Energy BBDO’s new brand campaign for Home Instead

Home Instead, the leading provider of in-home care for older adults, has launched a new brand identity and campaign to promote the evolving organization. Created in partnership with our friends at creative agency Energy BBDO, the changes modernize the brand and share an uplifting approach to staying happy and well at home. Home Instead delivers personalized care … Continue reading “Energy BBDO’s new brand campaign for Home Instead”

Home Instead makes memories with new music video

Energy BBDO creates new music video and original song with singer Jilian Linklater In a time where America’s population is aging rapidly, generating awareness of in-home care services has become increasingly relevant. In-home senior care industry, Home Instead Senior Care, along with AOR Energy BBDO, has taken a fresh musical approach to connecting with seniors … Continue reading “Home Instead makes memories with new music video”

Energy BBDO helps seniors with Home Instead campaign

Home Instead Senior Care debuts touching new campaign advocating for seniors to live at home The first work from Home Instead Senior Care and creative partner Energy BBDO is a tender new campaign targeted at Americans 65 and older who still want to live at home. It’s also the Reel Ad of the Week. As … Continue reading “Energy BBDO helps seniors with Home Instead campaign”

DCASE announces ‘Millennium Park at Home’

Millennium Park at Home begins Memorial Day weekend with House Music, Gospel Music and Blues Music concerts to launch the new online series of music, arts and recreation programming. Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced new virtual events for everyone missing Millennium Park’s renowned cultural programming. The new online Millennium … Continue reading “DCASE announces ‘Millennium Park at Home’”

Rodgers, Mahomes talk agents in new State Farm work

Football is back, thank god. As a Bears’ fan, I’m not thrilled that the Cheeseheads beat the them 10 – 3 last night during the NFL opener. But at least one Chicago team won last night and that would be DDB Chicago with their goofy new State Farm work that features rival QB’s Aaron Rodgers … Continue reading “Rodgers, Mahomes talk agents in new State Farm work”

Canon, FCBX present digital experience for CES

In partnership with FCB and its experiential arm, FCBX premiered an interactive digital experience through five unexpected experiences and innovation cornerstones to celebrate how people can use Canon products and solutions to help redefine the limits they face. Attendees will be inspired to transcend limits by capturing the marvels of space, the splendor of wildlife, … Continue reading “Canon, FCBX present digital experience for CES”

$550 Million Powerball Jackpot for tonight’s drawing

If you want the chance to win over a half billion bucks, then be sure to carve out a moment in your day to pick up a Powerball ticket as the jackpot continues to roll with an estimated $550 million jackpot on deck for tonight’s drawing! We know that Illinois is full of winners and … Continue reading “$550 Million Powerball Jackpot for tonight’s drawing”

Ringo is spreading Peace and Love on his birthday 7-7-21

Ringo Starr posted a message to fans about his annual upcoming Peace and Love birthday initiative, a tradition he started in 2008 at Chicago’s Hard Rock Cafe. When asked by a reporter what he would like for his birthday. His answer was… Peace and Love. Since then, Ringo has invited everyone everywhere to think, say … Continue reading “Ringo is spreading Peace and Love on his birthday 7-7-21”

‘In the Heights’ DP Alice Brooks talks crafting a big look

Cinematographer Alice Brooks discusses using DXL2 and G Series anamorphics to craft a big look for director Jon M. Chu’s musical In the Heights. In 2002, when cinematographer Alice Brooks and director Jon M. Chu were still film students at the University of Southern California, they partnered for the short When the Kids Are Away, a musical … Continue reading “‘In the Heights’ DP Alice Brooks talks crafting a big look”

2021 Chicago beach season kicks off this weekend

22 beaches have officially opened for the 2021 season. The return of beach season is another step forward with Open Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot‘s initiative to safely and fully reopen the city. This marks the first time Chicago beaches have opened for public use since September 2, 2019, due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions. The 2021 beach … Continue reading “2021 Chicago beach season kicks off this weekend”

It’s a wrap for the season on One Chicago

Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med officially wrap today for the season. Congratulations to the cast and crew. You are our heroes! 2020 was a hard year for everyone on the planet. Keeping our favorite TV shows on the air through these difficult times was a HUGE endeavor for all involved. While the actors … Continue reading “It’s a wrap for the season on One Chicago”

U.S. Army releases ‘The Calling’ animated series

The U.S. Army released “The Calling,” a new animated film series that profiles the deeply emotional and diverse origin stories of five Soldiers as they make the most important decision of their lives: answering the call to serve. At a time of a widening military-civilian divide, “The Calling” provides an important and rare inside look … Continue reading “U.S. Army releases ‘The Calling’ animated series”

RECAP: Chicago P.D. ‘Due Process’

This week’s Chicago P.D., Due Process begins with Voight (Jason Beghe) participating in a press conference being held by Deputy Superintendent Samantha Miller (Nicole Ari Parker) where she talks about how she’s very proud of the process and her dedication to “transparency” and the “rule of law.” She’s questioned about accountability when a journalist mentions … Continue reading “RECAP: Chicago P.D. ‘Due Process’”

RECAP: Chicago Med ‘Some Things Are Worth The Risk’

This week’s Chicago Med, ‘Some Things Are Worth The Risk’ is a crossover episode with Chicago Fire and showcases Dr. Choi (Brian Tee) and Dr. Archer (Steven Weber) having to go in the field to aid a victim on-site, Dr. Charles (Oliver Platt) dealing with a complicated patient. In addition, when Carol’s (Margaret Colin) condition … Continue reading “RECAP: Chicago Med ‘Some Things Are Worth The Risk’”

RECAP: Chicago P.D. ‘Signs of Violence’

Chicago P.D. Signs of Violence aired on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 and centered on Upton (Tracy Spiridakos) as she was triggered by a missing persons case which forced her to address her childhood traumas as she tries to navigate her relationship with her partner/boyfriend Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer). Chicago P.D. opens with Hailey and … Continue reading “RECAP: Chicago P.D. ‘Signs of Violence’”

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”

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?”

Film Production not affected by new COVID restrictions

In an announcement yesterday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) launched a new citywide strategy – “Protect Chicago” – an effort to help Chicago bend the COVID-19 curve for the second time.  “Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that … Continue reading “Film Production not affected by new COVID restrictions”

Bears to begin games without fans in stands

Expect The Bears ratings to go through the roof this year. And not because former Eagles’ Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is a QB. No, The Bears and the City of Chicago have agreed that it’s not yet the right time to welcome fans back to Soldier Field due to COVID-19. But they will continue … Continue reading “Bears to begin games without fans in stands”

Chicago-Made doc screens at Gene Siskel Film Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center will host virtual screenings of the new locally-produced documentary “Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm” beginning Friday, August 14. Set on an idyllic family farm in Central Illinois, “Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm” (USA, 83 minutes) follows organic farmer Henry Brockman as he grapples with the future of farming … Continue reading “Chicago-Made doc screens at Gene Siskel Film Center”

STORY celebrates the Bud Light beer man

Even though there are no fans in the stands, baseball fans can still have Bud Light delivered to their seats, at home. While Major League Baseball fans won’t be going to the ballpark this year, Bud Light is bringing a bit of the ballpark to them. A new broadcast and social campaign, produced by STORY … Continue reading “STORY celebrates the Bud Light beer man”

Details of the allegations against Jeff McCarter leaked

The Free Spirit Media mission statement says it “provides opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal and professional aspirations.” But the program appears to be at odds with its own mission statement, when, as reported in Reel Chicago, a statement was released … Continue reading “Details of the allegations against Jeff McCarter leaked”

Chicago creatives create filters for social distancing

Chicago creatives may be social distancing and shut in due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, but their creativity is not shut down. If anything, the Reel Chicago team has seen over the last six weeks sparks of creativity whether it’s  D-Nice throwing virtual dance parties on his Instagram or Energy BBDO creating a fabulous Uncle … Continue reading “Chicago creatives create filters for social distancing”

Cox, FCB support small biz owners in new 360 campaign

In response to COVID-19, Cox Communications and FCB Chicago have created a 360-campaign (including TV, print, digital, social and OOH) designed to empower and support small business owners who are #MakingItWork. The campaign messaging focuses on making the new way of working work better for Cox Business customers. Rather than using the tactics in this campaign to promote … Continue reading “Cox, FCB support small biz owners in new 360 campaign”

Ad Industry says Gov. Whitmer’s ban violates free speech

Five of the nation’s largest advertising trade associations today released a joint statement urging Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to rescind a portion of Executive Order No. 2020-40 prohibiting certain types of advertising in Michigan. The following statement was issued by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), American Advertising Federation (AAF), Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and Network … Continue reading “Ad Industry says Gov. Whitmer’s ban violates free speech”

Chicago Stunt Community punches COVID-19 in face

Right now, social distancing due to the horrendous coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, is now the norm. But the Chicago Stunt community is finding ways to still be creative while keeping a safe distance. Inspired by stuntman Aaron Toney, (Avengers: Infinity War/End Game and Black Panther), to create a “worldwide fight,” local stuntman Shawn Bernal (Batman … Continue reading “Chicago Stunt Community punches COVID-19 in face”

Pritzker mandates shutdown of public events over 1,000

Today in a formal announcement, Illinois Gov JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have join other states by placing restrictions on large gatherings. Pritzker asked that events of 250 people or more be postponed or cancelled. He then further mandated that all events of more than 1,000 people are banned in an effort to … Continue reading “Pritzker mandates shutdown of public events over 1,000”

Reel Women: Brenda Webb, Chicago Filmmakers Exec Dir

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. Brenda Webb started at Chicago Filmmakers in 1978 as … Continue reading “Reel Women: Brenda Webb, Chicago Filmmakers Exec Dir”

Behind the scenes with “South Side’s” Bashir Salahuddin

South Side co-creator Bashir Salahuddin cannot talk for more than a few minutes without mentioning his mother. He name-checks the neighborhoods, the people, and the food that he got to know through her, especially the food. The memories shape his perception of Chicago’s South Side as a thriving mix of faces, places, and restaurants. Energized … Continue reading “Behind the scenes with “South Side’s” Bashir Salahuddin”

Ramone Hulet, creative producer

Chicago-based producer Ramone Hulet 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. Ramone Hulet is a … Continue reading “Ramone Hulet, creative producer”

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”

Actor Jussie Smollett indicted, again

Multiple news outlets are reporting that former Empire cast member Jussie Smollett will be indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly leading police on an expensive wild goose chase. According to the Chicago Tribune, the 37-year-old actor will be arraigned on the charges at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on February 24, almost … Continue reading “Actor Jussie Smollett indicted, again”

Taking off with Bottle Rocket Media

Award-winning Chicago-based video content agency wields a startling variety of depth and expertise Chicago video content agency Bottle Rocket Media fuels traditional expertise with DIY spirit. Guided by a pair of visionaries who met while working at the Oprah Winfrey Show, the company has become one of the industry’s most unique production and post operations … Continue reading “Taking off with Bottle Rocket Media”

WTTW explores impact of gun violence in ‘Firsthand’

Documentary series, reported Stories, expert talks, and community engagement launches Tuesday, November 12, at wttw.com/firsthand The number of victims of Chicago’s gun violence may fluctuate, but the psychological trauma in many neighborhoods is constant. How do wounded communities heal? In a new multi-platform initiative titled, Firsthand: Gun Violence, WTTW explores the personal, firsthand perspectives of … Continue reading “WTTW explores impact of gun violence in ‘Firsthand’”

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””

Kartemquin announces recipients of $90K in grants

A dozen documentary projects will share rewards of Diverse Voices and Emerging Storyteller Fund grants Kartemquin Films today announced the 12 documentary projects that will receive their 2019 Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund and Emerging Storyteller Fund grants. Both grants are designed to provide funding towards emerging filmmakers who are currently enrolled or who have previously … Continue reading “Kartemquin announces recipients of $90K in grants”

Stop Us Before We Disrupt Again

Chicago Film Society unveils lineup for Season 24, “dedicated to exhibiting neglected works of cinema in their original medium” The streets of Chicago are clogged with scooters in a cutthroat competition for marketshare, behemoth commercial landlord The We Company (nee WeWork) has positioned itself as a tech company in anticipation of its IPO, and Disney … Continue reading “Stop Us Before We Disrupt Again”

2019 Reeling LGBTQ film festival

From ‘Shiny Shrimps’ to ‘Scream Queen,’ the annual Windy City tradition promises to entertain, inspire, amuse, arouse and break a few hearts Reeling, the second-oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world and a beloved Chicago cultural institution for more than 35 years, kicks off fall with an exciting slate of movies that showcases the diversity … Continue reading “2019 Reeling LGBTQ film festival”

rEvolution on the rise

How a Chicago-based agency transforms sports into an exponentially evolving world of possibilities rEvolution Integrated Sports Marketing scores on ideas from all over the place. Combining national brands with famous players and professional teams, the agency keeps its clients in the game with a head-explodingly grand assortment of concepts involving recreational vehicles, fishing holes, and … Continue reading “rEvolution on the rise”

Midwest Sci-Fi and Futurism Night

MIFF explores not-too-far-away realities, social issues, and the intersection of sci-fi and horror on June 4 at Landmark The Midwest Independent Film Festival presents Midwest Sci-Fi and Futurism Night as part of its monthly First Tuesdays screening series on June 4, 2019. The evening’s program includes short films depicting not-too-far-away realities, social issues explored through … Continue reading “Midwest Sci-Fi and Futurism Night”

mcgarrybowen creates new FosterMore campaign

#DonateYourSmallTalk encourages people to mention foster care in everyday conversation FosterMore, a coalition of entertainment, media, business and philanthropic organizations working to deliver a better future for America’s foster care youth, kicks off today its #DonateYourSmallTalk campaign just in time for May National Foster Care Month. The premise for FosterMore’s #DonateYourSmallTalk is simple: talking about … Continue reading “mcgarrybowen creates new FosterMore campaign”

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”

Slang signs Grammy-winning producer Anthony Kilhoffer

Vince Lawrence cuts a deal with his longtime friend, the legendary trackmaster Slang Music Group, the company founded by Chicago House Pioneer Vince Lawrence, has signed four-time Grammy-winning producer Anthony Kilhoffer for commercial representation. The move elevates the studio to a level of expertise, talent, and wisdom that is matched by few, if any, in … Continue reading “Slang signs Grammy-winning producer Anthony Kilhoffer”

Mike’s Hard Lemonade creates “brighter times”

Online takeover of Washington Post on April Fool’s day is part of three-year-old “Drink on Bright Side” campaign by Havas Reading any newspaper these days can be a tough chore, given how much bad news there is. And make no mistake, there is a lot of bad. Chicago-based Mike’s Hard Lemonade, its media agency Wavemaker … Continue reading “Mike’s Hard Lemonade creates “brighter times””

Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema, March 12 – April 24

Consolidated series presents premieres, partner screenings, special guests and sixteen films, from across the Asian continent Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Eight, the spring film series presenting sixteen films from across Asia, running March 12 through April 24, 2019. The schedule represents a consolidated schedule, with more … Continue reading “Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema, March 12 – April 24”

Reel Black List: Charles Andrew Gardner, actor

“I am most proud when I’m able to shift peoples’ perspectives through the work that I do.” Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, SAG-AFTRA Chicago local president Charles Andrew Gardner is an actor with a passion for illuminating the stories of the underrepresented. On-camera credits include episodes of The Chi and Chicago PD; feature … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Charles Andrew Gardner, actor”

Thanksgiving break: holiday viewing suggestions

From hip-hop snow angels to Lego parades, an adult-sized portion of casually-vetted Chicago content to help readers get the most out of the holiday Falling onto a couch in front of a TV is the final and most relaxing course of every good Thanksgiving meal. It pairs well with prime time football, Charlie Brown, The … Continue reading “Thanksgiving break: holiday viewing suggestions”

From beer to sci-fi: the many voices of Marshall Ross

“Structure matters and character point of view is a religion. You need to be really faithful.” Marshall Ross Long-time Cramer-Krasselt Chief Creative Officer Marshall Ross has been a storyteller for more than twenty years. Along the way, he has helped to create an enduring legacy of iconic branding, including Corona Extra’s now ubiquitous Find Your … Continue reading “From beer to sci-fi: the many voices of Marshall Ross”

Women in Comedy’s inaugural Short Screening

These filmmakers are not only naturally funny, but they’ve also been honing their chops in professional arenas for years One of the most unique film collections of the year will light up the creative business incubator 2112 next week. The Chicago Women in Comedy’s Comedy Short Screening will culminate a six-month workshop designed to help … Continue reading “Women in Comedy’s inaugural Short Screening”

Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns to Chicago September 12

Features seventeen films from across the Asian continents, presents premieres including Japanese zombie comedy “One Cut of the Dead” as Closing Night — tickets on sale now (Chicago — 13 August 2018) — Non-profit pan-Asian film organization Sophia’s Choice today announces Asian Pop-Up Cinema – Season Seven, the fall film series presenting seventeen films from … Continue reading “Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns to Chicago September 12”

Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box

A cornucopia of classic genre screenings, premieres, and events to take place at Chicago’s iconic Music Box Theatre.     From June 21st through June 28th, a cornucopia of genre screenings and events will take place at the Music Box Theatre for its second annual Cinepocalypse. The film festival grinds together a gory cocktail of … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse fest from June 21 – 28 at Music Box”

The unforgettable drama of “Raising Adults”

The “in your face” and “embarrassingly autobiographical” indie web series packs more drama than most, but that’s life   Chicago-based writer / producer Brittany Wagner is currently completing post-production for the second season of Raising Adults, a web series that lost an original cast member to suicide in February, and the actor who took his … Continue reading “The unforgettable drama of “Raising Adults””

Escape Pod’s Daley Plaza work addresses gun violence

The “Chicago Gun Share Program” debuts raises awareness for the national gun violence problem   Open for viewing from 3 p.m. today until May 16, the installation sparks conversation and raises funds for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence   (Chicago — 9 May 2018) The Escape Pod in partnership with the Brady Center … Continue reading “Escape Pod’s Daley Plaza work addresses gun violence”

Spoiler-free review: Colin Costello on “Lost In Space”

Audiences will want to get lost with these Robinsons Confession. I was never into Star Trek reruns as a kid. Yeah, I watched them and thought Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) had the best legs ever, but there was still something missing for me. That missing element I found with reruns of Lost in Space, which … Continue reading “Spoiler-free review: Colin Costello on “Lost In Space””

The future of paid family leave in “Zero Weeks”

Ky Dickens’ latest doc energizes a growing urgent discussion about an impending national crisis Chicago director Ky Dickens earned a lot of trust from the people she interviewed for Zero Weeks, a documentary about the importance of paid family leave. Asking for descriptions of intimate and often painful experiences, she combined a proven professional technique … Continue reading “The future of paid family leave in “Zero Weeks””

Laughlin Constable offers confidence to boys and girls

Dang, it’s been a rough week. Shootings in Vegas. The orange one passing paper towels like basketballs to homeless Puerto Ricans and Twitter-fighting with the mayor of San Juan. And I’m still scratching my head wondering what the hell is going on with American Horror Story this year. I clearly needed something uplifting to top … Continue reading “Laughlin Constable offers confidence to boys and girls”

“Stranger Things,” Energy BBDO, Rowley Samuel

Netflix cancels ‘Stranger Things’ bar Pop-up pop-culture bars are all the rage. In New York and LA, Tim Burton fans can do dinner and a show at “Beetlehouse.” Los Angeles is also home to the Star Wars-themed “Villainy and Scum” Cantina. And since August, Chicago has boasted the aptly named, “The Upside Down,” a Stranger … Continue reading ““Stranger Things,” Energy BBDO, Rowley Samuel”

Burrell and the new Toyota Camry ‘Strut’ for pizza

Although the Toyota Camry has traditionally been perceived as a “vanilla” kind of ride, the 2018 model’s bold look inspired a striking multi-channel campaign from several agencies, including Burrell Communications Group.

Titled, Strut, it highlights emotions as consumers become compelled to drive the new Toyota Camry for all the “wrong” reasons.

Public Housing Unit among shows headed to NY TV fest

Seven Chicago-produced TV pilots for have been selected for the 2017 New York Television Festival, which will light up the Big Apple in the third week of October. From a candid glimpse at life in the projects to a personal crisis in a suburban basement, the themes reflect a dynamic and exciting Windy City production scene.

Nimble Media creates 1,000 videos for elite universities

Director/producer John Yaworsky recently completed one of the biggest homework assignments of his life: 1,000 video pieces for Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities.

“I learned a lot,” says the owner of Wilmette’s Nimble Digital Media.

Over a span of 33 months, Yaworsky and his team provided strategy and created online content to supplement 70 graduate level digital courses at both of the elite Eastern institutions. Among the subjects they covered were technology management, ethics, sports industry management and real estate.

MIFF’s Nov. 15 Ad Shorts Night to premiere 12 films

The 7th annual Ad Community Shorts Night at the Midwest Independent Film Festival will screen Tuesday, Nov. 15 instead of its regular First Tuesday Nov. 1 date, deemed as being too close to Nov. 8 election night. They are:

Hell,” John Malkovich reads Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” while illustrations depicting humans’ worst atrocities animate edited, graphics by Ryan Gilbert and sound design by Brian Leitner.

Sign of the times: closing of Filmworkers Astro Lab

It was only a matter of time.  Filmworkers Astro Lab, one of only five remaining independent film processing labs in the entire country, has closed its doors, after more than 50 years — the last 12 as part of Filmworkers Club services to the local industry.

The lab’s last run of 35mm dailies last week was for MK Films, director Mark Klein’s tabletop company. 

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.

Street signage won’t drive traffic into empty malls

What a laugh!  Chicago may be the city that works (some of the time), but it has never really had much of a clue how to market itself to tourists — or locals for that matter.

Lately, when everyone hasn’t been busy trying to deflect attention from the relentless shooting rampages for which the city is garnering worldwide attention, it appears at least one Chicago government type has been trying to figure out how to get more tourists and locals to frequent the giant malls that line the northern end of Michigan Avenue.

50 local ad execs head for Cannes Lions next week

A CONTINGENT OF SOME 50 ADFOLKS from Chicago and another 15 from Detroit and Minneapolis will descend on the  South of France for the 59th Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, June 17-23, to learn from world’s greatest communicators and hopefully come home with a precious Gold Lion to show for their work.

Two by Four expands into smaller ad markets

He may not be Chicago’s glitziest advertising executive.  And certainly not its most egomaniacal.  But like the little engine that could, president and executive creative director David Stevenson gets the job done at Two by Four/Chicago, one of Chicago’s more enterprising — yes, even visionary — mid-sized ad agencies.

New “Rosie” show hyped as different – and now worse

Step right up ladies and gents and get your front row seats!  You too can see what promises to be one of the greatest and saddest spectacles in recent television history.  Yes, gather round for the “The Rosie Show” and witness its amazing feats of  self-destruction.

If Chicago-based “The Rosie Show” had its problems at the get-go last fall — and it had plenty of them — the talk show is far worse off now having, in essence, re-debuted in recent days as something entirely different, and infinitely worse, than it initially was.

Dream package prize awaits CSN script contest winner

The Chicago Screenwriters Networks’ screenwriting contest is officially underway for the fourth consecutive year and the enthusiastic new CSN board is determined to make this year’s contest the biggest and best yet.   

With the super grand prize a screenwriter’s dream-come-true, CSN expects a record number of entries this year, from well beyond the group’s 400 members.

Film Critics Awards back Jan. 7 after 5 year absence

After a five-year absence, the 22nd Chicago Film Critics Awards (CFCA) takes the spotlight at the Broadway Playhouse in Water Tower on Jan. 7, it again will be the first of the many awards presentations for Hollywood’s best that climax with the Oscars.

At CFCA’s first show in 1990, shy almost reclusive writer/director John Hughes received the first Commitment to Chicago Award. By then he had already had produced 11 films in Chicago.

CSNC sends message in new ‘Fans Best Friend’ spots

It might not have been fully apparent in Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s joke-filled “Fan’s Best Friend”-themed advertising to date.

But the message is clear — very clear — in the new CSNC fall advertising campaign from JacobsonRost/Chicago that breaks Friday:  CSNC wants to be THE place to turn to in Chicago for complete professional sports coverage.  The tag line for the campaign continues to be “Fan’s Best Friend.”

New integrated shops bust out of the norm

Once upon a time there was an incredibly vital commercial production community in Chicago, with a slew of interesting, vital and profitable outfits pushing a wide range of directors serving something we called the regional or secondary markets.  

This was also true of Minneapolis, Dallas, Detroit, Boston, Philly and Miami.  

Today, not so much.  Will the new post/hybrid companies make the same clumsy and fatal mistakes the production community made?

Actress Rondi Reed set for ‘Mike and Molly’ Season 2

Acclaimed Chicago actress Rondi Reed will head for L.A. in August to start Season Two as one of the leads in Mike and Molly, CBS’ Monday night breakout success sitcom.

While Reed had had roles in single episodes of some 17 network TV shows, Mike and Molly represents her first role in a continuing series.  

ReelChicago spoke to Reed about playing Peggy Biggs, Mike’s mother, how it came about and what it’s been like to work with one of Hollywood’s A-Teams. 

RC: How did Mike & Molly happen for you? 

How to win the reality TV show sweepstakes

So you live in the Midwest, and you have a killer idea for a reality show, what does it take to get it on the air? 

To answer this question to 60 eager producers assembled to hear consultant the experts – New York’s Peter Hamilton and local production vets Jonathan Towers, Mike Schmiedeler and Live Well Network’s Peggy Allen — explain how to get into the reality business.

Senate unananimously passes SB398 moving the tax credit sunset to 2021

ON FRIDAY, the state Senate unanimously passed SB398 that pushes the Illinois tax credit sunset 10 years hence to 2021 — and who knows what can happen by then.  All you film folks who phoned and faxed your state senator in protest should feel a great sense of accomplishment in your part in defeating the five year clause.  This shared action also showed what we can positively achieve when we rally together to move the film industry forward.

“The X Factor” auditions coming here April 27

The UK hit show, “The X Factor” – still another riff on talented amateur singers seeking fame and fortune – will hold one of its six nationwide auditions in Chicago on April 27 at the Sears Center Arena.  

What makes this show particularly well worth entering is the massive grand prize.  At $5 million, it’s the largest payoff for a winner of a reality TV show.  

The prize money will be paid out at $1 million a year for five years, along with a record deal with Sony Music.

50 Cent: Goodbye Grand Rapids, hello New Orleans

“Freelancer,” Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s fifth movie scheduled to start shooting in Grand Rapids March 28, has moved its production offices to New Orleans.

“That’s $20 million that walked out the door,” said West Michigan film commission Rick Hert, referring to “Freelancer’s” sizeable budget. 

His biggest concern, Hert said, “is local crew members migrating to other states for job, to Louisiana and Tennessee.  They had hoped this film would be their next project.”

Thank YOU, Ron Howard!

WHAT AN UNEXPECTEDLY NICE GESTURE. In surely what’s got to be a first in the 35-year annals of Hollywood-in-Chicago entertainment production, departing director Ron Howard, stars Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, and the cast and crew of “The Dilemma,” placed a full page ad in the Sun-Times Friday.

The ad thanked Chicago “for a great shoot and a great time in your town!”

The ad offered “Our special thanks to ?

SMS Productions ends 25 year business

One of Chicago’s most durable industry icons will “transition” from a lifetime of operating a film business to doing what he loves most ? teaching up-and-coming filmmakers and producing his own films.

Last Friday, Man Sung Sun finished selling off equipment and shutter his 25-year old SMS Productions and camera rental business at 1229 N. North Branch.

Man Sung will continue to service cameras and lenses out of his Hoffman Estates home.

IFO fielding calls about locations and incentives

IFO DIRECTOR BETSY STEINBERG is optimistic that Chicago will enjoy “a very busy summer” of Hollywood entertainment projects, based on the calls the offices has been fielding about locations and tax incentives.

That’s good to hear, since May marks the tenth month that Chicago has not not hosted any Hollywood movies or TV shows, excepting a nine-day reality pilot shoot. The sole local film was the indie “Polish Bar.”

Two TV series whose first seasons shot in Chicago have vaporized away.

“The Chaos Experiment” to thrill Grand Rapids

The cast and crew of “The Chaos Experiment,” an eco-terrorist thriller that filmed in Grand Rapids’ last September for a $7 million budget, will be the first to see it May 5 at its only theatrical screening.

After May 8-14 public showings at Celebration Cinema theatres, it will head for massive DVD distribution, said Rick Hert, West Michigan Film Commissioner.

Originally titled “The Chaos Experiment,” it was directed by Philippe Martinez, head of Georgia-based Cinepro Pictures.

Stars are Val Kilmer, Armand Assante, Eric Roberts, Megan Brown and Patrick Muldoon.

MovieMaker Magazine rates Chicago number one!

“MovieMaker Magazine” has more than made up for having overlooked Chicago in past “best” lists by declaring it the country’s number one city for indie filmmaking in its ninth annual ranking of U.S. movie cities.

Making this unexpected pleasure even more sublime was the fact that our that town beat out the Big Apple, ranked three, and such incentive-happy cities as Shreveport, number four and Detroit, number 11.

Writer Steve Conrad makes his directorial debut with a Chicago-set comedy, “The Promotion”

Barring extreme wealth or hermetics, everyone uses the grocery store. It is the great equalizer ? the marketplace where all socioeconomic groups can co-exist side by side ? in pursuit of daily bread.

Inspired by this reality, writer and director Steve Conrad turned it into his feature directorial debut, “The Promotion,” a comedy shot in Chicago.

PRODUCTION CENTRAL

SIX NEW HD SPOTS returns the LaSalle St. law of Cochran & Montgomery to TV advertising for the first time since the death in 2004 of Johnny Cochran of O.J. Simpson trial fame.

SPI-TV shot six spots in the firm’s office, three with attorneys in their office and three in a conference room with other attorneys.

“Instead of a hard message like many law firm spots, each of these spots has a certain message,” says SPI-TV partner Jim Demas, the writer/producer/director. SPI-TV’s Roger Gazga was DP; Product Productions handled lighting.

Film Wisconsin advocates didn’t alter Decker’s position on changing state incentives start date

Proponents of the Film Wisconsin incentives bill eager for the incentives to begin July 1, 2007 instead of January, 2008, got a chance to express their views at the Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance hearings in Madison Tuesday.

Unfortunately, their turn to speak didn’t come until the end of the hearings on the Governor’s 2007-2009 Biennial Budget.

The proposed SB24, the incentives package, has been blocked from starting July 1, 2007 by powerful Joint Finance Committee co-chairman Sen. Russell Decker.

Two Kodak favorites to retire Jan. 31

TWO KODAK VETERANS have taken advantage of Kodak’s tempting early retirement package and will leave the company Jan. 31.

Regional marketing and sales manager J.J. Johnston had spent 33 years at Kodak, while regional account manager Ben Stone was close behind with 27 years.

In early January, Kodak will announce its reorganization of personnel placement and how territories will be divided as it moves deeper ito digital imaging.

Speculation is that the reorganization will not call for replacing the two Chicago veterans.

For holiday cakes and cookies, nobody does it better than the Mexican BomBon bakery in Pilsen

One of the most delightful things about the Pilsen neighborhood is the BomBon Bakery, 1508 W. 18th St., whose confections are what sweet tooth daydreams are made of. Cookies, cakes and candies galore!

Husband and wife owners, Luis Perea and Laura Cid-Perea, took a cue from classier and usually much smaller European bakeries and kept things simple by not adding tables.

This is strictly a pick up shop, although, trust me, you’ll slam half of what’s in your bag before you make it the door.

Bucktown’s Andrzej Grill may a hole-in-the-wall but it serves a feast of true Polish specialties

There are dime-a-dozen dumps that you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. And there are the never-knew-it-existed hole-in-the-walls that you come upon unexpectedly. These are usually secret places that whip up oversized portions of true ethnic cuisine for very little dough.

Tiny, authentic Polish hideaway Andrzej Grill at 1022 N. Western is just such a place.

No sooner were my friend Lisa and I seated when almost immediately the owner popped out of the kitchen and tore over (slo-mo, actually) with a menu written in Polish and English in her hand.

Business flies sky high for Filmontage’s unique ?boutique video studio’ in a very unusual locale

Filmontage’s Vladimir Van Maule wants you to fly the friendly skies of? Naperville?

Van Maule lives in Naper Aero, an exclusive airplane community of 100 homes in the western suburb where every home has a small plane, two runways and a hangar instead of the conventional SUV and two-car garage.

“We’re a boutique video studio,” says Van Maule, a director/camera/editor who’s lived/flown in/from Naper Aero for 10 years. His studio, however, is uniquely different.

When Van Maule’s Cessna 182 is parked outside, the hangar is transformed into a 2,000-sq.

Alshaibi personal Iraq doc “Nice Bombs” will be the opening night film at CUFF in August

Usama Alshaibi’s return to his native Iraq after a 25-year absence forms the heart of his new feature documentary “Nice Bombs.”

“Nice Bombs” will have its world premiere as the opening night film of the 13th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, which runs Aug. 17-24.

An Iraqi native who grew up in the U.S., Alshaibi hadn’t been to Iraq since his childhood, when he returned after the U.S. invasion, with his father and his wife, fellow filmmaker Kristie Alshaibi.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

MEGAN VIDAS JOINS THE IFO in charge of the TV commercials sector in mid-November. Vidas, wife of uber-rep Rich Newman, is a former producer of political videos and commercials, who once was with political consultant David Axelrod and has a background in public affairs. Vidas completes the IFO roster of eight employees.

THE BANKRUPCTY AUCTION Tuesday of Superior Street’s assets yielded $125,000 to pay creditors instead of the hoped-for $750,000.

Luminair’s Elder and Hollywood pros produce $500,000 “Boxboarders” mockumentary in L.A.

No sooner back from south of the border shooting Rick Bayless’ “Mexico One Plate at a Time” bowing Sept. 12 on Ch. 11, Luminair’s George Elder headed for California for his second feature.

“Boxboarders!” is a mockumentary written and directed by Hollywood’s Rob Hedden and shot in his home town of Laguna Beach.

Produced for $500,000, it was shot in Hedden’s home town of Laguna Beach. Hedden, whose credits widely range from “Clockstoppers” to many “reunion” TV shows and sitcoms, and Jay Smith (Oscar winner “Two Soldiers”) were Elder’s co-producers.

Independent Production Roundup

THE COMEDY “ALLEYBALL,” co-written by director Dan Consiglio and actor and “Alleyball” star Johnny Ray Meeks, starts filming June 18 on Chicago locations.

The story revolves around Stuart (Meeks) at a bittersweet crossroads when his girlfriend leaves for a two-month job in Portland. Instead of a carefree summer of hanging out with his buddies, he is threatened with the dark cloud of “maturity.”

Producer John Yaworsky has gathered an impressive L.A.

Independent Production Roundup

PAULA FROEHLE is in production on her 2004 IFP/Chicago Production Fund-winning short “Up on the Rope.” Froehle is shooting on an elaborate set at Resolution Digital Studios, part of the Production Fund’s $100,000 in in-kind goods and services.

She’s the production program director at Columbia College and co-owner of the avant-jazz label Atavistic.

Froehle adapted the script, a love-story about a 12-year-old tight rope walker who has spent his entire life 10 feet off the ground, from a short story by Cristina Peri Rossi.

Optimus “spots” air on Comcast

THIRTY OPTIMUS “SPOTS”?not about the post house, but 30-second creative confections by all Optimus employees and not just editors?have been airing as commercials on Comcast.

Staffers were told they could work as individuals or in teams. The only rules were the length, conform to TV standards and end with the distinctive Optimus logo.

There was no overall name or theme for the exercise, said client services director Doug Manley, who with assistant editor Dustin LaForce, whipped out their “spot” in a couple of hours.

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.

John Malkovich comes to Chicago for more than starring role in a Steppenwolf world premiere

INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS men’s fashion designer John Malkovich will be in Chicago to show his Uncle Kimono line of ready-to-wear creations.

What? You thought Malkovich was an actor? Sure, he dabbles as a thespian between high fashion assignments. In fact, he’s appearing at Steppenwolf Theatre Company April 9-June 5 in the world premiere of “Lost Land” by Stephen Jeffreys.

But he’s really coming to town for the rag trade. And why not?

Guinevere Turner stars in Crouch’s $350K horror pic shooting 16 B&W in November

Writer/director Catherine Crouch reunites with “Stray Dogs” star Guinevere Turner (“Go Fish”) for Crouch’s sophomore feature “Metamora,” a horror pic she described as “a love triangle between two people.”

Crouch’s usual DP, former Columbia College classmate and reality TV regular Marie-Jo?lle Rizk, will shoot on black and white 16mm in Illinois and Indiana from Nov. 20 to Dec. 15.

Ben Affleck calls: Scott Smith makes Project Greenlight’s final top three

What made waiting for the phone call from Project Greenlight so nerve wracking for director Scott Smith, who was waiting to hear whether he was still in the game, “was that I didn’t know whether it would be a good call or a disappointing call,” he said.

It was a very good call, as it turned out. Smith was told by Project Greenlight’s executive producers Ben Affleck and Chris Moore that he was one of the three finalists for PGL’s ultimate filmmaking prize: directing a $1 million movie and having that experience documented in a series over the Bravo cable network.

Going to the theatre?

By Jonathan Abarbanel

If you’ve got tickets for your favorite Off-Loop theater, better call first to make sure it’s open.

Days before Thanksgiving, Chicago’s Department of Revenue shut down six Off-Loop theatres in a surprise enforcement sweep of Public Place of Amusement (PPA) licensing laws. All theaters, clubs, concert halls and sports venues are required to have a PPA, issued only after an inspection task force signs off on the venue.

Producer vows ?the magic will
happen’ to bring script to screen

“Sweet Home Chicago” up next for Epiphany Films’ Dan Halperin and Mark Frazel

North Side dentist learns the pain of filmmaking with first indie film

Jet Chiranand just finished post for “Kyle & Heidi,” the feature he made at his dental office Celebrity Smiles.

Lumberyard’s theatrically self-
distributed feature plays here

Lumberyard Productions’ Thomas Stelter, Alek Petrovic and Eric Nordness. Their feature premieres at the Biograph April 25.

Multi-episode doc set for PBS

Gita Saedi

During her six year journey to discover “The New Americans,” Gita Saedi has crossed paths with some remarkable families who have made the most wrenching journey of all: leaving their native countries for the myriad opportunities and perils that make u

Could ‘Super Sucker’ usurp Super Bowl Sunday?

Not everyone is a football freak glued to his TV set on Super Bowl Sunday, reasoned independent filmmaker Jeff Daniels and his managing partner, Bob Brown, of Purple Rose Films. So why not capitalize on Midwesterners who would rather get out of the house and take in a good movie.

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