DePaul grad screens ‘Tom of Your Life’ at Music Box

Written and directed by acclaimed singer-songwriter Jer Sklar, Music Box Theatre will screen Chicago comedy Tom of Your Life from May 7-13. Featuring an original soundtrack with 11 original songs from his local band The Blackstrap Molasses, Sklar also edited, produced and stars.  Tom of Your Life tells the story of a baby who inexplicably ages four years on each hour. … Continue reading “DePaul grad screens ‘Tom of Your Life’ at Music Box”

Lena Waithe headlines DePaul screenwriting conference

Emmy Award-winning writer, creator, producer and actor Lena Waithe of  Twenties, The Chi and Queen & Slim will headline DePaul University’s Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference Feb. 5-6.  DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts will present a series of virtual panel discussions with top screenwriting talent and TV and film executives from across the entertainment industry. Slated speakers include screenwriters Liz Hannah of The Post and Nicole Perlman of Guardians of … Continue reading “Lena Waithe headlines DePaul screenwriting conference”

DePaul, Columbia and Flashpoint plan for Fall 2020

Chicago’s DePaul, Flashpoint and Columbia College are preparing for fall. Here’s what they are doing to keep their students safe, as they guide them toward their careers. Between online classes, the evolving COVID-19 regulations, and increased challenges on set from budget constraints and social distancing, the production process has changed.      In an industry where people … Continue reading “DePaul, Columbia and Flashpoint plan for Fall 2020”

DePaul alum’s, “Waiting by the Phone” now online

“Waiting by the Phone,” the award-winning animated film written/directed/produced by DePaul University alum Olivia Jensen, is now available online after a successful year-long festival run across the United States. “Waiting by the Phone” was created during Jensen’s senior year at DePaul University and so far has screened at more than fifteen film festivals across the … Continue reading “DePaul alum’s, “Waiting by the Phone” now online”

DePaul’s Eltanal & Khatami chosen for IFP fellowship

DePaul School of Cinematic Arts announced that Assistant Professors, Ronald Eltanal and Alireza Khatami, have been selected for the prestigious IFP Episodic Lab fellowship program for their project titled, Tenure. The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today twenty-six feature projects and series selected to participate across three labs over the next month: The IFP Filmmaker … Continue reading “DePaul’s Eltanal & Khatami chosen for IFP fellowship”

‘Breaking Bad’ producer Stewart Lyons at DePaul

Breaking Bad producer Stewart Lyons will be among the TV and film creators appearing at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts Visiting Artists Series this winter. The award-winning guest, who also produces Better Call Saul, will take part in the VAS’ series of feature screenings and onstage discussions with leading talent in the entertainment industry … Continue reading “‘Breaking Bad’ producer Stewart Lyons at DePaul”

DePaul film brings holiday magic to State St.

‘Merry Christmas from DePaul’ stop-motion holiday scene will light up the loop from November 7 to January 15 DePaul University will light up the corner of State Street and Jackson Boulevard with a new holiday tradition on November 7. Merry Christmas from DePaul is a stop-motion animated film and 3D design created by faculty filmmakers … Continue reading “DePaul film brings holiday magic to State St.”

DePauw and DePaul’s “King Rat” on Amazon Prime

“It was either go to grad school or just make a movie right now, and I decided to just make a movie.” Writer / Director Henry Johnston DePauw University and DePaul University alumni teamed up to create King Rat – a feature film that utilized university resources to take a meta look at the graduation … Continue reading “DePauw and DePaul’s “King Rat” on Amazon Prime”

Free Spirit Media 2018 cohort film to premiere at DePaul

“What makes ‘Fuzzy Legs’ so special is that it’s told from a Pakistani-American girl’s perspective” Amber Eswani (Chicago — 7 November 2018) Fuzzy Legs — a short film written and directed by Amber Eswani and produced by Free Spirit Media’s 2018 film cohort — will premiere Saturday November 17 at DePaul University. The film tells … Continue reading “Free Spirit Media 2018 cohort film to premiere at DePaul”

DePaul, Second City to offer comedy film degrees

No Joke: DePaul collaborates with world’s largest school of improvisation to offer degrees in comedy filmmaking (Chicago — 3 May 2018) The Second City and DePaul University today announced a collaboration designed to expand comedy education. Starting in fall 2018, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts will offer comprehensive new undergraduate and graduate degrees in comedy … Continue reading “DePaul, Second City to offer comedy film degrees”

Two by Four, Quriosity help DePaul campaign launch

(Chicago — 19 April 2018) DePaul University announces a new brand awareness campaign with the message “Here, We Do.” Breaking April 23 and running initially for 12 weeks, the campaign is the university’s first comprehensive brand advertising since 2011. David Kalsbeek, SVP of Enrollment and Marketing, explains that Here, We Do. differentiates DePaul from other … Continue reading “Two by Four, Quriosity help DePaul campaign launch”

Chaz Ebert cohosts “STEP” screening at DePaul

Chaz Ebert cohosted a sold-out screening of the award-winning documentary, STEP, with DePaul University at the school’s CDM Theatre on Saturday afternoon. Following a year in the lives of a small group of high school seniors who are members of the step team at the Baltimore Leadership School for Girls (BLSG), the film celebrates the … Continue reading “Chaz Ebert cohosts “STEP” screening at DePaul”

DePaul expands to second 12.5K-sq. ft. Cinespace stage

DePaul University, in the fourth year of its 10-year studio rental lease at Cinespace, added a second sound stage in the program the school informally calls “DePaul-to-TV pipeline” because of the jobs it offers students.

DePaul’s new Cinespace facility, 12,500-sq. ft. Stage 16/17, one of Cinespace’s 30 stages, is a further commitment to Cinespace’s and DePaul’s larger partnership with the School of Cinematic ARts in the College of Computing and Digital Media.  

DePaul presents free Kartemquin doc master classes

Master classes on documentary filmmakers by the experts — Kartemquin filmmakers, founder / artistic director Gordon Quinn, director Dinesh Sabu and director of editing / senior editor Leslie Simmer — is being presented Oct. 28-29 by DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts for “Verite,” and it’s free and open to all.

Free DePaul Screenwriting Conference with top writers

The Midwest’s premiere screening event — DePaul School of Cinematic Arts’ annual Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference — Oct. 8 at its Loop campus, is an afternoon of panel discussions with the entertainment industry’s writers and producers, free and open to all.

Project Development kicks off the panels at 1 p.m., discussed by Brian Banks, Nickelodeon’s VP / executive in charge of production at Nickelodeon and Samantha Olsson Shear, head film and television development at Kickstart Productions. DePaul faculty member and screenwriter Chris Parrish will moderate.

Top LA talent speak at DePaul’s free conference

Ten A-list film executives from LA will appear on panels discussing all things screenwriting at DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts’ 2nd annual Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference, Saturday, May 21, 1:00-7:30 p.m. free and open to all.

1:00-1:45 p.m. DePaul students will pitch their projects to panelists Dina Hiller, former VP/ Comedy Development at Paramount Television (Community) Adam Peck, owner/president of Synchronicity Management, screenwriter Steve Pink (High Fidelity); Moderator is DePaul faculty member Chris Parrish.

DePaul/Cinespace rolls out 3-ton custom grip truck

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.

DePaul, Cinespace form film education partnership

It’s axiomatic that college grads go where the jobs are and in the film industry that points to Los Angeles. But wait!  With the announcement of a partnership between DePaul University’s cinema studios and Cinespace, graduates now may have the option of a successful entertainment film career in Chicago.

DePaul MFA’s digital feature goes big screen

Digital feature “Four,” the 40-minute, ambitious MFA thesis film of writer/director Patrick Wimp, the first-ever MFA graduate of DePaul University’s Digital Cinema program, will premiere June 10 at the Music Box.

The four separate stories were partly inspired by C.S.

Tenured DePaul professor slams firings, claims enrollment gains paved way for Stone’s removal

A strong motivation for the abrupt firing in March of two enormously popular DePaul Digital Cinema teachers was offered by a tenured DePaul University professor, who also criticized the school’s Digital Cinema (DC) program.

Professor Stephen Leucking claimed that Digital Cinema teachers David Stone and Lou Kleinman were dismissed due to their criticisms of the program’s quality.

DePaul students, grads go on the record to express frustration over recent prof firings

While DePaul University refuses to discuss the reasons behind the recent firing of two popular teachers in the Digital Cinema (DC) program, current DC students are going on the record to vent their frustration.

Many DC graduates support their complaints, with accusations of gender discrimination, substandard equipment and unqualified teachers leveled at the school.

Stated Matthew Hessler, a current DC student: “Dave Stone and Lou Kleinman were the most well-connected professors in the department.

Vanessa Ament responds to DePaul faculty action

It is painful, but probably necessary to watch this situation play out in public. I anticipate being criticized for writing this letter.

To read in print that the Digital Cinema faculty sent a group statement to Father Dennis causes the knot in my stomach to harden. Several of these faculty members hardly know Dave or Lou. Two of them are new to the school.

Dave, Lou and I have always advocated for what we feel is best for the students. Sometimes our ideas conflicted with the direction of the program, and we were characterized negatively for our efforts.

Unexplained motives remain in the aftermath of the firing of two DePaul Digital Cinema teachers

Just days after making a controversial decision to dismiss two highly praised professors, DePaul announced an imminent and major restructuring of the school that houses the Digital Cinema program.

The close timing of the two events on the eve of Spring Break and the implications of the transition further complicate a situation that has provoked dismay and upset many students.

DePaul Digital Cinema abruptly fires two star professors recruited from Hollywood

Oscar-winning sound editor David Stone and two-time Emmy-winning sound and dialog editor Lou Kleinman spent the DePaul University spring break reeling from the surprise news that they should look for new employment.

They also were informed their contracts to teach the school’s Digital Cinema program would not be renewed, and were relieved of their teaching duties for the remainder of the academic year.

That left the fledgling program’s 350-plus students wondering who will fill their place for the spring semester.

Producer Jones joins faculty of DePaul’s Digital Cinema program; Oscar grant funds internships

Producer Steven A. Jones joined the faculty of DePaul University’s innovative Digital Cinema program, adding another link between one of the Midwest’s fastest-growing cinema programs and the movie industry.

Separately, the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences provided a $7,000 grant to fund new West Coast internships for Digital Cinema (DC) students.

The grant will help to cover student stipends, travel expenses, housing and a per diem for the students while living on the West Coast during the 2007-2008 academic year.

DePaul Digital Cinema Program shoots feature film; crew will mix professionals and students

DePaul University’s year-old Digital Cinema Program leaps into the big leagues this summer when a mix of professionals and students from the program will produce a feature film under the school’s Bluelight Productions banner.

Director Matt Irvine brings together the same core team of industry professional faculty members who have overseen the production of Bluelight’s inaugural hour-long “Last Call,” which is in post after shooting last July.

DePaul starts indie film company to make movies while training students

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.

Yolanda Macias joins AbelsonTaylor as first Director of Diversity and Inclusion

AbelsonTaylor has appointed Yolanda Macias, a specialist in workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), to the newly created position of director of diversity and inclusion. Macias will develop initiatives that promote and sustain DEI objectives across all levels of the agency, working in partnership with department directors, managers, and other key staff. She will also … Continue reading “Yolanda Macias joins AbelsonTaylor as first Director of Diversity and Inclusion”

The Chicago Film Critics Association welcomes three new members

The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, released their roster for 2021-2022 today, announcing the acceptance of three new members.  The new critics represent a new generation in Chicago-based film criticism and bring their voices to one of the country’s … Continue reading “The Chicago Film Critics Association welcomes three new members”

IFA Chicago hosts Grey’s Anatomy director Daniel Willis

IFA Chicago’s Executive Talks event series, is hosting Chicago-native, award-winning television director, producer, and writer, Daniel Willis in a virtual conversation moderated by IFA Chicago Executive Director, Angie Gaffney. Daniel Willis’ directing credits include Freeform/Hulu’s Cruel Summer, ABC’s The Rookie, NBC’s The Blacklist, and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. He also recently served as producer/writer for the … Continue reading “IFA Chicago hosts Grey’s Anatomy director Daniel Willis”

16th CineYouth Festival announces winners

CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced award winners for its expanded 2021 edition, comprising films accepted for the pandemic-preempted 2020 edition plus a new slate of films submitted for the 2021 festival. These include Best Drama winners She Who Wasn’t Tamed (2020) by 19-year-old Saleh Kashefi of Iran and The Pleasure of Killing Bugs (2021) by 21-year-old Leonardo Martinelli from Brazil. Best Animation went … Continue reading “16th CineYouth Festival announces winners”

Chicago Independent Producers Lab selects 5 producers

Full Spectrum Features, the Chicago-based non-profit committed to driving equity into the film industry, announced the five producers selected for its second annual Chicago Independent Producers Lab, a year-long project incubator designed to cultivate Chicago’s vibrant independent film industry. In partnership with the Chicago Film Office’s Independent Film Initiative, the Lab offers one-on-one customized mentorship … Continue reading “Chicago Independent Producers Lab selects 5 producers”

CineYouth Festival unveils lineup for global event

Celebrating its 16th edition in 2021, CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced a striking and diverse selection of 102 international short films for the festival’s first virtual edition. For its largest edition yet, CineYouth is expanding to a full week, running May 6-13, 2021, with films available to stream globally. The festival will highlight new … Continue reading “CineYouth Festival unveils lineup for global event”

37th Chicago Latino Film Audience Choice Award wins

The 37th Chicago Latino Film Festival announces the winners and runners-up for the Audience Choice Awards. The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature went to The Heist of the Century, Argentinian director Ariel Winograd’s heist comedy about the most famous and audacious bank robbery in Argentina’s history starring Guillermo Francella (The Secret in Their Eyes) … Continue reading “37th Chicago Latino Film Audience Choice Award wins”

Chicago Humanities Festival presents line-up of events

Chicago Humanities Festival is announcing an exciting line-up of virtual programs with award-winning writers, groundbreaking scholars, and cultural icons in late-April and May.  Renowned speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku interviewed by actor LeVar Burton, SNL and Happy Endings star Casey Wilson, graphic memoirist of Fun Home fame Alison Bechdel, … Continue reading “Chicago Humanities Festival presents line-up of events”

Kimberly-Clark moving into Chicago’s Fulton Market

Kimberly-Clark, maker of trusted brands including Huggies, Cottonelle, Kleenex and Depend, will expand their presence in Chicago with a new commercial center for its North American consumer products business. “Kimberly-Clark’s move to Illinois is just the latest sign that our investments in talent, innovation and digital infrastructure are not only paying off for residents but … Continue reading “Kimberly-Clark moving into Chicago’s Fulton Market”

Chicago filmmaker releases feature length sci-fi adventure

From Gravitas Ventures, Cinestone’s newest feature film, Exodus, is in the realm of sci-fi adventure with hints of thriller elements and post-apocalyptic themes. Throughout the film we follow Connor (Jimi Stanton), an enforcer in a small town several years after the rapture. When he discovers a VHS tape painting the image of a door to … Continue reading “Chicago filmmaker releases feature length sci-fi adventure”

Running the festival circuit with Midwest Film Festival

Join The Midwest Film Festival exclusively on Facebook Live on Tuesday, February 9th from 6 PM – 7 PM CST for a panel conversation led by industry pros. They’ll share their vast knowledge and experience in running the festival circuit and the success they’ve had. All attendees who register via Eventbrite will automatically be entered to win … Continue reading “Running the festival circuit with Midwest Film Festival”

Jazz Kitchen: When Justice is the Message, November 18

It hardly seems possible to imagine social justice advocacy without music and art. Creating at the intersection of artistic practice and social justice is an essential impulse for many artists. Whether overt or embedded in the very impulse to create (or both), the role of artists/creatives in advancing justice is fundamental to the history of social … Continue reading “Jazz Kitchen: When Justice is the Message, November 18”

Sarofsky adds Creative Director Stefan Draht

Sarofsky, with a reputation for breakthrough design, adds Creative Director Stefan Draht to its full-time staff. Continuing its growth and its investments into excellence, design-driven production company Sarofsky is adding Creative Director Stefan Draht to its full-time staff. The news was announced by company Principal and Executive Creative Director Erin Sarofsky, and Executive Producer Steven Anderson. “Adding another creative … Continue reading “Sarofsky adds Creative Director Stefan Draht”

Hyde Park Jazz Festival’s adapted 2020 Programming

To keep our community and artists safe, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival announces new and adapted programming for the 14th Annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival and summer/fall 2020. While it will not be possible to produce the Festival in its multi venue format, the Festival’s programming this year seeks to provide audiences with safe and joyous free … Continue reading “Hyde Park Jazz Festival’s adapted 2020 Programming”

Cinespace releases their Production Safety Guidelines

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios has released their own set of Production Safety Guidelines and announced their partnership with ServPro, which will be the exclusive cleaning service allowed on campus.  These updates come as the City and State move further into Phase 3 of Re-opening. Among the industries reopening- with strict safety guidelines- are: childcare businesses, libraries, bars and outdoor dining at restaurants.  Cinespace president, … Continue reading “Cinespace releases their Production Safety Guidelines”

WTTW News correspondents host a virtual town hall

WTTW News correspondents and producers Brandis Friedman and Paris Schutz hosted a virtual town hall meeting, WTTW NEWS: COVERING COVID-19, to share their experiences producing local news in the age of COVID-19 with Chicago/Illinois journalism students. The town hall was recorded on May 22 from the CHICAGO TONIGHT studio, and remotely from participant’s homes. Viewers can … Continue reading “WTTW News correspondents host a virtual town hall”

Meet the brains behind Mind Exchange Music

As productions across the globe come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, most filmmakers have found themselves with a lot of time on their hands. Some have turned to sourdough bread baking and Tiger King, while others have decided to revisit back-burnered personal projects. Around the country, temporarily shelved footage has been brought to … Continue reading “Meet the brains behind Mind Exchange Music”

Former SNL writer, Second City vet McCarthy passes at 61

Chicago has lost a beloved writer, actor, comedian, teacher, husband and father. Former SNL writer, Michael Clayton McCarthy, who was also an active member of The Second City, iO Comedy and DePaul University faculties, passed away peacefully after a two-year bout with a debilitating form of cancer on April 8, 2020.  He was 61. His … Continue reading “Former SNL writer, Second City vet McCarthy passes at 61”

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”

REEL WOMEN: Laurie Adrianopoli, EP Sales/Mktg at Carbon

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. Laurie is a native Chicagoan who enjoys being a … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Laurie Adrianopoli, EP Sales/Mktg at Carbon”

Glenance Green, Deputy Director, Free Spirit Media

Glenance Green, Deputy Director of Free Spirit Media, joins the 2020 Reel Chicago Black List, a celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, McDonald’s US Marketing Director Lizette Williams, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. Glenance Green is … Continue reading “Glenance Green, Deputy Director, Free Spirit Media”

Victoria Lee, writer, creator, cellist

Victoria Lee, director and producer, joins the 2020 edition of Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, McDonald’s US Marketing Director Lizette Williams, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. Writer, creator and … Continue reading “Victoria Lee, writer, creator, cellist”

Behind the scenes with the Chicago IFA’s Angie Gaffney

Angie Gaffney chaperones a lot of dreams in the Windy City. As Executive Director of the Chicago Independent Film Alliance — an organization recently formed by combining the Independent Filmmaker Project with Stage 18 — she helps people achieve their goals, and their goals are to make movies. Or short films. Or pilots. Or web … Continue reading “Behind the scenes with the Chicago IFA’s Angie Gaffney”

Zanah Thirus, producer + director

Zanah Thirus, director and producer, joins the 2020 edition of Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, McDonald’s US Marketing Director Lizette Williams, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. Zanah Thirus is … Continue reading “Zanah Thirus, producer + director”

Stephanie Jeter, filmmaker

Stephanie Jeter, filmmaker and co-founder of OTV Studio, joins the 2020 edition of Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes ‘The Chi’ cast member LaDonna Tittle, house music pioneer Vince Lawrence, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. … Continue reading “Stephanie Jeter, filmmaker”

Chicago Latino Film Festival unveils 2020 poster

The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), is proud to announce Turkish artist and graphic designer Yağmur Genç as the winner of the 36th Chicago Latino Film Festival Poster Contest. The ILCC received 928 submissions for this year’s contest from Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Jamaica, Mexico, The … Continue reading “Chicago Latino Film Festival unveils 2020 poster”

Chicago-made x-ray spider mutant creeps into Sundance

Chicago Filmmaker Brian Andrews’ new film, Hominidæ, about an x-ray spider mutant, will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24th at 8:00 p.m. at The Box at The Ray. A CG-animated virtual reality film, Hominidæ depicts an ecosystem of x-ray visibility. It features creatures that have evolved in surprising ways, … Continue reading “Chicago-made x-ray spider mutant creeps into Sundance”

CBD promotes Mark Robinson, Adrian Tumiati

New titles and responsibilities recognize the “outstanding contributions” of key staffers Colman, Brohan & Davis, Inc. (CBD Marketing) continues to grow its capabilities as a digital agency with the promotion of key team members Mark Robinson and Adrian Tumiati.   Mark Robinson Mark Robinson was named Vice President, Digital Marketing, Media and Analytics. Mark was … Continue reading “CBD promotes Mark Robinson, Adrian Tumiati”

Cow Lamp acquires a pair of Jack Newell films

Indie distributor scores ‘Open Tables’ and ‘Close Quarters’ by Second City’s Harold Ramis School Program Director Cow Lamp Films — the Midwest’s first and only full-service, independent film and television distributor — has acquired two movies by romantic comedy legend Jack C. Newell. In Newell’s signature style, both of the stories use food and humor … Continue reading “Cow Lamp acquires a pair of Jack Newell films”

ChiFilmFest announces 2019 audience winners

‘Just Mercy,’ ‘And Then We Danced,’ ‘Ready for War’ take top honors at 55th Chicago International Film Festival   The Chicago International Film Festival today announced the winners of the Festival Audience Awards, presented by Xfinity. Voted by Festival-goers, the Audience Award for Best Feature goes to Just Mercy by director Destin Daniel Cretton. The … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces 2019 audience winners”

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

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

A sneak peek of Chicago’s ‘House of Beetle’

Installing movie sets inside a cool bar is a great idea, but ‘House of Beetle’ is way more than that Chicago’s Beetlejuice Pop-Up Bar is a living recreation of the eclectic groove that make the original Tim Burton film a legendary classic. Besides offering visitors a chance to walk through the attic, the waiting room, … Continue reading “A sneak peek of Chicago’s ‘House of Beetle’”

ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch”

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

The universal appeal of ‘See The Light’

Chicago actor Veronica Dillard explains how a tragedy can bring hope to any “age, race, or gender” Chicago-produced short film See the Light will make its Windy City debut during the Women Behind the Lens program at the Chicago South Side Film Festival this Saturday. Recently awarded Best Inspirational Film at the Anaheim Film Festival, … Continue reading “The universal appeal of ‘See The Light’”

Film & TV pros share expertise at ‘Courier 12’

’BlacKkKlansman’ screenwriters among panelists appearing at DePaul’s all-day industry conference on Saturday, Sept. 28   DePaul University’s annual Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference will take place this Saturday, September 28, from noon to 7 p.m. in the school’s Daley Building, 247 S. State St. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For … Continue reading “Film & TV pros share expertise at ‘Courier 12’”

Cinespace sponsors 7th annual Mex Talks

Event produced by Latinos Progresando spotlights culture and contributions of Mexico and Mexican-Americans   Latinos Progresando — a Chicago community development organization working on the issues of immigration, peace, health, and education — yesterday presented MEX talks, an exciting speaker showcase featuring a panel of Mexican-American filmmakers, authors, politicians, activists, and media personalities who delivered … Continue reading “Cinespace sponsors 7th annual Mex Talks”

ChiFilmFest unveils Industry Days agenda

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

ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs

“Knives Out” starring Daniel Craig among first round of films announced for 55th run, October 16-27 Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival, today announced titles selected for the Galas and Special Presentations programs for the 55th edition of the Festival. Offering movie lovers a first look at the year’s most highly … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs”

Chance the Rapper’s lawyer among Billboard’s best

Swanson, Martin & Bell partner Jeffrey S. Becker earns spot on 2019’s Top Music Lawyers List Billboard Magazine has named Jeffrey S. Becker to its 2019 Top Music Lawyers list. Becker is partner and chair of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group This prestigious list honors prominent music attorneys from … Continue reading “Chance the Rapper’s lawyer among Billboard’s best”

The 10th annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival

Weekend-long cultural event opens September 19 with a red-carpet screening of “The Last Color” at Spertus Institute An amazing lineup of films surrounding South Asian culture will be screened at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF). Celebrating 10 years, CSAFF is the largest film festival of its kind in the Midwest, taking place from … Continue reading “The 10th annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival”

New Fox drama series to film at Cinespace

“neXt” — a modern-day series about technology run amok — will start shooting in Chicago this Fall Cinespace Chicago Film Studios announced today that Fox’s new American drama series, neXt, will film at its West Side campus this fall. The studio announces the news less than 24 hours after unveiling its 2019 production schedule, adding … Continue reading “New Fox drama series to film at Cinespace”

Cinespace announces 2019 production lineup

The largest film studio in the Midwest prepares for a busy season of hit shows with 13 new interns Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, based on the west side of Chicago, and currently the second-largest film studio in the country, welcomes back many popular series and announces several new television shows now filming at its campuses. … Continue reading “Cinespace announces 2019 production lineup”

Milos Stehlik, 1949-2019

Windy City film legend founded Facets Chicago, “a temple of great cinema” Chicago film legend Milos Stehlik passed at his home in Lincoln Park on Saturday, July 6. The 70-year-old founder of Facets Chicago died after a six-month battle with lung cancer. Besides founding the internationally celebrated cultural institution, Stehlik was also a frequent guest … Continue reading “Milos Stehlik, 1949-2019”

The African Diaspora International Film Festival

The celebration that inspires imaginations, disrupts stereotypes, and guides attitudes toward justice plays at Facets June 21 through 27 The 17th annual African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will run from June 21 to 27 at Chicago’s Facets Cinematheque (1517 W. Fullerton Ave.). Established in 1993, the ADIFF is a minority-led, not-for profit international gala … Continue reading “The African Diaspora International Film Festival”

Mark Androw receives AICP’s highest honor

The legendary Chicago producer and entrepreneur was presented with the Jay B. Eisenstat Award during last night’s AICP Show in NYC STORY co-founder and Executive Producer Mark Androw received the Jay B. Eisenstat Award at last night’s AICP Show in New York City. Almost single-handedly responsible for making AICP one of the most effective and … Continue reading “Mark Androw receives AICP’s highest honor”

Filmscape Chicago open for registration

The gear and education expo brings equipment expertise, and community together at Cinespace on September 7-8 A portion of the curriculum for this year’s Filmscape Chicago was announced today, and if registration goes anything like the event’s predecessor, classes are going to fill up quickly. Although technically an inaugural run, Filmscape is actually an updated … Continue reading “Filmscape Chicago open for registration”

Gentleman Jack, Codeblack get reel at Park West

Winner of national competition will receive $10,000 and an opportunity to screen at the American Black Film Festival Last week, Gentleman Jack Double Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey partnered with Codeblack Entertainment at the Park West to showcase the creativity and talent of rising Chicago Black filmmakers. Award-winning actor, producer and writer Omari Hardwick, who appears on … Continue reading “Gentleman Jack, Codeblack get reel at Park West”

Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley

The woman who helped Illinois make hundreds of TV shows and generate $2.5 billion in revenue talks about the ever-changing Midwestern filmscape Christine Dudley joined the Illinois Film Office at the exact time when the Illinois Film Office needed Christine Dudley. Combining exceptional legislative knowledge with a “modest background in production,” she helped guide the … Continue reading “Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley”

2019 CineYouth audience and jury awards

”No Such Sunrise” and “Mad Lib Pixie Dream Girl” earn top honors from passionate global audience CineYouth Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced award winners for the 2019 program that was held April 26-28 at the Music Box Theatre. No Such Sunrise — by 22 year olds Dana Brandes-Simon, Laura Li, and Cella Wright from Oberlin, … Continue reading “2019 CineYouth audience and jury awards”

Amazon to film ‘On The Spectrum’ at Cinespace

Coming-of-age comedic drama follows the lives of three roommates on the autism spectrum who are “striving for the same things that we all desire” Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, one of the largest film studios in the country, based on the west side of Chicago announced a deal with Amazon Studios to begin filming the half-hour … Continue reading “Amazon to film ‘On The Spectrum’ at Cinespace”

Ton-Essa La’Rocque: model, creator, entrepreneur

The multi-faceted Loudbyte co-founder describes her inspiring journey from Ford model to content-rocking entrepreneur After graduating from UMBC, Ton­Essa pursued professional modeling and on-camera commercial work with Ford Models. Through her unique experiences both behind and in­front of the lens, she’s developed a fresh, unique and innovative style. Eight years at the forefront of Loudbyte … Continue reading “Ton-Essa La’Rocque: model, creator, entrepreneur”

Cinespace donates $25K to educational foundation

Chicago Film Studio’s generosity honors a tradition of community support established by Cinespace Founder, “Uncle” Nick Mirkopoulos Cinespace Chicago Film Studios will donate $25,000 to enable Greek schools to modernize curriculum and enhance student participation, as announced by the Chicago Greektown Educational Fund (CGEF). The announcement renews support from CGEF’s “Nick Mirkopoulos Scholarship” partner one … Continue reading “Cinespace donates $25K to educational foundation”

Reel Women: Sarah Uchison, advertising pro

The creative star from OKRP talks about life, career, and the “uniquely powerful feeling of woman-ness” Sarah Uchison is an Associate Creative Director at O’Keefe, Reinhard & Paul in Chicago. Since graduating from DePaul with a BA in Advertising, she’s made a name for herself at shops like Upshot, Leo Burnett and We Are Unlimited, … Continue reading “Reel Women: Sarah Uchison, advertising pro”

Travis Life joins Swanson, Martin & Bell

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces the arrival of Entertainment and Media Law Partner Travis W. Life to the firm’s Chicago office. Travis was formerly a partner at Leavens Strand & Glover LLC in Chicago. He represents artists and art-related businesses in drafting and negotiating entertainment agreements, managing intellectual property and litigating complex matters. He … Continue reading “Travis Life joins Swanson, Martin & Bell”

Filmscape to keep Chicago production “on the forefront”

The two-day September event will feature more of what made its predecessor a success, plus a few new things Filmscape Chicago is a two-day, pro-level series of equipment demos, state-of-the-art training, and speakers happening at Cinespace Studios over the weekend of September 7th and 8th. Although technically an inaugural run, Filmscape is actually an enhanced … Continue reading “Filmscape to keep Chicago production “on the forefront””

The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival

The two-week event launches on March 28 with Icían Bollaín’s “Yuli” followed by a “Noche Cubana” celebration The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will take place March 28-April 11 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. and will feature over 100 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and … Continue reading “The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival”

The future of the Illinois film industry looks brighter

How Cinespace President Alex Pissios, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor J.B. Pritzker, and State Senator Elgie Sims plan to keep a good thing growing   Industry leaders and film professionals gathered to hear Governor Pritzker, Mayor Emanuel, and Senator Elgie Sims Jr. shine some reassurance on the future of Chicago’s film industry during a press conference … Continue reading “The future of the Illinois film industry looks brighter”

Reel Black List: Chakka Reeves, creative producer, mentor

The versatile pro has a proven knack for making an impact on film sets as well as classrooms Chakka Reeves is a creative producer, coach, and workforce development specialist who has been mentoring young artists and producing films for more than a dozen years. The corporations, institutions, and organizations that have benefitted from Chakka’s full … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Chakka Reeves, creative producer, mentor”

Mark Androw’s post-AICP agenda

The recently retired AICP/Midwest President keeps busy with the organization, the industry, and STORY Mark Androw had a truly unique experience at the AICP Show last November. For the first time in more than a decade, he enjoyed the open bars, designer cuisine, and fancy couture without handling any responsibilities. “I got to see what … Continue reading “Mark Androw’s post-AICP agenda”

Ebert sends Black female storytellers to Sundance

Tiffany Walden, Niani Scott, and Whitney Spencer navigate the fast-paced, deadline-driven world of film review Three Chicago-based African American women storytellers with experience in documentary film, multimedia journalism and cultural research are attending the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Jan. 24 – Feb. 2 on a coveted Roger Ebert Fellowship, Rogerebert.com announced Tuesday. The workshop, established … Continue reading “Ebert sends Black female storytellers to Sundance”

Chicago Latino Film Fest unveils poster for 35th run

Rome-based Polish artist Michal Tadeusz Golanski’s design celebrates women’s contribution to the art form   The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), is proud to announce the winner of the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival Poster Contest: Rome-based Polish graphic artist Michal Tadeusz Golanski. A graduate … Continue reading “Chicago Latino Film Fest unveils poster for 35th run”

Local 476 elections reflect unprecedented growth

The Studio Mechanics’ record-setting year is is complemented by growing diversity in leadership and membership The Chicago Studio Mechanics Union Local 476, a chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), designated more than a dozen officers, board members, and trustees after tallying the votes of its December 10 election. Returning to positions … Continue reading “Local 476 elections reflect unprecedented growth”

‘Ginger’ director completes film despite cancer diagnosis

Many parts of the film are taken from co-director Melissa Boratyn’s life or reflect struggles facing young adults fighting cancer Chicago-based filmmaker Melissa Boratyn and her husband Jimmy Boratyn co-directed a feature film, titled Ginger. The film was inspired by Melissa’s first fight with breast cancer that began in 2011. After three years of remission … Continue reading “‘Ginger’ director completes film despite cancer diagnosis”

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”

‘Olympia’ at Chicago Comedy Film Festival

“Olympia” received rave reviews at the Chicago Int’l Film Fest and is the latest from Chicago’s growing film community (Chicago, IL — 23 October 2018) Right off of a successful three-screening run at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival, Cow Lamp Films announce the film Olympia to screen for college audiences at the upcoming Chicago … Continue reading “‘Olympia’ at Chicago Comedy Film Festival”

Rhea + Kaiser hires two and promotes one

It’s been a busy month for the slightly rebellious and fully-integrated agency in the suburbs (Naperville, IL — 26 October 2018) Rhea + Kaiser (R+K) welcomes the addition of Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland and Media Assistant Melissa Sears. The hiring comes just weeks after the agency promoted Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor. An alumni … Continue reading “Rhea + Kaiser hires two and promotes one”

Cinespace donates studio set to Whitney Young’s Dub TV

The new Dub TV studio set includes elements of Cookie’s bedroom from season one of the hit show “Empire”   Whitney M. Young Magnet High School’s Dub TV Studio received a major upgrade yesterday when Cinespace Chicago Film Studios donated a new set to the show that is created by students of the West Side … Continue reading “Cinespace donates studio set to Whitney Young’s Dub TV”

WTTW explores Chicago art and design history

New four-part series expores the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Black Metropolis of Art, adverting and outdoor murals (Chicago — 18 September 2018) WTTW, as a part of the yearlong Art Design Chicago initiative, is developing a new four-part documentary series and website in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art. ART & DESIGN IN CHICAGO … Continue reading “WTTW explores Chicago art and design history”

Stamp collecting thrills in Chi-made ‘Freaks & Errors’

With self-deprecating enthusiasm, the cast wields a “Best in Show” kind of charisma that includes all of the fun and none of the flaws Freaks & Errors: A Rare Collection is a documentary that follows a diverse and global group of people who are spellbound by the “all-consuming influence” of philately, also known as stamp … Continue reading “Stamp collecting thrills in Chi-made ‘Freaks & Errors’”

Barbizon leads CineTech’s all-day educational program

“We’ve got the vendors and we’ve got the new toys, but we’re also sponsoring a lot of classes.” —Ned McGregor, Barbizon As a presenting sponsor of next week’s CineTech event at Cinespace Studios, Barbizon Lighting Company intends to provide attendees with one of the industry’s most valuable resources: knowledge. “The goal of this thing is … Continue reading “Barbizon leads CineTech’s all-day educational program”

Chi-made “Olympia” at Chicago Int’l Film Fest

McKenzie Chinn’s “beautifully complicated” feature arrives onscreen with help from notable industry vets and indie distributor Cow Lamp Films The 2018 Chicago International Film Festival “Sneak Peek” has just been announced and Chicago’s very own filmmaker and actress McKenzie Chinn is making headlines with her writing and feature film debut Olympia at this year’s fest, … Continue reading “Chi-made “Olympia” at Chicago Int’l Film Fest”

CineTech returns to Cinespace in September

The Midwest’s biggest film and television production event will feature guest speakers, comprehensive courses, and access to vendor products Barbizon Chicago presents CineTech 2018, the Midwest’s premier education event for film and television lighting and support, on September 8 at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Sponsored by IATSE Local 476, DePaul University, and Cinelease Chicago, the … Continue reading “CineTech returns to Cinespace in September”

“All the Queen’s Horses” coming to Netflix on July 10

  Award-winning documentary explores how Rita Crundwell stole millions from Dixon, Illinois   (Chicago — 27 June 2018) Kartemquin Films and Helios Digital Learning are pleased to announce that director Kelly Richmond Pope’s award-winning documentary, All The Queen’s Horses, will be available to stream on Netflix from Tuesday, July 10. All The Queen’s Horses tells … Continue reading ““All the Queen’s Horses” coming to Netflix on July 10″

The African Diaspora International Film Festival

The “most thought-provoking program to date in the Windy City” will light up Facets Cinematheque June 8-14, 2018   New York — 14 May 2018 To celebrate its 16th Anniversary in Chicago, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) — hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productionsts from June 8 to 14 — … Continue reading “The African Diaspora International Film Festival”

Reel Women: Jacquelyn Jamjoom, Executive Producer

Jacquelyn Jamjoom is a film and television producer serving as Executive Producer of Chicago based film production company Digital Hydra. At Digital Hydra, Jacquelyn has produced internationally renowned TV series’, feature films, music videos and commercial content for brands such as McDonalds, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks and Facebook. Jacquelyn also serves as contract producer and … Continue reading “Reel Women: Jacquelyn Jamjoom, Executive Producer”

Female-led “Range Runners” films in IL this summer

Fatal Funnel Films announces cast for upcoming thriller   Actors from Chicago’s hottest shows to perform in inaugural feature shooting in Shawnee National Forest and nearby Carbondale     (Chicago — 7 May 2018) Fatal Funnel Films, an Illinois-based independent film company, today announces the complete cast and production team of their inaugural feature film, … Continue reading “Female-led “Range Runners” films in IL this summer”

R+K welcomes six new staffers and promotes one

(Naperville, IL — 10 April 2018) Rhea + Kaiser (R+K) announces the addition of three new Account Management + Planning staff, two Public Relations team members, one Creative designer, and promotes one. Grace Morgan comes to R+K as an Assistant Account Manager, Account Management + Planning. Grace provides daily client communications, timeline planning and coordinates … Continue reading “R+K welcomes six new staffers and promotes one”

Reel Women: Marina Killion, Audio Engineer

Marina Killion is an accomplished audio engineer based in Chicago. She has been at Optimus for nine years, where she is currently Senior Audio Engineer. She does everything from sound design, dialog editing, Foley, ADR, to final mix. Marina has a background in classical music performance, studying Sound Recording Technology at DePaul University. She has … Continue reading “Reel Women: Marina Killion, Audio Engineer”

Free Spirit moves the filmmakers of the future

Industry experts advise future filmmakers that “antagonists are not totally bad” and “people in Hollywood don’t read.” Six young filmmakers presented movie concepts to a panel of industry experts during Free Spirit Media’s pitch night at the film incubator Stage 18 last Thursday night. They spoke one at a time, clicking through slide shows on … Continue reading “Free Spirit moves the filmmakers of the future”

CLFF launches April 5 with “Night of Puerto Rico”

The Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will launch its 34th annual celebration with a “Night of Puerto Rico” gala on Thursday, April 5. The event begins with a pair of highly anticipated film premieres at AMC River East and continues with a cocktail reception at nearby Chez, 247 E. Ontario. Raúl Marchand Sánchez’s new comedy, … Continue reading “CLFF launches April 5 with “Night of Puerto Rico””

The Reel Chicago Black List: Patrick Wimp, filmmaker

Patrick is the first MFA graduate from DePaul University Digital Cinema. Throughout his career, he has written and produced films, commercials, and TV series all over the world. Pat is the co-founder and owner of Digital Hydra, an Emmy award-winning production company that has crafted commercial and creative content for a variety of major brands … Continue reading “The Reel Chicago Black List: Patrick Wimp, filmmaker”

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

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

Latino film fest poster is an artistic breakthrough

The 34th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival poster is a testament to the universal power of art. Featuring a strip of film that runs like a sidewalk through a broken wall in a mountainous desert, the poster’s fresco style illustration communicates the same message that the event has made obvious for decades: Latin culture rocks. … Continue reading “Latino film fest poster is an artistic breakthrough”

Chicagoans shine at Golden Globes

Chicago-born Frances McDormand, Highland Park’s Rachel Brosnahan and Oprah Winfrey stood out in a sea of black dresses which symbolized the #Metoo #Timesup movements by women in Hollywood during the 75th Golden Globes. McDormand was named “Best Actress in a Drama” for her portrayal of a woman who demands justice in the excellent Three Billboards … Continue reading “Chicagoans shine at Golden Globes”

Recent promotions and hires at Ora and ELIAS

Ora Interactive promotes Nieman to CSO and hires Wesolowski as Director of Experience Design Chicago-based interactive agency Ora Interactive has named Andrew Nieman Chief Strategy Officer. As Ora’s Director of Business Development over the past three-and-a-half years, Nieman was a key asset to securing partnerships with the likes of Chervon, InterPark and Southeastern Grocers. Along … Continue reading “Recent promotions and hires at Ora and ELIAS”

1:53 p.m. — Alex Pissios, Cinespace President

Alex Pissios just finished giving a tour to a group of people who do not seem to be directly connected to the film industry. That’s fine with him. “My Uncle Nick was big on giving back to the neighborhood,” Pissios explains. “He used to tell me that, ‘these people have lived here a long time. … Continue reading “1:53 p.m. — Alex Pissios, Cinespace President”

Travis Life appointed partner at LSG

National entertainment law firm Leavens, Strand & Glover announced today that Travis Life has been named a partner in the Chicago office. Life represents artists and arts-related businesses in drafting and negotiating entertainment agreements, managing intellectual property, and in litigating complex matters. He handles the formation of a variety of multimedia entities, including music marketing … Continue reading “Travis Life appointed partner at LSG”

Promotions and appointments at Cutters Studios

Award-winning production and post facility Cutters Studios hired or promoted a trio of talented women within the ranks of its Chicago office over the summer. Associate Producer Natalie Stone graduated from Columbia College in 2013 with a degree in Post Production and several credits — including producer, editor and director — on the award-winning documentary … Continue reading “Promotions and appointments at Cutters Studios”

New TNT show scheduled to film at Cinespace this fall

During an exclusive conversation with ReelChicago yesterday, Cincespace CEO Alex Pissios informed publisher Barbara Roche and editor Daniel Patton that the pilot for TNT’s The Deep Mad Dark will begin production at the Chicago studio this fall.

“They’re moving into offices September 11, shooting in October,” he said. “It’s a done deal.”

VP/CD Vos among recent hires and promotions at R+K

Naperville-based Rhea + Kaiser has been keeping more than busy this summer. The full service marketing agency announced a pair of promotions and a pair of new hires in July.

Jack Vos was appointed to vice president, creative director last week. The versatile veteran gained experience the old-fashioned way with Eiseman Johns and Law at the beginning of his career, where his duties as a junior art director included running the mount room.

Optimus CD and effects artist cut into new roles

Production and post house Optimus announced the promotions of Mark Butchko to Creative Director and Jim Moss to Effects Artist.

In their new roles, Butchko will provide creative leadership on all design department projects and Moss will continue to support cross-departmental projects including design, VFX, motion graphics and finishing.

Optimus Audio promotes Marina Bacci, Ben Treimer

Chicago production and post house Optimus dialed up its sonic capabilities by promoting Marina Bacci to Senior Audio Engineer and Ben Treimer to Audio Engineer last week.

Highland Park native Marina joined Optimus as an intern shortly after graduating from DePaul University with a BS in Sound Recording Technology in 2008. Within nine years, her responsibilities had grown to include running the main audio studio and overseeing the audio department.

“Drive Slow” preview at Free Spirit Media’s Focus event

Free Spirit Media’s Focus event at The Ivy Room on May 31 will feature “a lot of people and a chance to get together and reflect on a great year,” says Chelsea Corbin, FSM’s development & communication manager.

“It’s a big celebration of media in Chicago,” she adds, “specifically, the youth voice.”

One of the greatest causes for celebration will be a sneak peak at the film series Drive Slow, which was made by ten emerging filmmakers in Free Spirit’s Industry Pathways Certification program.

Corbin describes the group as “super talented.”

Multi-talented Jin’s comedy sitcom premieres Jan. 22

THE FIRST SEASON of “Chop Chop TV Show,” a comedy sitcom with a realty show feel, created and produced by Meiling Jin of Studio Meiling Productions in the South Loop, is now seen on Comcast, Xfinity, Wow and RCN broadcast systems Ch. 25 at 11 p.m. through March 9.

The series of 13 22-minute episodes, explores two Asian Millennials, Jin and DePaul student Ivy Li, navigating love, careers and the complexities of life in 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.”

MIFF to screen work of 14 fabulous Female Filmmakers

Filmmaker / editor Gail Gilbert’s short film, thriller “Democracy in the Driver’s Seat,” will be one of 14 women-made shorts showcasing at the Midwest Independent Film Festival’s annual Female Filmmakers Night, Tuesday, Aug. 2.

The distinguished filmmakers have been at their craft for many years, are producing an impressive body of work and possess a large collection of prestigious international awards.

The entries are:

Three “Chicago” series kick off fall season filming

STARTING JULY 20, Chicago’s film industry will take off like a rocket as NBC/Dick Wolf’s three primetime series — “Chicago Fire,” “PD” and “Med” — all begin shooting their new fall seasons on Cinespace stages.

By mid-September, eight TV series will be filming here. Cameras will roll for Fox TV’s hit “Empire” and new Fox entries, “The Exorcist” Aug. 3 and “ABP” Aug. 22. NBC’s “Chicago Justice” is scheduled to start for mid-September airing.

Columbia wins the most prizes at Chicago Shorts fest

Shelley LaMantia, Professional Arts Dean at State Street-based business-oriented Robert Morris University, was very pleased at the turnout Thursday night’s 4th annual Chicago Shorts Film Festival.

The festival not only attracted about 100 entries, but the screening and awards ceremony played to an SRO audience of largely college students from the Loop and beyond, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Chicago Shorts Fest aimed at Loop college students

A few years ago, Shelley LaMantia, Dean of Professional Arts at business-oriented Robert Morris University, had the idea of bringing together students who attend other Loop colleges and are housed in the Loop, to express their creativity through film.

She discussed it with RMU Chancellor Michael Viollt, who liked it and said the school should sponsor a short film festival. This was quite a departure for RMU since its visual media instruction consists of two video classes that are part of the graphic design curriculum.

Steve Conrad among TV pros at TV Awards, April 18-20

Writer/director Steve Conrad, actor Gary Cole, TV show creators and “Empire’s” key crew members will be among the TV pros holding forth on the trials and triumphs of TV show production at the Chicago International Television Awards (CITA) April 18-20 at the AMC River East 21 theatres.

This marks the first time, CITA (formerly the Hugo Awards) is expanding its single TV awards evening into a three-day event.

“Whirlwind” fall season yields good roles for actors

“A WHIRLWIND” SEASON of production – starting with a rush of commercials, four primetime network TV series, along with corporate and webs – has meant steady work for Chicago’s nationally respected talent.

“Agents have been busy overall,” notes David O’Connor of O’Connor Casting and the last month has been crazy for us, a whirlwind all year,” placing talent across the board.

Hollywood actors in Digital Hydra/Aaron’s TV pilot

Digital Hydra, LLC  partners Patrick Wimp and Hamzah Jamjoon are currently shopping their spec TV show pilot, Dine and Dash, created and hosted by Chicago comedian Matthew Aaron, host of the LA-based podcast, The Matthew Aaron Show.

Shot at trendy Beverly Hills restaurant Scarpetta, in February, it features Hollywood name actors Joe Carnahan, Kate Walsh, Common, Lucy Lawless, and Dermot Mulroney.

Doc about ex-basketball star’s comeback debuts 7/11

“I don’t know if many people could handle what he did and still be as adjusted and comfortable as he is,” Thatcher Kamin says of Ronnie Fields.

“Every day he’s asked the same question, ‘Hey, whatever happened to you?’  His life hadn’t ended at 18.”

Kamin tries to answer everyone’s questions about former Farragut Academy basketball wunderkind Fields in his new online documentary, “Bounce Back: The Ronnie Fields Story,” which debuts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at Park Community Church, 1001 N. Crosby, with Fields in attendance.

Hear great screenwriters at free Saturday conference

Want to attend a workshop with the Academy Award nominated screenwriter for Beasts of the Southern Wild? How about the guy who wrote the Back to the Future movies? Or people who have written for some of TV’s top shows?

Then head over to DePaul University’s Page One Entertainment Writing Conference this Saturday, April 20. It’s free. Yes, free. And open to the public.

The conference is the brain child of Kristen Jo Benedyk, chair of the screenwriting program at DePaul’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media. 

New Film Institute offers hands-on production training

Brent Kado and Emile Cambry, Jr. have set out to bring film education in Chicago a combination of innovation, flexibility and affordability that they say it needs.

They’ve launched the Chicago Film Institute, a non-academic program that offers intensive, hands-on production courses to “fill needs that traditional institutions are missing, such as cost-effective instruction, real-world applications and accessible education to individuals from all backgrounds,” says Kado. 

Big Deahl signs Midwest sales rep Nathan Skillicorn

Master tabletop director/shooter David Deahl may travel the world on assignment, but when it comes to representation, “We wanted someone local,” says executive producer Rosemary Deahl. “Clients like to have that up close and personal connection with the company they give the job to.” 

Catfish’s Boyle marks 20 years in commercial music

Jeff Boyle of Catfish Music in River North remembers Chicago’s thriving commercial scoring business when he started out 20 years ago as a composer and how he has been part of the change. 

“I landed in the eye of the storm at Com/track, which was scoring a lot of McDonalds and beers and airlines and the best thing was working at Chicago Recording and seeing the musicians and singers coming in and out the door,” Boyle says. 

Playwright Saracho wins Sundance Theatre Lab slot

IT’S PROBABLY SAFE TO SAY that Mexican-born, Chicago-based playwright Tanya Saracho has emerged. She adds another impressive notch to her professional belt by being selected as a member of the 2012 Theatre Lab at Sundance Institute.

Saracho is in residence through July working on her play Song for the Disappeared, directed by Octavio Solis. It continues the theme of crime cartels in Mexico introduced in El Nogalar and is the second piece in her planned “Border Trilogy.”

‘Wedding Crashers’ writer sued over pilot script

What Imran Mukati wanted from Wedding Crashers writer Steve Faber was the script for a TV pilot: a “Sex and the City for guys” inspired by the dating experiences of Mukati and his friends. 

What Mukati got for his $75,000, according to a suit filed in federal court, was nothing.

Mukati, 32, filed the civil suit Jan. 23 in California Central District Court, Western Division in Los Angeles. 

Well-deserved grants to three worthy arts companies

YEAR’S END always brings accolades in the form of always-welcome grants, and there are three to acknowledge, starting with the generosity of The Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Charitable Foundation.

The Meier Foundation, which quietly has been making substantial no-strings-attached gifts to mid-career artists for the past six years, announced the three 2011 recipients. They are:

Ex-Marine cops top prize in Screenwriters’ contest

Winner of the grand prize of the recent Chicago Screenwriters Network’s third annual script contest was former U.S. Marine, Adedapo Akisanya, for his drama, Beneath the Rock.

He was one of 15 gold, silver and bronze winners in the categories of horror, family, comedy, action and drama.

Akisanya’s prizes were $500 cash, a six-month script listing on InkTip and having Hollywood production companies, agencies and managers consider his screenplay.

Writer/director Jamal’s music drama about a ‘90s band

SMASHED! A short film by writer/director Theophilus Jamal, about a band struggling to stay together during the changing Chicago alternative rock music scene in the ‘90s starts production Sept. 23 on a micro-budget.

Producers are Jamal’s Hipsters Union Productions and Kristine Kruse’s Red 27 Productions.  Jamal is a second year DePaul graduate student and Kruse is an MFA graduate student in DePaul’s Digital Cinema school. 

Filmmaker Niko Franghias revives Greek Film Festival

Greeks in Chicago — the third largest Greek population in the world, with an estimated 450,000 and second only to New York’s 500,000 –- celebrate their culture with a variety of festivals from January through November.  

One cultural event that’s been absent for a while is a film festival, and that will be rectified Sept. 29-Oct. 2 with the first FilmHellenes/Greek Film Fest Chicago! 

Heartwarming message in prize winning “Fancypants”

To the surprise — and total delight – of the Humble Pie Films’ producers, their low-budget indie Fancypants, was a hit right out of the gate.  At its first festival entry, it won Best Feature, the top prize from the Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Fla., in April. 

The comedy/drama is the redemptive story of wrestling legend, Leo the Blue Lion, at the end of his once vibrant career.  One day Leo learns the only fan he has left is an 11-year old boy. 

June 18 first Superman movie extras casting call

An extras casting call, starting Saturday, June 18, is out loud and clear for Warner Bros. new Superman movie, Man of Steel, that starts shooting in the western suburbs and Chicago Aug. 22 for a reported 10 weeks.  

Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead) is the director and playing Clark Kent/Superman is English heartthrob Henry Cavill (The Tudors).  Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play young Clark’s parents. 

Nov. 17 AICP meeting to discuss new agreement

PRIOR TO THE NOV. 18 AICP SHOW, a general membership meeting will convene Nov. 17 at Fletcher Cameras. AICP president Matt Miller and AICP VP/labor relations Jane Nunez from New York will discuss the new IATSE national agreement that went into effect Nov. 1 and how it affects commercial production.

“The meeting is open to all interested parties,” says Mark Androw, who was recently officially elected president of the AICP Midwest Chapter. Meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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.

WIFC’s Focus Award honors Merri Dee

WOMEN IN FILM has made a righteous choice to honor broadcast trailblazer, talk show host, news anchor and community activist Merri Dee as its 2010 Focus Award honoree.

Dee has parlayed her celebrity into many children’s and educational charitable works. She spearheaded Illinois’ victims rights’ legislation after she and one of her talk show guests had been kidnapped, driven to a wooded area, shot twice in the head and left for dead, in 1971.

After retiring from WGN-TV in 2008 after 30 years, Dee formed full-service MD Communications.

Lucky numbers for Daufenbach Camera

Almost a year after he started renting cameras in Logan Square, cinematographer Lawrence Daufenbach has expanded his business into a West Loop storefront at 1111 W. Randolph, an address that’s sure to bring him luck.

Three win ?Looking for Democracy’ contest

A short film examining the issues of free speech while chronicling a veteran’s protest to a flag hung upside down, won the grand prize in the 2010 Illinois Humanities Council’s second annual “Looking for Democracy” contest.

Theophilus Jamal an actor, filmmaker and master’s candidate at DePaul’s Digital Cinema program, creatively answered the contest’s question: “Where do you see democracy in your life?”

Jamal’s top prize entry, “American Flag,” and the two other winners will screen at a May 3 awards presentation and panel discussion at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema.