains busy with his former clients, including Element 79 and Cramer/Krasselt, while Studio 300 continues to operate in old Lakeshore side of 540 N. Lake Shore Dr. KI (rhymes with sky) is the editing house of editors Paul Kopchak and Anthony Izzo, and editor Paul Hendricks and business manager Doreen Izzo. Phone number is 312/276-0706.
A high note sounded for the music business with Tom Wiebe’s purchase of Pat Yacono’s Playroom and the official Dec. 1 opening of Earhole, the new name of the newly merged companies.
Sound engineer Yacono had been planning to sell The Playroom recording studio in order to move to L.A., while Wiebe was thinking about expanding 10-year old Wiebe Music into audio post and sound design. They were referred to each other by mutual friends and a deal was struck in short order.
|Rasa Theatre Chicago founding members Jaya Subramanian, Samir Wadke, Parvesh Cheena, Barnali Das, Anjalee Deshpande, Sonal Shah, Anish Jethmalani, Rachana Khatau, and Anita Chandwaney.
COMMA’S CHRISTMAS PACKAGES. Comma’s Larry Pecorella and Bryan Rheude scored Hallmark’s Christmas spots based on Tschaikovski’s Dance of the Reed Flutes for Burnett creatives Tim Pontarelli and David Harner and producer Bob Harley. And for the second year in a row scored JC Penney’s holiday image spot. Asides: Composer Dave Hutten moved to Comma’s Santa Monica office full-time. Their studio, incidentally, was featured in November’s Interior Design Magazine.
ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE. Luminair’s George Elder was in L.A.
John Crededio wasn’t kidding about a lawsuit against the state’s representative, Brenda Sexton. He hired one of the city’s biggest legal guns to pursue his case.
Steve Ford Music added executive producer Cynthia Barber, former DDB executive radio producer (and songwriter/singer) and marketing coordinator Rachel Slusarczyk, a recent School of Art Institute grad.
Famous Columbia College alum producer Bob Teitel (need we mention “Barber Shop” and “Soul Food?”) shares his filmmaking experiences at what could be an SRO evening Nov.
BURRELL NAMES BROADCAST HEAD. Burrell promoted Debbie Amsden to director of broadcast production, a position vacant since Sharon Kimbrough left the company earlier this year. “With production getting busier, we needed someone in that position,” said creative chief Mike Faems. Amsden leads a department of five producers and an associate producer.
YOUMANS SHOOTS IN EUROPE.