FACETS: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Memoria, and Happening

FACETS presents encore in-person screenings of Everything Everywhere All At Once (June 4-5), Memoria (June 18-19), and Happening (June 25-26) along with special film series happening all month. Screenings take place at FACETS (1517 W. Fullerton). Tickets can be purchased in advance through FACETS website and are $12/General Admission and $10/FACETS Members.  ENCORE SCREENINGSEverything Everywhere All At Once – June 4-5, 2022The latest film from Daniel Kwan and … Continue reading “FACETS: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Memoria, and Happening”

FACETS 47th Anniversary Celebration packed with special features

FACETS announces May 2022 programming for their 47th Anniversary Celebration packed with special features. The program will include a special screening of Steve James’ Life Itself (2014) and three film series championing FACETS’ and the wider Chicago independent film community’s legacy, including Milos’s Picks, Kartemquin Films X Full Spectrum Features, and FACETS Label Presents: Real Chicago. FACETS’ Executive Director Karen Cardarelli said, “FACETS celebrates … Continue reading “FACETS 47th Anniversary Celebration packed with special features”

FACETS celebrates Halfway to Halloween with a weekend of horror flicks

In celebration of Halfway to Halloween, the halfway point to all things scary, FACETS has selected five films for audiences to satisfy their craving for spooky cinema on the big screen.  Screening at FACETS (1517 W Fullerton Ave) April 28-May 1, 2022, Halfway to Halloween features Rusty Cundieff’s Tales from the Hood (April 28), a double feature of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse (April 29), … Continue reading “FACETS celebrates Halfway to Halloween with a weekend of horror flicks”

FACETS announces ‘A Tribute to Sidney Poitier’ series screening

FACETS’ 2022 special cinema programs continue with a series paying tribute to the career of legendary performer Sidney Poitier. Celebrate the life of the icon with four films that helped define his status as Hollywood’s first Black leading man, programmed by FACETS Film Program Director, Charles Coleman. Mr. Poitier’s legacy as one of the iconic screen figures of the Civil Rights … Continue reading “FACETS announces ‘A Tribute to Sidney Poitier’ series screening”

FACETS announces submissions are now open for CICFF39

FACETS Chicago International Children’s Film Festival announces that submissions are now open for CICFF39. CICFF is the first Academy-qualifying children’s film festival in the world. The festival presents the best, most innovative international films for kids and teens, seeking out films that both entertain audiences and challenge them to widen their perspectives. CICFF invites film submissions … Continue reading “FACETS announces submissions are now open for CICFF39”

FACETS 38th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest

FACETS 38th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), one of only two Academy Award qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world, presented from Friday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov.14.  FACETS is pleased to offer limited in-person screenings as well as the entire festival available via national streaming. The in-person screenings will take place at FACETS, 1517 W. … Continue reading “FACETS 38th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest”

FACETS announces late night series: Alternative Horror Essentials

FACETS, newly reopened and welcoming back the Chicago film community, will present a new late night screening series starting Thursday, October 7, 2021.  The series comes just in time for Halloween, starting off with an Alternative Horror Essentials program featuring 5 films. Tickets cost $5/person for each show, and FACETS Members get in free to the first two … Continue reading “FACETS announces late night series: Alternative Horror Essentials”

Facets returns to in-person programming with Anne at 13,000 Ft

FACETS announced that the 46-year-old organization has selected the film Anne at 13,000 Ft. by Canadian director Kazik Radwanski to mark its long-awaited return to in-person programming, following an 18-month hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic. .  Anne at 13,000 Ft. will have its Chicago premiere from Friday, September 17 through Sunday, September 19; it will play again from … Continue reading “Facets returns to in-person programming with Anne at 13,000 Ft”

Newly renovated FACETS will reopen to in-person programming Sept 17

FACETS has announced it will return to presenting in-person programming on Friday, September 17 while simultaneously screening virtual cinema.  Since FACETS suspended its in-person screenings in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned to online film programming, select areas within the venue have changed their function and/or have been upgraded to reintroduce it as a dynamic … Continue reading “Newly renovated FACETS will reopen to in-person programming Sept 17”

Facets hires Karen Cardarelli as Executive Director

The Facets Board of Directors is very happy to announce its new Executive Director, Karen Cardarelli, Co-Founder and former Executive Director of the Emerald City Theatre. The appointment concludes a six-month search for the successor to Milos Stehlik, Facets’ founder and long-time Executive Director who passed away in July 2019. “Karen Cardarelli brings a wealth … Continue reading “Facets hires Karen Cardarelli as Executive Director”

Facets announces Children’s Film Fest winners

Ainslie Henderson’s ‘Archie’ wins Best of Fest; Jerome Boulbes’ ‘The Bridge and the Brogs,’ wins Milos Stehlik Award Facets’ 36th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival hosted its Closing Night Ceremony on November 10, 2019 at Facets (1517 W Fullerton), to celebrate the award winning films selected by the Festival’s juries. The Festival awards over 30 … Continue reading “Facets announces Children’s Film Fest winners”

Facets introduces ‘Milos Stehlik Global Impact Award’

Nonprofit film org will honor the life of its founder during the annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Facets’ 36th annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is dedicated to the memory of Milos Stehlik, founder and executive director of Facets, who passed away this July. Milos had a dream that film, the most powerful communications … Continue reading “Facets introduces ‘Milos Stehlik Global Impact Award’”

Facets announces Children’s Film Fest schedule

Breathtaking in their beauty, the program selections offer kids and teens the opportunity to engage Facets’ 36th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival will present an Official Selection of 248 films from 49 countries from November 1 – 10, 2019 at Facets, Music Box Theatre, Davis Theater, University of Chicago: Reva and David Logan Center … Continue reading “Facets announces Children’s Film Fest schedule”

Werner Herzog to lead Master Class at Facets

Legendary director will discuss his career, philosophy, and approach to filmmaking Facets Chicago will present a master class with acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. With a body of work that spans over five decades and is still growing, Herzog has cemented his legacy as not only a trailblazer of … Continue reading “Werner Herzog to lead Master Class at Facets”

Facets’ 2nd Annual Religion in the Frame Film Festival

Screenings of “First Reformed” and “The Passion of Joan of Arc” are among the week-long program’s scheduled events Facets will explore the meaning of faith through the medium of film at the 2nd Annual Religion in the Frame Film Festival, February 22 – 28. With more than half-a-dozen screenings, the series will explore religious ideas, … Continue reading “Facets’ 2nd Annual Religion in the Frame Film Festival”

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”

Oscar-winner Friedkin to host Facets Film Summit

Chicago Public School students get a free master class from the director of “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” (Chicago — 4 October 2018) Facets will present their second Chicago Film Summit on Friday, October 12, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613). … Continue reading “Oscar-winner Friedkin to host Facets Film Summit”

Facets premiering Wilmette filmmaker’s first feature

Wilmette writer / director / cameraman, Sam Kretchmar just wanted to make something to keep his creative juices flowing. His writing partner and producer, Michael Covino, wanted to make the “the greatest movie ever.”

Last year the duo produced the feature drama, “Keep in Touch,” Kretchmar’s directorial debut, that is currently enjoying a week-long, paid Chicago premiere at Facets Cinematheque.

Facets May 1 gala benefits 30 years of kids film fest

Thirty years ago, Milos Stehlik was scrambling to find good children’s films. The not-for-profit he cofounded in 1975, Facets Multimedia, was running a program of screenings for kids in the city and suburbs. After about eight years though, Stehlik found that they had pretty much run through the available children’s films.

So he decided to broaden his horizons, and look to other countries – especially Scandinavia – where filmmakers were using public investment to do some remarkable work making quality children’s live action and animated films.

IFP/Chicago screens Gildhaus’ doc at Facets

LISA GILDHAUS on March 15 presents her feature documentary “Almost Home,” about an innovative Milwaukee retirement community.

St. John’s on the Lake is “where residents mingle for afternoon cocktails, choose their own daily schedules, and pursue hobbies like woodworking and playing bridge.”

Gildhaus co-directed with Andrew Lichtenstein. Presented by IFP/Chicago at Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. Gildhaus conducts a workshop at 6 p.m., screenings at 7 p.m. $5; members free.


Stephens’ “Conventioneers” at Facets Feb. 15

“CONVENTIOEERS” ACTORS Trevor Murphy and Alek Freidman conduct a workshop Feb. 15 before the film plays in the IFP/Chicago Meet the Filmmakers Series.

Mora Stephens directed from a script she wrote with producer/editor Joel Viertel, about a delegate and a protester who rekindle a failed romance from their school days at Dartmouth.

Shot against the backdrop of the 2004 RNC, “Conventioneers” premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival and is nominated for a John Cassavetes Award from the Independent Spirit Awards.

Olken’s human trafficking expos? in
debut feature “Slave” at Facets

Erinn Strain stars in Noel Olken’s “Slave,” Nov. 12 at Facets

The Colonie welcomes Zach Day as Producer/New Business

Award-winning post-production studio The Colonie has hired Zach Day as Producer/New Business. Day brings more than fifteen years of ad agency experience, most recently as a Senior Producer at Leo Burnett. In his new role, Day will focus on developing business and forging agency alliances beyond the studio’s base in Chicago. The Colonie Partner/Editor Bob … Continue reading “The Colonie welcomes Zach Day as Producer/New Business”

Kwame Amoaku steps down from Film Office

This morning, Director of the Chicago Film Office, Kwame Amoaku, announced that he would be resigning from his position on Friday, June 3. He made the announcement on his Facebook page. “To Chicago Film Community I am writing this letter to inform everyone that my last day as Director of the Chicago Film Office will … Continue reading “Kwame Amoaku steps down from Film Office”

Midwest Film Festival hosts the Midwest Premiere of Code of the Freaks

Midwest Film Festival‘s (MFF) June First Tuesdays event will feature Salome Chasnoff‘s Code of the Freaks. This documentary challenges the realism of Hollywood’s portrayals of disabled people throughout decades of western filmmaking. On June 7th we hope you will join us for an important conversation and examination. The feature film will be accompanied by the … Continue reading “Midwest Film Festival hosts the Midwest Premiere of Code of the Freaks”

The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season

The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season with screenings at NEIU and the Music Box Theater throughout the summer from May 11 thru August 31. See the full schedule and ticket information below. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SEASON FROM THE CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY Sometimes it feels like the state of cinema is one last … Continue reading “The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season”

Film Office Director brutally attacked in carjacking

Kwame Amoaku, the beloved Director of the Chicago Film Office, was brutally attacked in the early hours of Thursday morning. He posted on his Facebook page that he is currently recovering in ICU. “This a.m. I was attacked beaten and my car stolen by three kids. Thanks to all who have reached out. I’m in … Continue reading “Film Office Director brutally attacked in carjacking”

Top 10 horror movies set or filmed in Chicago

Chicago has become the Hollywood of the Midwest, however, it has always been home to many incredible and entertaining stories, including horror stories. With Halloween coming up, a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday is to cozy up on the couch and binge-watch every horror film you can imagine. This is … Continue reading “Top 10 horror movies set or filmed in Chicago”

57th Chicago International Film Fest announces competition juries

The 57th Chicago International Film Festival announced the esteemed members of the juries for its competitions, featuring acclaimed filmmakers and industry luminaries from around the globe. Juries shall award Gold and Silver Hugo Awards in the following competitions: International Competition; OutLook; City & State; and Short Film Competitions.  The International Competition Jury will award the Gold Hugo … Continue reading “57th Chicago International Film Fest announces competition juries”

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills to open CIFF After Dark

The Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) announced the Opening Night After Dark feature, Halloween Kills, the new chapter in the iconic four-decade horror franchise starring Jamie Lee Curtis and co-written and directed by David Gordon Green.  In 2018, David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade … Continue reading “Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills to open CIFF After Dark”

9Rooftops welcomes Group Media Director Tim Woiten

9Rooftops recently welcomed Tim Woitkun as the company’s Group Media Director. Woitkun is responsible for overseeing the development, execution, and assessment of digital media strategies for Cogniscient Media clients such as the Maryland Lottery, Pennsylvania Lottery, Glanbia Performance Nutrition, and Qdoba. Cogniscient Media, a 9Rooftops brand, applies the best of decision science, data, innovation, and … Continue reading “9Rooftops welcomes Group Media Director Tim Woiten”

Cut+Run promotes Brian Mulvey to Senior Producer

Cut+Run’s Brian Mulvey has been promoted to Senior Producer. Known by friends, colleagues, and clients for his generosity of spirit and unflappable work ethic, Brian has produced notable projects spanning many genres, from comedy spots to music videos, feature films, and commercials. Among them, spots for Geico, Sling TV, the Grammys, and the 2020 Super … Continue reading “Cut+Run promotes Brian Mulvey to Senior Producer”

37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest

The full schedule was announced for Facets 37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF37) one of only two Academy Award-qualifying international children’s film festivals in the world. Presented this year from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22, FACETS ever-popular signature program will be presented virtually in its entirety due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Since FACETS launched the Chicago International … Continue reading “37th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Fest”

City of Chicago awards $2m in CityArts Program grants

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the recipients of the 2020 CityArts Program grants. This year, the CityArts Program is awarding general operating grants between $2,000 to $30,000 – and special project grants ranging from $2,500 to $56,200 – to 191 nonprofit organizations for a total … Continue reading “City of Chicago awards $2m in CityArts Program grants”

AMP Awards issues 2020 Call for Entries

The 2020 AMP Awards for Music & Sound is off and running! The industry’s only non-profit juried competition honoring excellence in music and sound for brands across all media has announced its Call for Entries and the opening of its online entry portal. The portal, which features an updated design for 2020, can be found … Continue reading “AMP Awards issues 2020 Call for Entries”

The biggest stories of 2019

The City of Chicago reigned supreme in 2019. Advertising agencies blended social justice with clever branding. Content creators reinforced Chicago’s reputation for inclusivity. Film studios entertained the nation while helping the local neighborhoods. And a handful of friends said goodbye. Below is a list of Reel Chicago’s top articles for 2019, separated by category and … Continue reading “The biggest stories of 2019”

‘Parasite’ tops Chicago Film Critics Awards

Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite claimed top honors at the 2019 Chicago Film Critics Awards, which were announced over the weekend. Besides winning Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, the film also claimed Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Dedicated to quality filmmaking that has something to say about our world, the Chicago Film Critics … Continue reading “‘Parasite’ tops Chicago Film Critics Awards”

Cutters signs new East & West Coast representation

Bobby Rowe and Sean C. Sullivan are the new faces in New York and LA, Collective Management remains in the Midwest The principals of international creative company Cutters Studios are very proud to announce the immediate appointment of highly accomplished industry professionals Bobby Rowe and Sean C. Sullivan as the firm’s new representatives on the … Continue reading “Cutters signs new East & West Coast representation”

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”

Chicago Critics Film Fest enjoys epic year

CFCA scores multiple sell-outs and unprecedented attendance as Chicago-made ‘Saint Frances’ wins audience fave   The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) — the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism — announced the Audience Award winners following the 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival on May 24. … Continue reading “Chicago Critics Film Fest enjoys epic year”

2019 Chicago Critics Film Festival

Highlights include 40th Anniversary screening of “Alien”, Chicago premiere of Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday”, guests Jay Duplass, Tatiana Maslany, Tom Skerritt, Jim Gaffigan The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, today announces the complete lineup, schedule and special guests expected … Continue reading “2019 Chicago Critics Film Festival”

AMP announces 2019 Curatorial Committee

Expert panel of music and advertising pros will review judging results, evaluate category winners and select “Best in Show.” The AMP Awards for Music & Sound has released the lineup for its 2019 Curatorial Committee. Selected by members of the AMP Awards Committee in consultation with AMP Awards Show Chair Katy Hornaday, EVP and Executive … Continue reading “AMP announces 2019 Curatorial Committee”

AICP Post Awards announces 2019 Curatorial Committee

The select panel of editors, colorists, visual effects artists, directors and audio mixers will ensure work meets judging criteria and select Shortlist and Best in Show Matt Miller, President and CEO of AICP, today announced the makeup of the 2019 AICP Post Awards Curatorial Committee. The AICP Post Awards, part of AICP’s suite of competitions … Continue reading “AICP Post Awards announces 2019 Curatorial Committee”

Havas Chicago adds purpose to its black coffee

An experiential coffee shop meets cultural conversation in Havas’ latest lobby installment (donuts included) Coffee is a piping hot vehicle that can showcase what many black people experience, and have experienced, in corporate America. The Havas Chicago team is at it again. Having become known for their amazing and provocative lobby installations tying into noteworthy … Continue reading “Havas Chicago adds purpose to its black coffee”

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

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

Reel Black List: Kwame Amoaku, Cinematic Samurai

Multi-faceted film pro who has collaborated with Russel Simmons and Spike Lee “would love to talk and build with Steve McQueen.” Kwame Amoaku’s vast experience as a writer / director / camera operator brings a unique vision to the cinematic experience. Combine that with years as a production manager / locations and assistant director and … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Kwame Amoaku, Cinematic Samurai”

Four Chicago Children’s Fest films earn Oscar noms

Facets’ annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival continues long tradition of programming excellence Four of the five films nominated for the Best Animated Short category at the 91st Academy Awards screened in the Official Selection at Facets’ 35th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival in 2018. The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is the first … Continue reading “Four Chicago Children’s Fest films earn Oscar noms”

AMP Awards announces 2019 call for entries

Revamped music and sound competition kicks off sixth year with discounts and new audio-only marketing category   The 2019 AMP Awards are off and running with the announcement today that its official Call for Entries portal is open and ready to accept submissions. Sponsored by the Association of Music Producers, the AMP Awards are advertising’s … Continue reading “AMP Awards announces 2019 call for entries”

Dictionary promotes Cody McGuire, adds Joe Kirkendall

The integrated house adds a pair of Senior Producers who have completed projects of all sizes for dozens of top tier brands (Chicago — 3 October 2018) Dictionary Films U.S. managing director Chris Rossiter today announced the promotion of Cody McGuire to senior producer and the addition of senior producer Joe Kirkendall to the company’s … Continue reading “Dictionary promotes Cody McGuire, adds Joe Kirkendall”

Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule

Headliners include Oscar-­winning director Steve McQueen, Emmy-­nominated writer Bashir Salahuddin, and award-­winning producers Albert Berger and Bob Teitel (Chicago — 26 September 2018) The complete program of Industry Days (Oct. 11­14) at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival was announced today with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the Midwest film … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule”

Elastic Arts premieres “spiritual vision, brutalist flesh”

“Beyond Form” is a three-part, audio-visual installation and performance series featuring Julien Bayle’s “FRGMENTS” and Kim Alpert’s “Scan Lines.”   (Chicago — 17 July 2018) On July 27, 28, and 29 Elastic Arts will present a series of intentional duality featuring Julien Bayle’s FRGMENTS [USA PREMIER] with Kim Alpert’s Scan Lines [PREMIER]. This series is … Continue reading “Elastic Arts premieres “spiritual vision, brutalist flesh””

IFP welcomes new Exec Director Gregory Collins

Raised in Kenya with over fifteen years in the film industry, Collins brings extensive experience and international perspective to organization’s future   (Chicago — 26 June 2018) IFP Chicago, a non-profit that supports filmmakers at every stage of production and presents the annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, today announces a new phase of leadership as … Continue reading “IFP welcomes new Exec Director Gregory Collins”

Creative agency Leviathan adds three new staff

President Chad Hutson, ECD Jason White, and Leviathan proudly announce the hiring of executive producer Luvy Delgado, creative director Pedro Andres Sanchez and senior motion designer Krzysztof Pianko.   Luvy Delgado comes from Ayzenberg Group in Los Angeles, where she spent two years as director of digital products, working on award-winning AR, VR and MR … Continue reading “Creative agency Leviathan adds three new staff”

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”

DDB’s Mel Routhier: From Texas intern to Chicago leader

Last month, as reported in Reel Chicago, DDB Chicago promoted Melissa “Mel” Routhier to Executive Creative Director from State Farm Group Creative Director. After spending an hour talking to the former Texan, I can see why. Routhier is funny, inspiring, passionate, and engaging. Her work for State Farm — which includes the Following campaign that … Continue reading “DDB’s Mel Routhier: From Texas intern to Chicago leader”

Women dominate latest wave of industry activity

Stacie Boney is new president of Hanson Dodge Women’s History Month starts off with big news: former Energy BBDO executive Stacie Boney has been named by Milwaukee-based Hanson Dodge as its first female president. Boney succeeds Tim Dodge, who is said to be staying with the integrated marketing agency as CEO. She came to the … Continue reading “Women dominate latest wave of industry activity”

The Reel Black List: Jonathan Desir, Executive Producer

Jonathan Desir is an Executive Producer at Optimus. He has been involved in post production for over a decade and is president of the board for Free Spirit Media as well. Jon achieved his B.A. in Psychology and minored in Business and Communication at Eastern Michigan University. Aside from studying, he was also involved with … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Jonathan Desir, Executive Producer”


NATHYN MASTERS’ guerilla style apocalyptic thriller “4th Beast: Mask of the Antichrist” has been picked up for DVD release by York Entertainment of Sherman Oaks, Calif. Masters’ Timecode Mechanics produced the DV feature last winter. Masters is in development on his followup, the martial arts pic “Silvergun Samurai,” for production next year. He’s writing a … Continue reading “WTTW0516”

Music enhances BoomThrift’s kids vitamins spot

Producer Leigh Jones seamless transition from the world of indie films to the world of advertising is demonstrated in her BoomThrift company having completed projects for two major advertisers so far this year.

Breaking the week of March 3 is a digital / social media comedy campaign for Frito-Lay’s new Funyuns onion snacks that follows a Flintstones’ vitamin spot for Energy BBDO.

City becomes a popular set for spots, films ahead

BUSY PRODUCTION IN WEEKS AHEAD on the streets of Chicago.  On the feature side: “Batman vs. Superman” moves after months in the Motor City to the Windy City and opens an office at Cinespace next week.  Shooting starts Nov. 3-14.  Scheduled locations include the farm house in Plainfield, the subway and the “Daily Planet” atrium at Willis Tower. 

AICP Show the climax of November’s many activities

11/7 GREEK FILM FESTIVAL FILM HELLENES  opens two different venues, the Patio Theatre and the Gene Siskel Film Center for the US premiere of “The Grocer.” This award-winning film by director Dimitris Koutsiabasakos will be preceded by student-filmmaker Stella Kyriakopoulos’ short, “Bob Goes to the Parthenon.” Thereafter, the festival of Greek storyteller in countries throughout the world takes place exclusively at the Patio

AICE sets Kevin Bacon films for trailer competition

AICE Chicago’s Camp Kuleshov organizers have chosen actor Kevin Bacon’s movies for the theme of the chapter’s annual movie trailer competition for assistant editors and assistant audio engineers.

Chicago-originated Camp Kuleshov, now part of AICE chapters nationwide, challenges assistants and non-assistant staff of AICE member companies to create unique trailers for “original new films,” which can be either movie mash-ups or new genres.

Energy BBDO ends 80 year Wrigley Bldg. tenure Friday

ENERGY BBDO ON FRIDAY moves out of three floors at the 410 N. Michigan Wrigley Building, after an 80 year tenancy begun by its predecessor agency, to updated new offices south across the river at 225 N. Michigan Ave.

Friday will be a work-at-home day for the agency’s 250 staffers while the physical move takes place.  On Monday they will report to their home on the entire 15th floor and part of the 14th floor of the modern glass and steel high-rise. 

McCann returns to Burnett as top recruiter

RENETTA McCANN has returned to Leo Burnett after a four year absence in the important position of US chief talent officer, overseeing all Burnett’s recruitment, training and talent management, reporting to North American president Rich Stoddart.

She replaces Jeff Tritt, EVP-people and culture, who joined Resource Interactive, Columbus, Ohio as chief talent officer.

Mike Gray here for west side fest on social justice

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

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

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

Secrets behind success docs revealed at Doc Summit

Documentary films are where the action is these days.  As features become chiefly high-concept driven comic book cartoons, the doc genre is where human stories can be told.

So the more than 100 filmmakers were told who spent two days getting a crash course on creative and business issues from Andrew Zinnes’ Doc Summit at Columbia College last weekend.  

And if they are well executed, audiences will pay attention.  Everyone seems to want to make a doc. Grant funders, festival programmers and distributors are swamped with projects.

Every night booked through the end of the month

Take advantage of the last of the big, important events in November, especially during the two weekends prior to Thanksgiving, including several film festivals, a tour of Cinespace studios and a night with The HistoryMarkers.  Then we swing into holiday mode.  

The first cheery Christmas party invitation from LimeGreen may signal a month of holiday parties, to celebrate the season and also a year that many say was better than expected.  Send along your party information and add your forthcoming events to our Calendar page.

Ratings will tell if Cooper can fill Oprah’s shoes

On Monday, Chicagoans got their first taste of what has been pegged as a different Anderson Cooper.  This is supposed to be the Cooper who hopes to fill — at least partially — the big shoes left empty when Oprah Winfrey departed the talk show circuit in May after an impressive 25-year run.

Let’s put it this way:  Cooper will be very lucky indeed if he comes remotely close to matching Winfrey’s track record in this department.

Jim Olen named Protokulture’s VP/managing director

After Jim Olen shuttered Rhythm Café last October, after 14  years as a commercial music house, he became a consultant with post and production companies “who were looking for a fresh point-of-view, a new perspective on business, a way to reinvent themselves,” he says.

When Olen approached John Michaels, the Protokulture owner/designer didn’t want a consultant – he wanted Olen to put his skills and energies exclusively into his eight-year old company and hired him as Protokulture’s VP/managing director.

Sci-fi ‘Breathers’ short a Pipeline contest finalist

FILMMAKER ADRIANNA MCKINLEY’S character-driven sci-fi short drama, Breathers, based on the Breathers comic book by Justin Madson, is in postproduction being readied for two local film festivals this fall.

The story is about a young girl who attempts suicide by breathing the planet’s deadly air, but discovers she can breathe it without ill effects and she sets out to learn why. Her brother believes the deadly air is a government plot to control society.

June screening schedule has something for everyone

FILMMAKERS AND FILM BUFFS will have no problem finding a festival, screening series or premiere offerings to their varied tastes this month.

SHOCK THEATRE’S new monthly series from the second Golden Age of Horror, the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, starts running the first Friday of every month, June 3, through December, at the new Wicker Park Arts Center. 

Foundation’s internet presence expands

With “tons of internet business” flowing in, Foundation Content has hired Ben Poster as director/editor/interactive, who moves after five years as an Arc Worldwide art director.

Poster is the start of what will be Foundation’s internet department.

Docmaker in Middle East on peace mission

IN THE MIDDLE EAST for three weeks is documentarian Malachi Leopold of Left Brain/Right Brain Productions. He is visiting Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as part of a delegation hosted by Interfaith Peace Builders and meeting with young Palestinians and Israelis under the age of 25 who are working together to achieve peace.

Leopold has worked for more than a year on developing a project connected to the ongoing Middle East conflict.

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.

The Wachowskis’ new movie is rumored

THE SUPER SECRETIVE WACHOWSKIS may be ramping up their next movie, with Huffington Post publisher and politico Ariana Huffington, of all people, involved in it. Photos she posted on Twitter suggest she has a role in their story about the war in Iraq from the POV of a futuristic society.

Since their “The Matrix” triology in 2003,

Andy and Lana Wachowski have directed only one movie, last year’s “Speed Racer.” If a new movie is in the works, count on all the special effects coming from their fortress-like high-tech studio at 5645 N. Ravenswood.

Chicago Children’s Fest screening 260 films

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

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

“Something for everybody”

Roger Ebert will make a special guest appearance at the closing ceremonies of the Naperville Film Festival, one of ten film festivals being held in Chicago and Downstate this month.

Altogether, around 500 independent films — narratives, horror, drama, documentary, animated, experimental, to suit every film buff, including many by local filmmakers — will be showcased.

And to cap this indie film month, the Independent Feature Project will hold its annual Film Gala, Sept. 26, to raise funds for programs and events to support local independent filmmakers.

Convergence Summit “put on hold”

Tech guru Bruce Montgomery, who has taken the helm of the 2,600-member Chicago Convergence (TCC), leads a meeting Wednesday to “edit and repackage ideas” for the second annual Convergence Summit tentatively scheduled for late September.

The meeting of as many as 40 members of the TCC’s Leadership Committee at theWit hotel will set the direction and content for the highly anticipated second annual TCC Summit.

Until then, the Summit date of Sept. 21-24 and the venue of the Spertus Institute have been placed on hold.

Why not Chicago?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Michael Mann’s 1930s crime movie “Public Enemies,” which spent $25 million filming in Chicago and the state last year, will have various premieres, advance and special showings everywhere else except Chicago before the movie’s national July 1 opening.

Its world premiere will be the centerpiece of the Los Angeles Film Festival June 18-28.

In Wisconsin, which is already benefiting from tourism to movie locations, has at least two pre-release events planned so far.

Towers seeks real housewives for new series

REAL HOUSEWIVES OF CHICAGO are being sought for a Towers Productions reality series. According to Towers’ casting director Becky Cattie, the hope is to find women who could give this formula “a new twist,” showcasing a “really unique group of ladies to represent the Midwest.”

Towers is seeking “a dynamic group of ladies leading extraordinary lives ? modern housewives who juggle busy lives and look great doing it! No wallflowers please.”

Someone suggested Patti Blagojevich should audition.

“Elm Street” underway at suburban schools

“NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET” began shooting last week at Elk Grove high school in that suburb, moving onto Hersey high in Arlington Heights. “Elm Street” producers cleverly gained the ability to move around to different high schools after signing a contract with Illinois School District 214.

District 214 covers Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Elk Grove, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.

WHO WILL THE LOTTERY PICK to be its multicultural ad agency? The three worthy contenders are Carol H.

“Meals for Monologues” helps the hungry

“MEALS FOR MONOLOGUES,” Claire Simon Casting’s third annual food drive benefiting a number of charities, is a way to give back to the community “and it’s also a lot of fun for the actors,” says Teresa Thoma, a Claire Simon casting associate.

Actors are invited to present a 2-minute contemporary monolog and headshot at an open call when they bring two non-perishable food items on Friday, Nov. 21, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.

“Of Boys and Men” filmmakers top IFP Summit,
3 days of panels, pitching and parties Oct.19-21

Fast on the heels of its smashingly successful fund-raising gala comes IFP/Chicago’s 16th annual Midwest Filmmakers Summit the weekend of Oct. 19.

“We’re just recovering from the gala,” good-naturedly moaned IFP executive director Elizabeth Donius who, with development director Colleen O’Neill and staff put on one kick-ass event.

A full house of 300 guests jammed Salvage One Friday, Sept. 28 to party, meet other indie filmmakers, bid on a slew of neat auction items, and leave IFP approximately $20,000 richer to use for programs throughout the year.

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

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

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

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

Inspired by Studs Terkel’s working class stories doc maker Daniel Kraus embarks on WORK series

While Daniel Kraus has made three features, he’s now concentrating on the cinema-verite documentary. The WORK series, as Kraus terms it, is inspired by the writings of Studs Terkel and his books on ordinary people’s occupations.

The second film in the WORK series, “Musician,” is about Chicago jazz genius Ken Vandermark as he composes, rehearses, and cobbles together gigs.

Kraus’ previous WORK doc, “Sheriff,” aired on PBS’ Independent Lens series and will be released on DVD by Facets in the fall.

Enjoy a super abundance of indie films to screen at 75-plus events now through the end of the year

With the advent of Labor Day, when white shoes are tucked in the back of the closet, and sunlight vanishes all-too-early, a pent-up avalanche of non-theatrical films descends upon Chicago.

There’s something for everyone, as hundreds and hundreds of indie films will screen in more than 75 movie events to date at familiar and new venues, now through December.

Neuberger produces music festival webcast

HANK NEUBERGER, Chicago’s sound guru, is currently in Palm Springs where he will head a 90-member crew, including lots of Chicago guys, to produce a three day webcast of the big annual Coachella Music Festival of contemporary rock and pop music.

The festival will be captured with 18 HD cameras, with video support provided by Trio Video.

It will run on website www.at&tblueroom.com for 10 hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The following weekend, the entire crew moves to the Empire Polo Field in nearby Indio, Calif.

Four Chicago features play in 23rd Annual Chicago Latino International Film Festival April 13-25

THE CHICAGO LATINO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL boasts four Chicago features among the lineup of 59 features and 31 shorts at its 23rd annual fest, April 13-25.

Jaime (“Dusk”) Mariscal’s second feature “Welcome Back To Barrio” follows a college kid (Ramses Jimenez) who returns to his old neighborhood and gets reeled into a gang conflict.

With Tony Ramirez, Carmen Cenko and Phil Camacho. David J. Miller of Mindlight Films produced and co-wrote with Mariscal. April 15 at 4 p.m. and April 17 at 10 p.m. at Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.

Nails filming production of Romero’s “Diary of
the Dead” for “Dead On” portrait of filmmaker

As George Romero shoots his latest zombie film, “Diary of the Dead,” Rusty Nails is recording the process for his ongoing feature documentary, “Dead On: The Life and Work of George A. Romero.”

“We went to a special effects house and saw early stages of makeup. We want to follow George throughout the making of the film,” said Nails, who also runs the Movieside Film Festival.

He has appeared with Romero at festivals around the world, screening footage from the in-progress documentary.

Producers Christine Vachon, Bob Teitel top 15 events at IFP’s Filmmakers Summit, Oct. 27-29

The busy month of October is capped by the 15th annual IFP Filmmakers Summit, the one time of year when Hollywood is delighted to come to Chicago and share its secrets with us.

Producer/author Christine Vachon of Killer Films (“Boys Don’t Cry”) and Chicago’s Bob Teitel (“Barber Shop”) headline the Oct. 27-29 weekend when more than 600 filmmakers are expected to attend.

There’s pretty much something for everyone.

Want the inside scoop on how deals come together?

Trio Video’s truck fleet grows to six with a
$10 million investment for two new HD trucks

Trio Video is expanding its fleet for the second time in less than two years with the infusion of a $10 million investment from two venture capital companies.

Management of the company is unchanged. Trio is owned by partners Jack Walsh and Gary Meagher, who will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their company next year.

Through the investment from Marquette Capital Partners of Chicago, BIA Digital Partners of Chantilly, Va., Trio is building its third HD/multi-format truck and a Beta support vehicle for delivery next March.

Special guests, $10,000 in prizes highlight IPA Victory Party June 13

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.

200+ filmmakers involved in Split Pillow’s fourth collaborative film “Realization,” to bow April 19

Film incubator Split Pillow premieres its fourth collaborative feature “Realization,” a seven-part riff on physics and the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse on April 19 at Facets Multimedia and later at and Chicago Filmmakers.

“?Realization’ is our biggest project ever in that we involved over 200 filmmakers, artists and actors,” said Split Pillow executive director Jason Stephens.

Chicago area gets a second art cinema distributor with November opening of St. Charles’ Olive Films

When Olive Films relocates to St. Charles from Richland, Washington in late November, Facets Multimedia, which has enjoyed a quarter-century status as the area’s premiere art film distributor, will be looking at a new kid on the block.

The fast-emerging international distributor of eclectic and hard-to-find cinema also will provide local filmmakers a potential outlet for DVD distribution of their indie films.

Owned by Farhad Arshad and his wife, Chicago native Jennifer Bonino, Olive Films will operate from offices and warehouse in a new 2,000-sq. ft.

‘Keep shooting no matter what’?Arie Posin on fighting his way through ‘The Chumscrubber’

Rejection at every turn, finding and fighting with investors, and the determination to make “The Chumscrubber” despite all odds is what Arie Posin told filmmakers at Facets Multi-Media prior to the screening of his debut feature that opened here Aug. 26.

“The Chumscrubber” is a dark suburban satire about troubled teens and their oblivious parents, with an ensemble cast that includes Glenn Close, Ralph Fiennes, and Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot”).

Here’s what Posen had to say about the agony and the ecstasy of getting his film made. IFP/Chicago’s Elizabeth Donius moderated.

“One of the purest cinemas that exist today”?producer Dany Wolf on working with Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant’s new film, “Last Days,” is inspired by the events leading up to the 1994 suicide of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain and furthers the improvisational, elliptical, long-take style Van Sant employed with Gerry” (2002) and “Elephant” (2003).

“Last Days” producer Dany Wolf, was in Chicago at a recent IFP/Chicago-Facets sneak preview of the new film, due out here Aug. 5.

Wolf produced Van Sant’s “Psycho” (1998), “Finding Forrester” (2000), “Gerry,” and “Elephant,” and additionally served as production manager and assistant director of Van Sant’s three latest films.

Festivals, screenings, events and more

INDIEFEST CHICAGO has extended the submission deadline to May 10 for the Third Annual Indiefest Film Festival & Market, the only film market in Midwest, which runs July 29-Aug. 7. See www.indiefest.org.


Independent Production Roundup

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

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

Four local directors’ features to screen at Latino Film Fest; Frausto, Islas’ are world premieres

Four films by Chicago directors are among the 58 features from 20 countries presented at the 21st Chicago Latino Film Festival April 9-21 at more than a dozen venue across the city and suburbs.

Juan Frausto’s “La Migra” and Ricardo Islas “Para Matar a un Asensino” are world premieres.

Returning after successful festival runs are Marisol Torres’ “Boricua” and Alex LeMay’s “The Bulls of Suburbia.”

For “Para Matar a un Asesino” Islas, like Frausto, brought Mexican screen stars to the U.S. for his production.

Independent Production Roundup

VELVET STEAMROLLER PRODUCTIONS has officially signed on to produce L. Pat Williams’ horror pic “10,000 Doors.” Williams, who co-wrote with her father, composer Robert A. Williams, cited a $5 million budget before signing with Velvet Steamroller but declined to name a budget after the signing as the script undergoes rewrites.

Williams is producing through her SerpentWise Films with VS VP/Acquisitions Steve Bulzoni. VS CEO Jonathan Bross is executive producing. Erica Hubbard (“Cinderella Story”) is co-producing through her E. Hubbard Productions.

Independent Production Roundup

LANCE CATANIA of X-Ray Productions has completed post on his debut feature, the HD horror pic “Cup of My Blood.” Catania, a seasoned commercial director/DP, shot on HD in December 2003. Catania wrote the script with Ken Nilsson, who produced with Noel Olken of Waitergonebad Productions.

“Cup of My Blood” stars Daniel Patrick Sullivan, Janina Gavankar, Roger Anderson, Circus?Szalweski, and Lance Mulvaney. X-Ray co-owner Gene Cosentino is executive producer. Salvatore Peccoraro edited.

Chicago Film Critics will present director Robert Altman with lifetime achievement award Jan. 19

Taking advantage of the fact that Robert Altman is temporarily living in Chicago, the Chicago Film Critics Assn. on Jan. 19 will hold a tribute evening to honor the award-winning director.

The 80-year old award-winning movie director will receive the Flame, a lifetime achievement award for his half century of innovative techniques and independent style in movies, TV and the theatre.

Altman is in Chicago as director of his Lyric opera production of “The Wedding,” which opened last month to rave reviews and SRO audiences.

Taproot’s bullfight doc attracts broadcasters at Santa Fe festival; will play Chicago Latino

Taproot Productions’ bullfighting documentary “The Bulls of Suburbia” has charged its way through the festival circuit this year, drawing broadcaster interest at the Santa Fe Film Festival, where the film was nominated for best documentary.

“A cable broadcast entity was very interested,” said director Alex LeMay. “Hopefully we’re going to see this thing televised.”

Independent Production Roundup

NATHYN MASTERS’ guerilla style apocalyptic thriller “4th Beast: Mask of the Antichrist” has been picked up for DVD release by York Entertainment of Sherman Oaks, Calif. Masters’ Timecode Mechanics produced the DV feature last winter.

Masters is in development on his followup, the martial arts pic “Silvergun Samurai,” for production next year. He’s writing a prequel to “4th Beast” called “Mark of the Antichrist,” and is co-producing the dance romance “Open Your Heart” from Tennessee’s Xenophobia Films, shooting here this winter.

Sock Puppet now developing original DVD concepts for kids educational series, games

DVD content developers Sock Puppet Studios have launched their first original brand with “The Doodlebugs,” a half-hour animated educational series targeted for children ages 2-6.

Sock Puppet plans to finish the second “Doodlebugs” episode Sept. 1. The first episode was released in May and will screen in the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival at Facets Multi-Media this October.

Sock Puppet is self-distributing the DVD online and is seeking a distributor for retail and non-traditional broadcast like video-on-demand and in-flight video.

Independent Production Roundup

MARK ARMSTRONG’S hip-hop comedy feature “Chickenhead Bound” from Dusablean Enterprises wrapped principal photography Aug. 12. Premiere screening is planned for Thanksgiving. Nlz of Wu-Tang Clan’s Killarmy Family made a cameo and is in talks to supervise the soundtrack, which will feature music by Public Enemy affiliate K-Rec, who acted in the picture. Armstrong is now casting for Cas-I-Can Productions’ bisexual romance “Trying to Get Bi.” Reach Armstrong at markarmystrong62@aol.com.

Local feature of suburban dread has local debut at Chicago Underground

Local underground auteur James Fotopoulos screens his suburban gothic feature “The Nest” in its Chicago debut at the Chicago Underground Film Festival Aug. 22.

Fotopoulos continues his trademark minimalist terror with “The Nest,” in which he builds an atmosphere of mounting dread through sound design and surrealistic images in a young couple’s new apartment.

“There really wasn’t any inspiration,” Fotopoulos insisted. “Things just collage together over time and then I shape them together and get them out. Anything around me can trigger it.”

New IFP/Chicago executive director Donius aims for more connected organization

Elizabeth Donius is two months into her job as IFP/ Chicago executive director, the first full-time director in at least 10 years, and she’s excited about enlarging the 400-member organization and making it a more important and useful resource for Chicago’s large and growing indie film community.

“I’ve done film projects and I’m doing film projects, and I know how hard it is to get independent work made,” said Donius.

Joe Mantegna — a seventh inning surprise

by Jonathan Abarbanel

JOE MANTEGNA made a surprise appearance at the Royal George Theatre last week, delighting the cast and audience of “Bleacher Bums,” the show about die-hard Cubs fans now enjoying a 25th anniversary production. Mantegna conceived and co-authored the show when he was a member of the Organic Theater Company, along with the then-unknown Dennis Franz.

Mantegna visited with the cast and performed the nightly guest cameo role, leading the audience in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as part of the show’s Seventh Inning Stretch.

Looking for a movie tonight? Catch one of these non-traditional film series

Chicago boasts one of the biggest and most vibrant independent film scenes in America, in terms of both production and outlets. To prove the point, Chicago is experiencing a boom in non-traditional screening series.

In addition to a growing roster of annual film festivals, established and fledgling organizations host screenings scattered around the city at theatres, nightclubs and other venues.

Two Chicago feature-length docs to screen at 2nd Doc Festival April 1-11

With documentaries gaining in interest with both filmmakers and the public, the April 1-11 2nd annual Chicago International Documentary Festival should handily achieve its goal of doubling the audience to 13,000 from the festival’s debut in 2003.

The festival opens April 1 with Naofumi Nakamura’s “Marina,” about the star of the renowned Afghanistan-set drama “Osama.”

Rising local director’s

Juan Frausto finally has his foot in the Hollywood door. His third film, “Once Upon a Time in the Hood,” plays in the 20th Annual Chicago Latino International Film Festival. The picture is due out on video from Maverick Entertainment and Breakaway Films this July, and is slated for a run on HBO Latino early next year.

“This movie will open doors for me, and for Latinos,” Frausto said. “It shows the we can do really good movies with low budgets and still get distribution. We’re just now capturing the market.

What’s in your shopping cart? —
Doc on homeless premieres at Doc Fest

At a Salvation Army in Los Angeles’ gritty Nickel District, local production designer Wesley Tabayoyong interviewed more than 30 homeless people about the contents of their shopping carts.

Tabayoyong and his collaborators combed the underbelly of LA’s skid row for interview subjects. “We covered an area called ‘Tent City,’ which is a quarter mile of makeshift tents, can fires, and some dangerous people,” Tabayoyong recalled.

Up and Down the Avenue – 02/07/04

JWT wins the $12 million Illinois Tourism account, resigned last year by BBDO.

Tom Bernadin is Leo Burnett’s new president, from Interpublic’s Lowe’s/New York — the first non-Burnetter to have that post in the agency’s 70 year history.

DDB resigned the Lottery account, citing a difference of opinion over marketing and creative.

Marguerite Juliusson has added director Dennis Manarchy and Big Deahl Productions to her representation roster.


Networking in Chicago, part two

by Joan Tortorici Ruppert

Hancock’s horror story goes beyond his new feature

John Hancock on location in Michigan

Chicago-made film debuts
April 10 at Latino Festival

Gloricelly Martinez-Franceschi stars in “Urban Poet,” the Latino Film Festival’s only Chicago-made feature.