Think you know everything about Groundhog Day?

Every February 2 on Groundhog Day, North Americans wait with bated breath to discover if there will be six more weeks of winter or if there will be an early spring as foretold by Punxsutawney Phil when he emerges from his “den.” Since 1887 the large terrestrial rodent (as well as his predecessors) has been … Continue reading “Think you know everything about Groundhog Day?”

Behind the scenes of the Jeep ‘Groundhog Day’ spot

Chicago-based Highdive Advertising reinvigorated an existential pop sensation through Groundhog Day, a commercial that became a classic before it even premiered during yesterday’s Super Bowl. In a fast-forward recreation of the identically-named 1993 film, the 60-second spot stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a weatherman caught in a kink of the space-time continuum. In scene … Continue reading “Behind the scenes of the Jeep ‘Groundhog Day’ spot”

‘Groundhog Day for a Black Man’ wows fest crowd

With more than 4,200 submissions, the 12th annual NBCUniversal Short Film Festival announced the winners from a group of nine finalists during the grand finale gala at the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles. The competition, which occurred Wednesday night, was stiff as the nine short films and web series presented were amazingly crafted and thoughtful … Continue reading “‘Groundhog Day for a Black Man’ wows fest crowd”

Our Top 10 Valentine’s Day Chicago films

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and with the global pandemic, many couples are choosing to stream movies at home “and chill”. There are many romantic movies filmed in the windy city and we’ve taken the time to compile a list of the top ten best romantic films set in Chicago that you can … Continue reading “Our Top 10 Valentine’s Day Chicago films”

AICP Midwest Show is this Thursday, November 19

One of the most exciting stops on the AICP tour happens every year in Chicago. It’s one of the few opportunities for those in production, advertising and film to gather together, share a cocktail or four and just hang. This year, with a pandemic raging and cases on the rise again, the AICP Midwest Show … Continue reading “AICP Midwest Show is this Thursday, November 19”

Barbara Roche takes over as publisher of ReelChicago

Barbara Roche officially became publisher of ReelChicago on April 1. Wielding decades of production and pre-production experience, Roche is the former cofounder and partner in Holzer Roche Casting, which supplied talent for such legendary Chicago films as Home Alone, Backdraft and Groundhog Day.

She has also been a close friend and confidante of ReelChicago founder Ruth Ratny for nearly four decades.

Locally-shot “Ice Harvest” director Harold Ramis talks about directing, his career and philosophies

Major industry player and Second City alum Harold Ramis built a career as a leading writer, then writer-director of comedies like “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day.”

Ramis’ latest, darkest film, the noir “The Ice Harvest,” was shot in spring 2004, mostly in the area around Ramis’ Highland Park home, on a reported $16 million budget. It opens Nov. 23.

It stars John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton as a couple of Wichita Falls embezzlers trying to escape retribution on Christmas Eve.

Making it Up: An interview with David Pasquesi, improv powerhouse, busy actor and show creator

A leading improviser and comic actor, David Pasquesi has appeared in films including “The Fugitive” and “Father of the Bride,” and Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day” and “Stuart Saves His Family.” His TV credits include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Common Ground,” and “Strangers with Candy.”

Pasquesi has roles in two locally-shot features due out later this year: Ramis’ “Ice Harvest,” and former standup partner Jeff Garlin’s “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With.” He’s also in the forthcoming film version of “Strangers with Candy.”

Pasquesi and Steppenwolf company member Tracy Letts premier

Bill Murray teams with Aziz Ansari in Searchlight comedy-drama

We never pass up a story about Chicago’s favorite son, Bill Murray. And Bill Murray is trending again. Not for his globetrotting antics or reliving the same day in February over and over again. Murray has joined up with Emmy award winner, Master of None creator, writer, director, and star, Aziz Ansari in the upcoming … Continue reading “Bill Murray teams with Aziz Ansari in Searchlight comedy-drama”

Highdive returns to Super Bowl with Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Homes

Highdive is back in the 2022 Super Bowl with Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Homes to provide the best commercial advertising entertainment. Two years ago it was Bill Murray in the classic Jeep “Groundhog Day” spot. Last year, it was Rocket Mortgage with Tracy Morgan. This year, it is with Pitch Perfect’s Anna Kendrick, Barbie and … Continue reading “Highdive returns to Super Bowl with Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Homes”

Where in the world is Bill Murray?

For the past few months our beloved Second City alum Bill Murray has been all over, making news and finding himself trending on social media. From Charleston, South Carolina to New York, to Monterey County, California, his heartwarming hijinks are entertaining fans.  Charleston, South Carolina Although Bill Murray was born and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, … Continue reading “Where in the world is Bill Murray?”

Reel Chicago top 21 stories for 2021

Here are the top 21 stories on Reel Chicago in 2021. There were over 2500 stories between Reel Chicago and our sister publication Reel 360. With a record breaking total of 1.4 million views this year. Whether our stories were about the resurgence of film & TV production, the Reel Ad of the Week, or … Continue reading “Reel Chicago top 21 stories for 2021”

Mark Gross takes the Highdive into creating spots for Super Bowl LVI

We are now less than 100 days away from Super Bowl LVI. Seventy-five to be exact. While the first quarter of the Big Game has yet to be played, ad agencies, across the country, are in the fourth quarter of pre-production, or even production, for their showcase work. From the Budweiser heydays of DDB to … Continue reading “Mark Gross takes the Highdive into creating spots for Super Bowl LVI”

Another Country names Tim Konn as Managing Director

Another Country Founder and Cutters Studios Partner John Binder and his colleagues worldwide announce the immediate promotion of Another Country’s Executive Producer Tim Konn to the position of Managing Director. “Working with Tim is always an outstanding experience,” Binder said. “He keeps the whole process real and fun, and that attitude absolutely shines through with … Continue reading “Another Country names Tim Konn as Managing Director”

REEL WOMEN: Lisa Masseur, EP/Founder Tessa Films

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2021 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready, they are making “Herstory.” Production sage with an eye for … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Lisa Masseur, EP/Founder Tessa Films”

Chicago agency Highdive soars again in Super Bowl

Congratulations to Highdive for once again landing atop of USA Today’s Admeter. The agency’s two 60-second Super Bowl LV spots for Quicken’s Rocket Mortgage were ranked number one and two. In 2020, Highdive scored the number one spot with Jeep. The spot featured a recreation of the hit romcom, Groundhog Day, and brought back Bill … Continue reading “Chicago agency Highdive soars again in Super Bowl”

Jeep to air one spot during Super Bowl

Keeping their effort under wraps, Jeep announced it will debut one commercial during this Sunday’s (February 7, 2021) Big Game telecast. The spot will air in the second half of the game. Last year, the brand along with creative agency partner and Ad Age Small Agency of the Year Highdive, created the unforgettable, Emmy-nominated Groundhog … Continue reading “Jeep to air one spot during Super Bowl”

Steeves and Cutters on the making of before/during/after

While many people dream of assembling a Who’s Who list of premier talents to help them tell their personal story on the big screen, highly accomplished actor turned screenwriter and producer Finnerty Steeves (Orange is the New Black) has brilliantly brought this widely cherished dream to Technicolor reality with Steeves’ independent dramedy feature, before/during/after. On the heels … Continue reading “Steeves and Cutters on the making of before/during/after”

Cutters promotes David Rubin to editor

High-end editorial boutique Cutters announces the promotion of David Rubin to Editor. The announcement was made by Cutters Studios President/Managing Director Craig Duncan and Managing Editor Grant Gustafson. Rubin landed an internship with Cutters immediately upon graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, leading to a position as Assistant Editor, mainly working for Gustafson. … Continue reading “Cutters promotes David Rubin to editor”

2020 in Review: Top Chicago advertising campaigns

It’s hard to remember back in February 2020, when the Kansas City Chiefs bested the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV and Parasite was winning Best Picture, no one was talking about COVID, the election and Black Lives Matter. We had no idea we were only a few weeks and months away from all … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Top Chicago advertising campaigns”

2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories

What a year, huh? 2020, which felt like a decade, will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst years ever. And who will argue? Certainly not the staff at Reel Chicago. This year, COVID forced productions to shut down. Then start back up. Then shut back down. Then start back up. It … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories”

Best of the Midwest goes to ‘Like a Girl’ from Leo Burnett

Best of the Midwest voted on by attendees as iconic ads are highlighted in benefit event for Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis food banks. The hors d’oeuvres were whatever you had on hand, the tinkling of cocktail glasses was done from afar and the applause was a bit muted, but that didn’t stop the Midwest advertising, … Continue reading “Best of the Midwest goes to ‘Like a Girl’ from Leo Burnett”

Diving into Highdive and their Emmy nomination

Daring to break the traditional agency mold, Highdive is producing exciting work that pushes the envelope in new ways. Most recently, the Ad Age Small Agency of the Year partnered with Jeep to create a Super Bowl spot celebrating the 90’s classic Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray. The commercial resonated with audiences as it was … Continue reading “Diving into Highdive and their Emmy nomination”

Craig Duncan takes on role of President of Cutters Studios

Cutters Studios’ Managing Director and Partner Craig Duncan has been promoted to the position of President. As announced by CEO Tim McGuire, in addition to his responsibilities as President, Duncan will continue to fulfill his duties as Managing Director. Well known in the creative industry as a premier editor himself, Tim McGuire launched Cutters as … Continue reading “Craig Duncan takes on role of President of Cutters Studios”

Highdive named Small Agency of the Year, Gold

Holy Jeep! Congratulations to our friends at Highdive Advertising. The independently-owned, full-service creative agency based in Chicago, announces today that it has been named Small Agency of the Year, Gold by Ad Age. This year’s honorees were named at the Small Agency Conference, which was hosted virtually on August 3-5. The Ad Age Small Agency Awards, now in their 11th … Continue reading “Highdive named Small Agency of the Year, Gold”

Chicago agencies nab 89 finalists in One Show

FCB Chicago leads Chicago agencies with 31 The One Show 2020, finalists, including 28 on behalf of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.  Working with FCBXLord+Thomas, both Chicago, the agency has 16 for the organization’s “Most Dangerous Street”, and 12 with Lord+Thomas and The Mill, both Chicago, for “The Gun Violence Handbook.” Ogilvy Chicago with 27 including work for … Continue reading “Chicago agencies nab 89 finalists in One Show”

Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament

The 20th annual Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament returns to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida on April 30 and May 1, 2020. Thanks to the commitment of Murray Brothers, the annual golf outing has evolved into one of the most talked-about charity golf tournaments in the country. The annual … Continue reading “Murray Bros. Caddyshack Charity Golf Tournament”

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”

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’”

Michael C. Hall goes to Broadway with Skittles

Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical created by DDB Chicago has found its star in Michael C. Hall Skittles, which made a lot of Super Bowl noise last year with Friends star David Schwimmer, this year the candy brand has opted to go to broadway for Skittle Commercial: The Broadway Musical. And who better to “kill … Continue reading “Michael C. Hall goes to Broadway with Skittles”

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Beginning June 5th, the Millennium Park Summer Film series will enhance the Tuesday night screenings that have become one of Chicago’s most beloved outdoor traditions. According to a press release issued by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the movies will be “programmed in collaboration with a local independent film festival … Continue reading “Millennium Park Summer Film Series”

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”

Reel Chicago launches “Reel Women”

Every single one of us got here by putting a woman through pain. That’s just a small part of the female sacrifice that keeps the world turning. There are also undeniable inequalities in nearly every measurable category of career, comfort, consideration, and wealth.   Yet women continue to not only endure but also thrive. Although … Continue reading “Reel Chicago launches “Reel Women””

“A Tragedy,” “Blow Job” highlight MIFF shorts program

It’s a new month, and that means we are only days away from they Midwest Independent Film Festival’s monthly First Tuesday screening. Hosted by the nation’s only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmakers, the event provides audiences with regionally produced independent cinema.     Led by the world premiere of A Tragedy, the … Continue reading ““A Tragedy,” “Blow Job” highlight MIFF shorts program”

The Campus’ Rachel Bryant has passed her “Scream” test

Even drenched in blood — and I do mean buckets of blood, like a Carrie amount of blood — there are still undeniable things that stand out about actress, writer and producer Rachel Amanda Bryant. First, are her friendly but driven deep blue eyes that apparently sometimes turn green depending on her mood. Second, is … Continue reading “The Campus’ Rachel Bryant has passed her “Scream” test”

Lisa Masseur named top executive at One at Optimus

Executive producer Lisa Masseur, who joined Optimus 16 months ago, was officially named executive producer/managing director of One at Optimus, the thriving production arm of the postproduction giant. 

Her appointment follows the recent, surprise departure of Craig Leffel after 18 years with the company, who had been One at Optimus’ director of production for the past three years.

Gaffer Andrew Cook celebrates his 25th anniversary

Andrew Cook, Chicago’s only non-union gaffer who comes equipped with his own trucks and gear, is celebrating his 25th business anniversary.

To help mark the occasion, The Reel talked with the LaGrange Park-based gaffer about his lengthy and singular career in an ever-evolving industry.

REEL: Let’s start with your non-union status.  How did that come about in a big union town like ours?

Great variety of statewide locations amazed 100 attendees at the IFO Producers Breakfast in L.A.

Among the Illinois facts that surprised guests at the IFO Producers Breakfast in L.A. last week was the availability of a four-lane, 2.9 mile, virtually unused strip of highway in Waukegan.

The Amstutz Highway was one of 60 unique Illinois locations displayed to some 100 high-level production and studio executives at the Beverly Wilshire hotel meeting.

While the Chicago Party Alliance held a day earlier was characterized as “disappointing” by some of the Chicago party-goers, the Production Breakfast scored big.

Someone has to get those brands on the screen;
in Chicago the go-to man is George Simkowski

Stories of the little-known business of product placement were spotlighted on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable in the person of Chicago’s George Simkowski of Let’s Go Hollywood.

Placement pioneer Simkowski got into the business years back when he was ad manager of Webcor phonographs and tape recorders, and an MGM producer called to use a tape recorder as a prop.

“And I said, ?what’s a prop?'” he recalls.

Film represented at Governor’s Summit

When the Governor’s Economic Summit convened at UIC a few weeks ago, the film industry was one of the eight sectors the governor’s office and DCEO deemed important enough to be included.

Gov. Blagojevich, who spent some time talking to the panel as he made the rounds of the eight sessions, “is really excited and optimistic (about the film industry),” said the DCEO’s communications director Laura Hunter. “He will go to the legislature in the spring and develop more initiatives.” She did not elaborate as to what those initiatives might be.

Jeep debuts new spot during ‘One World’ global special

As part of the One World: Together At Home globally televised and digital special on Saturday night to support frontline health care workers and the World Health Organization, FCA premiered an all-new television commercials for the Jeep® brands. The 30-second video, “Seven Continents” for Jeep, aired during the two-hour TV special as part of the globally televised … Continue reading “Jeep debuts new spot during ‘One World’ global special”