Ashley Rice joins Cinespace as President and co-managing partner

Cinespace Studios has appointed Ashley Rice as president and co-managing partner. Rice joins Cinespace from Legendary Television where she managed operations, including production, post-production and production finance, and worked as vp of production at ABC Studios, where she managed production for Shonda Rhimes and Mark Gordon. Rice will join COO Eoin Egan and CFO Keith Gee … Continue reading “Ashley Rice joins Cinespace as President and co-managing partner”

Harry Lennix confirms he’s Martian Manhunter

Acclaimed actor Harry Lennix (The Matrix, Man of Steel) may have been born in Chicago, but soon the 56-year-old star, star of television’s hit series Blacklist will be from Mars – as Martian Manhunter in HBO Max’s upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The veteran stage and screen actor confirmed that his appearance will reveal that … Continue reading “Harry Lennix confirms he’s Martian Manhunter”

Snowman transforms into Beerman for Coors Light

In a holiday season when nothing feels typical, Coors Light is introducing a festive tradition just for grownups – because, let’s be honest, adults deserve to enjoy the holiday season, too. Meet Beerman, a perfectly imperfect drinking buddy designed to keep your beers cold and your spirits up. In fact, Beerman is the holiday hero … Continue reading “Snowman transforms into Beerman for Coors Light”

Chicago’s Harry Lennix hints at Martian Manhunter role

Last week, Warner Bros made big headlines by announcing the release of Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League. In 2016, Snyder stepped away from the production and was replaced by Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon, who supervised several rewrites and reshoots to the film that saw many elements cut out. One … Continue reading “Chicago’s Harry Lennix hints at Martian Manhunter role”

CRC names Dave Dakich as new General Manager

Versatile industry vet becomes the third GM in the studio’s storied 44-year history Chicago Recording Company has named Dave Dakich as its new General Manager. A veteran of the Chicago independent music scene, Dakich spent four years as CRC’s Director of Business Development before becoming the third General Manager in the company’s 44-year history. He … Continue reading “CRC names Dave Dakich as new General Manager”

Dakich & Steele and the story of “Chicago Bleeds Blues”

The opening track punches into a stomping drumbeat that lays the foundation for a triumphant guitar melody. In early 2018, Chicago musicians Dave Dakich and David Steele got together with the intention of making music for film and commercial productions. Two months and three recording session later, they had completed a full-length album that has … Continue reading “Dakich & Steele and the story of “Chicago Bleeds Blues””

Chicago’s wonder women talk about “Wonder Woman”

Does it take a “gal” (see what I did there?) to save the much-maligned and divisive DCEU?

After the critical floggings of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, it would seem 4th time is the charm as Wonder Woman is a massive critical success.

Coming in at a 94% fresh tomato rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Amazonian Princess looks bound for a commercial success as well.

Ziegelman’s “Geek Lounge” serves up nerds and laughs

Filmmaker Larry Ziegelman’s new webseries, Geek Lounge, dramatizes the interaction of six friends who hang out in a bar that caters to lifelong Trekkies, obsessive Harry Potter fans, meticulous comic book historians and everything else that belongs within the provenance of nerdism.

“I like to describe it as Cheers meets Silicon Valley,” explains Ziegelman, the writer and director who created seven of the ten episodes and worked with cast member Madelyn Murphy on the rest.

A surprising twist to Ziegelman’s debut music video

Director Larry Ziegelman wreaks horror from heartache in his first music video for “Stung,” a song about lost love from Brooklyn artist Ivan Rubenstein-Gillis’ 2016 album, “Lion.”

Introducing a surprise twist at the end, he puts a creepy shudder into the lush narrative without missing a beat.

Ziegleman met Rubenstein-Gillis through a mutual Chicago friend, who funded the “fairly tight” budget. The director’s dilemma was selecting exactly which one of Rubinstein-Gillis’ songs to use.

“Batman vs. Superman?” Ad execs weigh in on the victor

As you undoubtedly know, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” one of 2016’s most anticipated films – produced for a stunning $410 million — opens globally at theaters today.

Chicago is no stranger to the DC Universe, having first doubled as Gotham, in 2005’s “Batman Begins” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” and then morphing into Metropolis in 2013’s “Man of Steel.”

“Batman vs. Superman” prepro starts in Pontiac studios

At a reported budget of a jaw-dropping $250 million, “Batman vs. Superman” will unquestionably be the biggest movie ever shot in Michigan (and yes, we’re jealous)! The budget alone is equivalent to about a year’s gross income from film that Michigan enjoyed for about three years, before the current governor drastically curtailed the state’s film incentives. 

June 18 first Superman movie extras casting call

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

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

Superman flies into Chicago to film here this summer

“SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL” lands in Chicago in early summer for a reported 12 weeks of prep and 12 weeks of filming.  The  Warner Bros. blockbuster-budgeted adventure/fantasy stars handsome, young Brit star Henry Cavill  (“The Tudors”) as the Caped Crusader and feisty Amy Adams (“The Fighter”) as smart, tough, warm ambitious and adoring Lois Lane.

WME packaging 11Eleven’s remake of “Doberman Gang”

WME is packaging two of the several projects that local producer Darren Reagan is developing through his 11Eleven Entertainment.

The agency is onboard for Reagan and “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan’s remake of the “Doberman Gang” film series, and a cable series based on Cynthia Buchanan’s 1972 novel “Maiden.”  WME represents Millan for entertainment projects.

LeMay’s feature doc “Desert Bayou” delves into Katrina’s human psyche in tale of two families

When Hurricane Katrina rocked New Orleans in 2005, filmmaker Alex LeMay became fixated on the soul behind the ruin.

Seizing on a short item he read in The New York Times, and wanting to stir thought-provoking reflection, LeMay produced feature length documentary “Desert Bayou,” that will premiere during the week of Katrina’s second anniversary.

Distributed by Echelon, “Desert Bayou” opens Aug. 24 at well-known Quad Theatre in New York, followed by a nationwide release a week later. LeMay said it will hit Chicago in September.

“Steel City,” only Illinois feature at Sundance, plays IFP?an interview with director Brian Jun

The only Illinois-shot feature at the Sundance Film Festival this year was 26-year-old Brian Jun’s gritty family drama “Steel City,” shot in his native Alton.

“Steel City” stars John Heard (“Prison Break”), America Ferrera (“Real Women Have Curves”), and Steppenwolf company member Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne”).

Heard had starred in Jun’s short “Researching Raymond Burke” at the Fox Searchlab, after his earlier short “Jimmy Brown” screened at the Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival.

Independent Filmmaker Day on Zoom November 18-19

Rubenstein Business Law and Ornstein Schuler State Film Tax Credits present Independent Filmmaker Day, held Live via Zoom on November 18th & 19th, 2020. IFD helps independent creators from around the world develop new projects, connect within the industry, and champion collaborative and impactful storytelling at all stages.  At each event, you will hear from acclaimed industry experts … Continue reading “Independent Filmmaker Day on Zoom November 18-19”

Michael Shannon responds to Snyder’s ‘Justice League’

Back in 2013, Chicago fave actor, Michael Shannon, played General Zod in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. While the Chicago-shot film was divisive, it still grossed in the neighborhood of $600 million. And no one has ever criticized Shannon’s portrayal of the Kryptonian general. Shannon, always the professional, has never had a bad word to … Continue reading “Michael Shannon responds to Snyder’s ‘Justice League’”

“Geek Lounge” leads comedy lineup at May’s MIFF

Larry Ziegelman’s funny poke at geek culture will be one of several short films and web series screening at the May 1st Midwest Independent Film Festival 2018 Comedy Shorts Night. The evening begins with a panel discussion about crowdfunding. According to acting MIFF director Mike Kwielford, a handful of filmmakers will get real about what … Continue reading ““Geek Lounge” leads comedy lineup at May’s MIFF”

Digitas, Indianapolis Art, Box Office, SNL in the news

DigitasLBI, AOR for Maytag, has produced a humorous new thirty second spot called Delivery that supports Maytag’s tagline, “What’s Inside Matters.” Directed by Martin Granger from Moxie Pictures, the spot follows the Maytag Man as he (and clones) stands in for a variety of appliances as they leave the factory and are delivered to various … Continue reading “Digitas, Indianapolis Art, Box Office, SNL in the news”

2:00 a.m. — Liz Morris, “Chicago Fire”

Kids, it’s 2:00 a.m., do you know where your parent is? If your parent happens to be local photographer Elizabeth Morris, then you know she is probably capturing action on the set of “Chicago Fire.” And doing it really, really well. I first met Liz on the set of a 2012 DC Comics fan film … Continue reading “2:00 a.m. — Liz Morris, “Chicago Fire””

Costello’s director journey continues, part 2 – an essay

So here we were. NJ Bourque and myself. Yep, we were going to do it. We were going to make a short film on our own and I was going to direct this puppy.

On the surface, I felt as confident as Jordan in the paint, as I had worked with some of the best in the business — Spike Lee, Michael Bay, Marcus Nispel, Jaume Collet-Sera, Pam Thomas and Malcolm Lee. I was ready. I could do this. Yes, yes.

All of that sounded great over wine with NJ. However, in the morning, while drinking coffee, I was more like, “What the fuck have I committed myself to?”

2012 shoot days of 1,808 up 45% over previous year

Chicago production had its busiest year ever in 2012.  A total of 406 total projects across all visual media shot 1,808 days.  This is up 45%, when 391 projects shot 1,234 days the year before, according to stats provided by the Chicago Film Office direct Rich Moskal.

The tally was bolstered by a record-breaking four episodic TV series shooting entire seasons in Chicago.

“The closest we came before was in ’98 or ’99 when we had three shows shooting,” Illinois Film Office director Betsy Steinberg says.

In 2011, TV activity up 30%, spots 60%, features flat

Here for the sixth consecutive year is ReelChicago’s exclusive and roundup of entertainment and commercial production activity for the previous year, based on official Chicago Film Office reports.  

On the heels of 2010’s record $161 million in in-state production spending, 2011 was a mixed bag, with the loss of two TV series, the addition of at least one series, and just one studio production — albeit a big one.

‘Contagion’ generated $12.5 mm here in film revenues

Director Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion thriller, centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease, opened in Chicago this weekend, almost a year after cast and crew arrived here last Oct. 19 to begin a two-month shoot.

Budgeted at $60 million, the Warner Bros. epic stars Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne. 

Six weeks of non-stop TV show and feature filming

Regardless of what you want to call it – a perfect storm, a surfeit of riches – the next few weeks will be the “crazy busiest,” as Local 476’s Mark Hogan puts it, but he’s far from complaining.

Action started July 12, with the FX TV movie Powers and will accelerate the following weeks, five high-profile entertainment projects will be in some phase of production in and around Chicago.

Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal says we haven’t seen such activity since the late ‘90s, “when we had going three on-going TV series and numerous features.”

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.

Toronto comedy director Shamata now on Dictionary Films’ roster

TORONTO-BASED DIRECTOR Jesse Shamata formerly on the roster of Imported Artists in Canada and known for his comedic vision, has joined the roster of Dictionary Films, the 18-month old division of Cutters, and his first official U.S. market representation.  

“Jesse is a writer, director, editor, a great collaborator with the creatives – he does it all,” says Dictionary executive producer Megan Maples about their new addition. 

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”

Cinespace Studios has sold for $1.1B to TPG Real Estate

Alex Pissios has confirmed that Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and Cinespace Toronto, the amazing empire that he and his uncle Nick Mirkopolous built on a dream, has been sold to TPG Real Estate, a West Coast based global alternative asset manager. “It’s a done deal!” said Pissios. “I’m around for six more months.” After that, … Continue reading “Cinespace Studios has sold for $1.1B to TPG Real Estate”

Disney in Chicago with BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Happy kids of all ages will return to Michigan Avenue on Saturday, November 20 for 30th Annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. This official start to the holiday season is produced by The Magnificent Mile Association. The festive, free weekend filled with family-friendly fun culminates with the memory-making parade as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World … Continue reading “Disney in Chicago with BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival”

9/11 Museum to open in Chicago area

Chicago native Gary Marlon Suson, an FDNY Hon. Battalion Chief who served 7 months as the official photographer at Ground Zero for the FDNY is donating a large cache of his image collection for the 9/11 Museum set to open at Barrington High School in Illinois. The opening on September 10, 2021 will honor the 20th anniversary of the attacks … Continue reading “9/11 Museum to open in Chicago area”

Jeep & Ram Trucks Test Tracks at Chicago Auto Show

Fan-favorite attractions such as the Camp Jeep and Ram Trucks Territory test tracks will return to the 2021 Chicago Auto Show special edition, scheduled for July 15-19 at McCormick Place. This news comes approximately two weeks following the official announcement that the show will be allowed to open its doors to fans this summer. The Chicago Auto … Continue reading “Jeep & Ram Trucks Test Tracks at Chicago Auto Show”

Navy Pier Flyover links north & south Lakefront Trail

Years in the waiting, the amazing Navy Pier Flyover is officially open. The transformative pedestrian and bike bridge links the two halves of Chicago’s signature Lakefront Trail and creates an uninterrupted, 18-mile ribbon from 71st Street to Hollywood Avenue. “The Lakefront Trail is undoubtedly one of Chicago’s crown jewels—a reputation that has only been amplified thanks … Continue reading “Navy Pier Flyover links north & south Lakefront Trail”

REVIEW: Family, friendly Thunder Force

Warning: contains spoilers. Last week Netflix released the Chicago-set feature film Thunder Force, starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy as well as an extensive cast of recognizable faces. This family friendly, slapstick, “action and adventure comedy” is currently ranked #1 in the U.S. in Netflix’s top ten trending list.  And … Continue reading “REVIEW: Family, friendly Thunder Force”

Coors Light, Seltzer Big Game ad runs in dreams

During the Super Bowl, commercial breaks are notoriously swamped with beer advertisements. A certain, other beer brand seemingly controls the ad space – so much so that Coors is legally locked out from playing on TV screens nationwide during the Big Game. However, AB has announced it is sitting out Super Bowl LV this year. … Continue reading “Coors Light, Seltzer Big Game ad runs in dreams”

Film Independent Spirit Awards announces nominations

Film Independent announced nominations for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Not just another pretty face on the awards circuit, the Spirit Awards are the primary fundraiser for the nonprofit Film Independent’s year-round slate of programs, which cultivate the careers of emerging filmmakers and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Film Independent President Josh … Continue reading “Film Independent Spirit Awards announces nominations”

Radio host McNeil fired after ‘Degrading’ tweet

Chicago-area radio host Dan McNeil was fired by the station’s owner, Entercom, after a “degrading and humiliating” tweet about ESPN reporter Maria Taylor. On Monday, Taylor was working as the sideline reporter for ESPN’s Monday Night Football game between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, when McNeil compared Taylor’s outfit to a porn star. … Continue reading “Radio host McNeil fired after ‘Degrading’ tweet”

Picture North teams up with Patrick Mahomes

Picture North and director Martin Rodahl get fans excited for 2020 NFL season with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Leading up to the 2020 NFL season kickoff, production company Picture North and director Martin Rodahl have collaborated with client BioSteel, a sports nutrition and hydration company making inroads into the US market, to make … Continue reading “Picture North teams up with Patrick Mahomes”

Jeremy Pinckert talks commercial shoots in COVID Era

Director Jeremy Pinckert of Explore goes behind the scenes for the making of commercials in the Covid Era. Explore is a full-service commercial production company located in Chicago at 311 W Superior St, Suite 218. When we embark on a new project we always feel a sense of excitement. A little necessary anxiety for the … Continue reading “Jeremy Pinckert talks commercial shoots in COVID Era”

Explore delivers retro hazy 1985 Beer in a 1985 DeLorean

Can anyone come up with a better way to deliver the retro hazy IPA, 1985 Beer, than a 1985 DeLorean. Explore pulls this off in true “Back to the Future” style. This is one to truly enjoy! Explore, a commercial and content production company with offices in Chicago and Indiana, recently produced a shoot depicting … Continue reading “Explore delivers retro hazy 1985 Beer in a 1985 DeLorean”

Chicago filmmakers treat us to Vanlife at its Lowest & Best

Chicago filmmakers, Andrew Morgan and co-director Nick Nummerdor set out to make a film about the reclusive, and enigmatic American automotive subculture known as “vanning.’ Welcome to Sleeze Lake! It’s 1977 and the idealistic message of the hippie counter-culture has played a decade long game of telephone with America’s youth. Still searching for freedom and … Continue reading “Chicago filmmakers treat us to Vanlife at its Lowest & Best”

Havas concepts, sells, produces Hefty spots in 2 weeks

This must have been a hefty job. Like really hefty. Word has gotten to Reel Chicago that Havas concepted, sold, produced, shot, edited, composed music and sound design, audio mixed, colored and trafficked three Hefty spots in just 2 and a half weeks.  John Norman, Chief Creative Officer at Havas Chicago is energized and encouraged after … Continue reading “Havas concepts, sells, produces Hefty spots in 2 weeks”

New Normal: Cinespace more than just a studio

Editor’s Note: The world changed right before our very eyes. We now work, live, exercise and entertain ourselves in our homes. This is the new normal. In this new on-going series, we check in on ad agencies, production companies, post-houses, and anyone else who wants to talk about their personal experiences during this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Located … Continue reading “New Normal: Cinespace more than just a studio”

Mayor Lightfoot is back with more stay-at-home tips

Welcome to Week number five of staying-at-home due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. While Chicagoans are hunkered down, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been busy with creative agency partner Havas Chicago creating another lighthearted PSA. The goal this time – inspire the city to stay home and fill out their Census forms. The Mayor, should … Continue reading “Mayor Lightfoot is back with more stay-at-home tips”

Mayor puts foot down in witty new PSAs from Havas

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot is educating the City of Chicago on how she’s staying home and saving lives through baking, decorating, playing music and sipping tea. Through a series of PSAs the Mayor promotes home activities and social distancing as cities across the country move to bend the curve of the pandemic. To produce these … Continue reading “Mayor puts foot down in witty new PSAs from Havas”

‘Chicago Overcoat’ picked up for second run

Ten years after its world premiere, the locally-produced mob thriller Chicago Overcoat has been picked up for a second run by Indie Rights. A re-mastered version of the 2009 film is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with more platforms to follow. Overcoat tells the story of an aging hitman and a washed-up … Continue reading “‘Chicago Overcoat’ picked up for second run”

Ogilvy helps CDW launch ‘Modern Modernization Today’

From Silicon Valley to business media to our culture at-large, talk of the latest trend or the next big thing often results in a lot of fluff and little substance. For people who work in information technology, the pressure to be “future-facing” can be especially intense. Tech solutions provider CDW understands the challenges their IT … Continue reading “Ogilvy helps CDW launch ‘Modern Modernization Today’”

DePaul film brings holiday magic to State St.

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

Wieden+Kennedy does ‘Chicago Style’ for Nike

Windy City people and pride abound in new 60-second ‘Sport Changes Everything’ commercial Chicago sports, culture, and attitude come to life in a new spot for Nike’s Sport Changes Everything campaign by Wieden+Kennedy. Titled, Chicago Style, the minute-long commercial packs a no-nonsense series of references and metaphors into a food order at a classic Windy … Continue reading “Wieden+Kennedy does ‘Chicago Style’ for Nike”

French Butter shoots Home Chef for OKRP

Director Brett Froomer highlights people, food, and simplicity in new campaign featuring at-home settings A new campaign for the meal kit brand Home Chef, created by Chicago agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul and directed by French Butter’s Brett Froomer, shows everyday people tackling the task of making delicious, great-looking meals at home in a way … Continue reading “French Butter shoots Home Chef for OKRP”

MPG’s Keith Walker helps Oprah win Emmy

Cinematographer filmed ’60 Minutes’ segment about the National Memorial for Peace and Justice dedicated to nation’s lynching victims   Media Process Group cofounder Keith Walker helped Oprah Winfrey and 60 Minutes win an Emmy by commemorating a brutal chapter of American history. In a segment titled The Legacy of Lynching, the Chicago cinematographer filmed Winfrey’s … Continue reading “MPG’s Keith Walker helps Oprah win Emmy”

Hawley and Amoaku help film industry move forward

Newly installed office-holders explain their plans for keeping Chicago and Illinois on the path of success The thriving regional film industry is only going to get better, according to two of its recently appointed top leaders. Illinois Film Office Executive Director Peter Hawley and Director of the Chicago Film Office Kwame Amoaku described their visions … Continue reading “Hawley and Amoaku help film industry move forward”

Siskel presents ‘Toni Morrision: The Pieces I Am’

The Film Center will screen the “generous and intelligent doc” Friday, August 23 through Thursday, August 29 As a venue that celebrates all art forms and a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center mourns the loss of the celebrated Black author and Nobel laureate Toni … Continue reading “Siskel presents ‘Toni Morrision: The Pieces I Am’”

Cinespace’ Pissios “Caregiver for a Day” at Sinai Health

The President of one of the world’s largest film studios works with Chicago afterschool program to promote volunteering and youth mentoring On Wednesday, March 13, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios President and CEO Alex Pissios volunteered at Sinai Health System as “Caregiver for a Day” during the afterschool program with students from Plamundon Elementary School. Mr. … Continue reading “Cinespace’ Pissios “Caregiver for a Day” at Sinai Health”

The future of the Illinois film industry looks brighter

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

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”

Carbon thrills with C+K on new Cedar Fair campaign

Just in time for roller-coaster season, the studio and the agency team up on four adrenaline-soaked spots for Cedar Fair Entertainment, owner of 11 amusement parks across the U.S. and Canada. Following the success of Carbon’s creepily ominous 2017 teaser film for Mystic Timbers, Cramer-Krasselt Senior Art Director David Vaca and his team hatched an … Continue reading “Carbon thrills with C+K on new Cedar Fair campaign”

Energy BBDO, 5 Gum teach teens to live with no regrets

The moving stories of five elderly people come to life in a powerful new 5 Gum campaign that broke yesterday.   A series of digital videos by Energy BBDO for 5 Gum intends to motivate teens to live life to the fullest. Documenting a group of seniors who reveal one specific regret that has shaped … Continue reading “Energy BBDO, 5 Gum teach teens to live with no regrets”

mcgarrybowen mints cryptocurrency backed by bacon

After 100 years of making bacon and hot dogs, Oscar Mayer is paving the way in the burgeoning cryptocurrency landscape by introducing “Bacoin,” the first-ever cryptocurrency backed by the gold standard of Oscar Mayer Bacon. Last week, the cold cuts and meat company announced it is giving away a limited amount of Bacoin that fans … Continue reading “mcgarrybowen mints cryptocurrency backed by bacon”

Chicago/Mexico’s “En Algun Lugar” reflects the times

The Chicago-based production company – Iconoclast Films – shot En Algun Lugar in Chicago and Mexico. It has already screened at eleven festivals and has taken home major awards such as Best Foreign Feature and Best Director at the London Independent Film Awards 2018, Best LGBTQ Feature and Best Producer (Aric Jackson) at the Oniros … Continue reading “Chicago/Mexico’s “En Algun Lugar” reflects the times”

SXSW: 72andSunny, Dropbox get active through murals

If it’s early March, then that means SXSW beckons for artists from film, TV, music and advertising to make an annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas and explore, inspire and create. It’s mecca. This year, Dropbox and 72andSunny LA teamed up to create an combustive environment where artists were encouraged to unleash their creativity on a … Continue reading “SXSW: 72andSunny, Dropbox get active through murals”

Energy BBDO & Alert Caffeine Gum got this thing now

I like a tasty donut with my coffee (and now, thanks to Charlotte, vegan donuts). A garlic bagel with lox, cream cheese and capers as well? You betcha. But gum? Hmm. According to a quirky new campaign for Alert Gum by Chicago’s Energy BBDO, caffeine gum’s a thing now. Alert Caffeine Gum is a first-of-its-kind … Continue reading “Energy BBDO & Alert Caffeine Gum got this thing now”

Chris Pratt sings “I Like Beer” in 2nd Michelob Ultra spot

Supporting its mantra that drinkers can stay fit and enjoy beer, Michelob Ultra has scheduled, for the very first time, two Super Bowl spots. The first, titled, The Perfect Fit, also starred Chris Pratt and featured The Guardians of the Galaxy star preparing for his very first Super Bowl spot. Its sequel, titled I Like … Continue reading “Chris Pratt sings “I Like Beer” in 2nd Michelob Ultra spot”

2:32 p.m. — 321 Fast Draw

It’s getting close to quitting time for most businesses, but 321 Fast Draw is preparing to work well into the night. “Three videos need to be done for ESPN,” says partner Sal Pecoraro. “It’s a simple, 2D animation explaining an app.” Pecoraro founded 321 Fast Draw with former college friend Ken Nilsson and production vet … Continue reading “2:32 p.m. — 321 Fast Draw”

3:02 p.m. — Periscope Audio & Post

Periscope Post & Audio handles a lot of tasks in the production industry, and many of them don’t begin until after 5 o’clock. Today is no exception. “We work on all different size projects,” says founder Mike Nehs. “From tiny indies and music videos up to multimillion-dollar features. Tonight, we have dailies going on for … Continue reading “3:02 p.m. — Periscope Audio & Post”

24/7 — Studio Mechanics Local 476

The members of Studio Mechanics Local 476, the Chicago branch of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union, work behind the scenes of every Cinespace production. Without their contribution, the magic that comes out of Cinespace would be much more difficult to make. On a typical production, according to Business Manager Mark Hogan, … Continue reading “24/7 — Studio Mechanics Local 476”

Cinespace aims to be world’s largest studio complex

Whether he was aware of it or not, Nick Mirkopoulos, the late owner of Cinespace Studios, was a proponent of Chicago’s motto, “Make no little plans.”

Thanks to his meticulous planning for the company’s future, Cinespace Chicago will seamlessly continue to host major entertainment projects – and grow to become the biggest studio complex in the world.

Dellimore heads merged 6,000 member SAG AFTRA


SAG AFTRA held its first election since the merger of the two talent unions 16 months ago, creating a 6,000-member Chicago local, placing members of both former unions in various leadership positions.  Craig Dellimore, WBBM-AM political editor, who had been AFTRA pre-merger president was elected president of newly merged local.

Wake and funeral services for Dennis Farina Monday and Tuesday

A WAKE FOR DENNIS FARINA will be held Monday from 4-9 p.m. at Monclair-Lucania Funeral Home, 6901 W. Belmont and a funeral mass will be said for the actor and Chicago native Tuesday at Assumption Catholic Church, 313 W. Illinois at 10 a.m.  Burial will be private.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to the Police Chaplains Ministry and the Hundred Club of Chicago.

DePaul, Cinespace form film education partnership

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

Mike Roe to Energy BBDO; writer Mike Roe to Mbira

AFTER A SHORT STINT at McGarryBowen where he worked on the equally short-lived Bud Light account, executive creative director Mike Roe returned to Energy BBDO the start of the New Year.  Roe had been with Energy BBDO for eight years, departing in February, 2012 for a top position on the Bud Light creative team.  Then, last August, McGarryBowen lost the account to Translation Advertising without a review and Energy BBDO was delighted to welcome him back..

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. 

Wachowskis comments send a distorted message

Filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski have been on a media blitz lately, popping up in national magazines, local newspapers and radio.  What makes this is a huge story in itself is that the Beverly natives are notoriously secretive and rarely if ever give interviews.  Even the CIA is envious of the tight security at their CGI Kinowerks studios in Ravenswood.

New Upshot Post Cereal spot sure to brighten the day

Upshot/Chicago has joined the ranks of agencies making television commercials to sell cereal. In late 2011, Post Cereals brought on board Upshot as agency of record for two of its brands: Honey Bunches of Oats and the iconic Grape Nuts.

The first Post Cereals work from Upshot debuted this week, and it is a 30-second spot for fruit-flavored varieties of the Honey Bunches brand. 

Michigan’s FY 2012 film incentives up in the air

Michigan’s film fortunes have drastically changed in almost a year, and not in a good way.  Big-budget blockbusters, “The Ides of March” and “Real Steel” that shot in Detroit last year, opened this weekend in theatres across the country, while two low-budget films received the last available film credits for fiscal year 2011.

Firehouse Studio rental stage grand opening June 3

After a year spent converting a 105-year old West Rogers Park firehouse into a shooting stage, post facilities and offices, new Firehouse Studios will welcome guests at a Friday, June 3 Grand Opening

Owned by Tim and Selene Plum, the faithfully restored 3,800-sq. ft. former firehouse for Engine Company 70 at 1545 W. Rosemont Ave. is being offered as a complete rental facility at attractive rates.  

Cinespace gets a clean bill from EPA inspectors

A minor remodeling accident last week at Cinespace Studios blew out of control when a freelancer allegedly suspected asbestos contamination and decided to play hero and call in an EPA inspector. 

The freelancer works on the production of “Boss,” the 8-part TV series – that originally had planned to film in Pittsburgh — headquartering at Near West Side Cinespace.  The production occupies large offices on the studio’s fourth and fifth floors. 

At last, new Cinespace stage complex under construction

The timing couldn’t be worse. The much-anticipated Cinespace Chicago film studio was into construction on the first phase of the soundstages when the House rushed to pass Senate Bill 4 that calls for ending Illinois’ tax incentives in five years.

The 350,000-sq. ft. soundstage is the first of the plan for be eight contiguous stages on the 48 acre former Ryerson Steel Campus between Ogden and Western Avenues on the Near Southwest Side.

Detroit area host to big-budget features

With seven features currently in production, seven more upcoming and 16 films wrapped this year, the Michigan Film Office expects 2010 to be a booming film production year.

“We are on track to hit at least $300 million in 2010 and should definitely beat last year,” which racked up $224 million from films and TV, said Ken Droz, MFO spokesman.

The film office has reviewed 83 applications for the state’s 42% incentives for 2010 production in the Detroit area and West Michigan.

Optimus plays a part in Pitchfork Music Fest

ONE AT OPTIMUS for the fourth year is the official partner of the Pitchfork Music Festival, showcasing more than 40 of the best independent bands and artists at Union Park July 16-18.

Optimus’ audio engineer Joel Anderson leads the Optimus team in coordinating, shooting and producing live video feeds of the performances and crowds. The content will be projected on jumbotrons and streamed live on Pitchfork’s website.

All live audio is being handled by CRC’s American Mobile, headed by CRC general manager Chris Shepard.

Edinburgh-bound producers need $$$ help

THE PRODUCTION TEAM that made the feature documentary, “Postales,” are elated that it is an official selection of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, June 16-27, their first and most prestigious stop on the festival circuit.

The problem is — one that indie filmmakers can easily relate to — they incurred so many costs in preparing for festivals, such as application fees, conversion to exhibition formats and final clearances — that they’ve come up short on travel expenses.

Hot new stage for Plum Productions

Plum Productions is converting a 104-year old Edgewater firehouse into the shooting stage and post-production facility Firehouse Studios, which they’ll market for rental as well as utilize for their own in-house productions when completed this fall.

Owner Tim Plum closed on the 6,000-sq. ft. building at 1545 W. Rosemont Ave. on April 28 in a $390,000 deal with the city.

“It’s three times the space we have now,” says Plum. “We’ll be able to do more and cooler stuff.” Plum Productions is currently based in an Andersonville loft with a 20×30-ft. stage.

Michigan gears up for big production year

After a comparatively quiet first quarter, Michigan is looking forward to a tremendous amount of spring and summer activity.

It gets off to a high octane start April 18 in Detroit with Sony Pictures’ action-adventure “S.W.A.T.: Fire Fight,” based on the 1970s TV series, directed by Benny Boom (“Next Day Air”) and starring Robert Patrick.

“Salvation Boulevard,” the Pierce Brosnan comedic thriller will get underway in May. Horror comedy “Vamps,” starring Alicia Silverstone, commences in June. Wes Craven’s “Scream 4” comes to film in Ann Arbor in mid-June.

Six TV pilots to shoot here this month

Proving the old adage that “it never rains but it pours,” Chicago is now hosting production of six television pilots, the most that has ever descended on the city in one fell swoop and in such a condensed time frame.

Two new pilots from Fox TV join four others that will dominate production here throughout March and into early April.

Production staffs for both shows set up offices Monday in the Ryerson Steel plant, which indicate that plans for the proposed Cinespace studio there are still viable.

Andy Richter back on Story’s roster

MULTI-TALENTED ANDY RICHTER, Conan O’Brien’s former writer and sidekick, is back atop the list of commercial directors represented by Story, now that “Late Show with Conan O’Brien” is history.

Story’s Cliff Grant says Richter is “extremely well prepared to step behind the camera, since he understands the process of working with actors and casting, setting up shots and editing.”

Writer/producer/director Richter, who grew up in Yorkville, Ill., is a 1989 Columbia College grad.

Local investors are new studio owners

While it was believed the owner of three Toronto movie studios was also the owner of an $80 million movie studio for Chicago, it turns out that a local group of investors are the real owners.

Nick Mirkopoulos, chairman of Cinespace Studios, who is brokering the deal for the purchase of the Ryerson Steel property, said his company will simply manage the studio.

In fact, Mirkopoulos said, the contract hasn’t been finalized for the Ryerson property, though he is confident that it will be.

Construction on $80 mm studio underway

Construction is underway to convert a 330,000-sq. ft warehouse into the first of what could be seven to soundstages for Chicago Film Studios, on the 50 acre Ryerson Steel campus on the Southwest Side.

When completed, it will be the biggest state-of-the-art film studio outside and is propected to employ 6,000 over a five-year period.

TicTock takes training program to Detroit

FILM MICHIGAN: TRAINING EXPANDS. More than 60 students are taking the 2-week Basic Film Training Program at the Henry Ford Community College in Wayne County, now through Oct. 3, reports Dori DePree, head of Educational Outreach for TicTock Studios of Holland, Mich.

So far, 45 people have been trained in the Basic Film Set Training at the Holland location, she says.

From the pilot program launched by TicTock Studio this summer, 40% of the students found employment on a film set within 30 days.

Chicago at Park City: seven films, one seminar at Sundance and Slamdance 2006 film festivals

At least seven films and one seminar with local ties are playing at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals that run concurrently in Park City, Utah.

Three of the 16 features in Sundance’s Dramatic Competition are by onetime locals, and one more, Brian Jun’s “Steel City,” was shot in downstate Alton, Ill.

Former Chicagoans Patrick Creadon and Christine O’Malley launch their feature doc “Wordplay” at Sundance. And Justin Hayward plays his short “Divorce Lemonade” there.

Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh’s doc “Forgiving Dr. Mengele” premieres at Slamdance.

Justin Conway fills Local 600 business agent slot

Experienced union organizer Justin Conway was selected as business agent of Camera Local 600-Central Region. He fills the slot vacated in September by Jason Rosin, who’d had the position for five years.

Conway, who started on Nov. 14, represents the central region’s 500-700 members. He cited diversity training and the renewal of the state’s tax credit as top items on the guild’s agenda.

“We will do the best we can in both areas,” he said. “Since both roads lead to the same goal, one doesn’t come without the other.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

THE FOUNDATION post house expanded this week by moving into a full, 6,000-sq. ft. floor with seven editing rooms at 200 E. Ohio, from 2,800-sq. ft. and four editing rooms in the same building. That’s mighty impressive for being in business for just 18 months.

Owned by ace editor James Lipetzky and his wife, Samantha Hart The Foundation employs 10.

COLIN COSTELLO’S COMEDY sitcom pilot, “Friends like These,” was picked up by Black Family Channel’s new show, “Pilot Central,” debuting in October or November.

THE REEL THING: News & Notes

CREATIVES AFTER 5. “Family Forensic” is a new A&E series created and produced by Glenn Marrichi, president/CEO of The Marketing Identity, an advertising strategic consulting agency. In the series, a family’s belongings are examined by psychologists and investors to discover secrets of the past.

There’s word that NBC might turn Steffan Postaer’s first published novel, “The Last Generation,” into a TV series. Postaer is Euro RSCG’s top creative.

Producer Watrous forms non-profit Chicago Film Archives with 5,300 rare 16mm films

Three years ago, when the Chicago Public Library announced it was clearing out its collection of 5,000 16mm titles, producer Nancy Watrous wanted to acquire it.

After the library deliberated for 18 months, it was persuaded to donate the collection to Watrous, who has formed Chicago Film Archives, a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization.

The rare collection of professional, amateur and home movies spanning eight decades in all genres, is the foundation of CFA’s regional film archive.

Up and Down the Avenue – 02/24/04

When the Tribune told Marc USA it wanted a review, Marc politely declined participating and the 8-year association was severed. The Trib account bills $8-$10 million.

John Malkovich comes here April 12-June 5 to star in Steppenwolf’s premiere of “Lost Land,” by Stephen Jeffries.

John Mahoney also returns to Steppenwolf Sept. 16-Nov. 14 in “The Dresser,” co-starring Tracy Letts and directed by Amy Morton.

I-Cubed’s Arturo was creative editor on new Alberto VO-5 spots for Element 79, winning the account from beleaguered Tatham.

Collective industry voice is urged to defeat new added tax on rentals

Essanay’s Wayne Kubacki stresses the urgency for the industry to raise its collective voice to help defeat a disastrous tax increase if the County Board passes it at a Dec. 9 vote.

Kubacki, an IPA board member and representative of the city’s many rental equipment suppliers, is leading the opposition to the country’s proposed new taxes by asking that we attend a Nov. 19 public hearing and fax letters ASAP to the county commissioners.

IFO’s Sexton’s Studio City
remarks shock IFP audience

IFO Director Brenda Sexton