Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will be in Chicago this week to attend the groundbreaking festivities for the Obama Presidential Center taking place on place on Monday, September 27 and Tuesday, September 28. The City of Chicago has begun its pre-construction work in the Jackson Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South … Continue reading “Barack and Michelle here for ground-breaking of Obama Presidential Center”
Barack Obama surprised Chicago Public Schools high school students during a virtual assembly when he dropped in to announce that all CPS high school students will receive free access to digital copies of ‘A Promised Land’ President Obama’s riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making during his time in office. All CPS high school … Continue reading “Barack Obama surprises Chicago high school students”
In the July 29th premiere episode of ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’ the former first lady and her husband will hold an intimate conversation about life after eight years in the White House. Last summer, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, announced a partnership with Spotify to produce podcasts exclusive to the platform. The first project in the ongoing … Continue reading “Barack to be first guest on ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’”
Becoming. If you enjoyed the intimacy of former first lady, Michelle Obama’s autobiography, then good news. Netflix has announced the documentary portrait of Michelle Obama titled Becoming will premiere next week. The film, described as “an intimate look into the life of former first lady Michelle Obama” chronicles her 34-city book tour in 2018-2019 for … Continue reading “Netflix to release Michelle Obama doc ‘Becoming’”
Former First Lady, native South-Side Chicagoan, and all-around modern-day Renaissance Woman Michelle Obama won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word for her 2018 memoir, Becoming, at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards yesterday. Scoring a stellar 4.6-out-of-5 on Goodreads (369,210 ratings), Becoming is described as, “a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling” that chronicles the … Continue reading “Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ wins Spoken Word Grammy”
“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series for Netflix” Twitter, 9:00 AM – 21 May 2018 According to the statement above, which was posted on Netflix’ Twitter account today, President and First Lady Obama will soon be in show business. Although the Tweet described the … Continue reading “The Obama’s Netflix deal is great news for viewers”
Live action director and VFX supervisor Ergin Kuke joins The Mill+ Chicago Ergin Kuke will soon begin working his LA-honed, box office savvy as Creative Director for The Mill+ Chicago, according to a press release issued today. Kuke has notched an expansive variety of experience since relocating to the States from his native … Continue reading “The Mill, Burrell, Cow Lamp, Obamas, Wakanda news”
PRODUCER BOB TEITEL is scheduled to be back in his home town this August on the feature dramady, “Southside with You,” the story of Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama’s first date on a summer afternoon in 1989.
It’s too soon to announce new movie and TV projects for 2015, although one feature that’s supposed to shoot here has popped up, which tourism agency Choose Chicago can be assured will boost visitors when it’s released next year.
Obama, then an idealistic first-year Harvard Law student, took a summer job as an associate at law firm Sidley Austin where he fell for lawyer Michelle Robinson, his younger boss.
The 500 camera crews of all sizes from all over the world that converged on Tuesday night in Grant Park for the Obama rally gave the film community a much needed huge financial boost.
“Every shooter, truck, generator, light and camera in Chicago was on the scene,” said Adam Marton of AM Films.
CHEVY CHASE hosts an evening at Sundance for the world premiere of Phil Ranstrom’s doc, “Electrified: The Story of the Maxwell St. Urban Blues” Jan 25 at Harry O’s in Park City.
Narrated by Chicago native Joe Mantegna, “Electrified” tells how Maxwell Street’s neighborhood led to the hard driving sound of the urban blues and ultimately to rock ?n’ roll.
Ranstrom’s companion film, “Cheat You Fair,” documents the last days of Maxwell Street market. Ranstrom began both projects in 1994 shortly before the Maxwell Street market was demolished.
MPG’s doc “Senator Obama Goes to Africa” won’t have its world premiere and only public showing at the Gene Siskel Center as announced.
The Siskel Center cancelled the scheduled Jan. 19 and Jan. 22 screenings, saying that showing it could jeopardize the Center’s status with the IRS as a non-profit institution.
Pressure was brought by the legal department of the Art Institute, the Center’s parent institution.
“The IRS could interpret the film as a lobbying effort for the Obama campaign,” Barbara Scharres, the Center’s programming director.
When one of her butter ideas melted before she had a chance to spread it around, “Citizen Kate” webisode creator/producer Carey Lundin wasn’t as mad as she was chagrined.
Lundin was scooped by the national media on her very own story. She actually originated the idea of the Barack Obama butter sculpture meant for taping and posting on her citizenkate.tv site.
“Citizen Kate,” portrayed by actress Kate Soglin, follows presidential candidates on the campaign trail to determine who would make the best president.
MEDIA PROCESS GROUP partners Bob Hercules and Keith Walker will produce a documentary on the African travels of Sen. Barack Obama beginning Aug. 18.
To raise awareness of African issues, Sen. Obama will visit South Africa, Kenya, the Sudan and Congo and tour the Darfur region, site of tribal genocide.
Political consultant David Axelrod is co-producer. Hercules directs, Walker is DP, Rich Pooler handles audio. The independent production likely will air on PBS when completed.
On November 19, Hindman Auction will present Seeing Stars: Property from the Collection of Bill Zwecker, the former longtime entertainment and celebrity journalist. The award-winning Chicago journalist’s collection of 172 lots captures historical moments, and includes memorabilia from a wide range of genres, including film, television, theater, politics, sports and other pop culture categories. Iconic names … Continue reading “Auction to offer Film, TV, Theater, Politics and Sports memorabilia”
Nine time Emmy award winner Allison Payne, the former anchor at WGN, passed away earlier this month at age 57, her former employer announced over the weekend. Payne was with WGN-TV in Chicago for 21 years, covering everything from politics to sports. According to WGN, she traveled to Kenya for a story on former President … Continue reading “Nine time Emmy award winner Allison Payne has passed at age 57”
“Open Culture” signals the reopening of summer events in Chicago’s diverse and legendary cultural scene with music, dance, public art, markets, and more at Millennium Park and venues citywide. Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and Chicago’s cultural community announced “Open Culture” — the next phase … Continue reading “Music and more, summer events reopen across Chicago”
Twenty years after launching the first LGBTQ print ad encouraging travelers to “see the world on your terms,” travel site Orbitz is debuting a new national ad campaign and call to action for LGBTQIA+ travelers as the travel industry readies for a comeback. The campaign, titled “Travel As You Are,” invites all people to travel on their own terms, not the ones society … Continue reading “Orbitz reaffirms commitment to LGBTQ+ travel”
Calling all Chicago trivia nerds! In The Great Chicago Quiz Show, a new, fast-paced weekly series premiering on Friday, March 26 at 8:00 pm on all WTTW platforms, Geoffrey Baer puts socially-distanced contestants from across Chicago and the suburbs — and viewers at home — to the test as they contemplate all things Chicago. The contestants are as fun … Continue reading “WTTW launches The Great Chicago Quiz Show”
Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity on a daily basis. During the month of February, you will be able to celebrate wonderful human beings, like Storm Smith with … Continue reading “RBL Spotlight: producer, Storm Smith”
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”
McDonald’s is launching a new social challenge that will have everyone feeling the love this holiday season — especially the families who rely on Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®) when their child becomes critically ill or injured. For more than four decades, RMHC has supported families with sick and injured children by providing vital resources and helping them stay together during treatment. In an average year, RMHC raises millions thanks … Continue reading “McDonald’s will give $100 in your name to RMHC”
History was made this morning and it’s fitting that the city where liberty was born sealed the deal. CNN, the New York Times, NBC, The Washington Post have projected Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Jr. as the 46th President of the United States. Biden, 77, will be the oldest president to occupy the White House. He will turn … Continue reading “Joe Biden wins! “It’s time for America to unite””
Molly Given, of the Philly Metro interviews Chicago filmmaker Steve James about his latest film, ‘City so Real‘ Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James’ (Hoop Dreams, America to Me) fascinating and complex portrait of contemporary Chicago delivers a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of a quintessentially American city, set against the backdrop of its history-making … Continue reading “‘City So Real’ Chicago’s problems are America’s problems”
Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to announce two new editions of Masterwork: Industry Conversations, a series of virtual interviews with long established and award-winning filmmakers followed by a Q&A session with the audience. On Thursday, October 29 at 6:30PM CST, Chicago filmmaking duo Bob Hercules and Keith Walker from Media Process Group (MPG) will be joining … Continue reading “A Conversation with Bob Hercules & Keith Walker”
This week, FCB and the City of Chicago launched an initiative to greatly increase local participation in the upcoming presidential election. FCB, in partnership with the City of Chicago, transformed plywood boards that covered Chicago storefronts during protests into voting booths to encourage voter registrations and participation in this year’s election. People are urged to … Continue reading “Chicago, FCB make voting easier than ever”
Reeling will celebrate its 38th anniversary this fall with a new virtual edition of the second-oldest LGBTQ+ film festival in the world. Showing 30 features, 54 shorts across eight shorts programs from 21 countries, Reeling will offer home viewers access to new films not currently available on commercial streaming platforms. Over the course of 11 days – … Continue reading “Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival lineup”
Chicago Public Library announced that the upcoming group of celebrity readers for the popular “Live From the Library” program will celebrate the beginning of Major League Baseball. “Live From the Library” which features a combination of librarians, authors, celebrities, and notable Chicagoans, will highlight notable representatives of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox organizations, … Continue reading “Cubs and White Sox read for CPL ‘Live From the Library’”
Chicago Public Library announced this week’s group of celebrity readers for the Live From the Library program, featuring a combination of librarians, authors, celebrities, and notable Chicagoans, reading stories to children and families daily at 10 a.m. CST. Actor Joe Mantegna (7/13), actress Denise Richards (7/14), and Inside Edition Chief Investigative Reporter Lisa Guerrero (7/15) will be the latest Chicago notables … Continue reading “Chicago area celebs join CPL’s “Live From the Library””
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced the launch of ‘Chicago Connected’ a groundbreaking program that will provide free high-speed internet service to approximately 100,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students in their households. This first-of-its-kind program will be one of the largest and longest-term efforts in the nation to provide free, high-speed internet over the course of … Continue reading “Chicago launches free high-speed internet to CPS students”
Real Men Cook – America’s annual Father’s Day charity celebration – will be held virtually on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21 from 3-6 PM CDT. Now launching its fourth decade, the celebration is presented by the nonprofit, Real Men Charities, Inc. With the recent death of George Floyd and other black men by police or self-appointed vigilantes, it is clear that African-American men are targets and are often portrayed negatively … Continue reading “Real Men Cook celebrating black men & families”
When We All Vote, a national nonpartisan organization, launched Civic Cities, a new initiative that encourages mayors to use their voices, governing authority and convening power to mobilize civic leaders, business leaders and community members to increase voter participation in their communities. The initiative launched with a bipartisan group of 31 founding mayors from across the … Continue reading “When We All Vote encourages mayors to use their voices”
The Obamas and Oprah are among the Chicago celebrities reading children’s books across the Chicago Public Library social channels. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Library (CPL), one of the largest libraries in the US with over 385 professional librarians, and the CPL Foundation have partnered to host ‘Live from the Library,’ a daily story … Continue reading “FCB & Mayor Lightfoot launch ‘Live from the Library’”
Porchlight Music Theatre’s 25th Anniversary season continues with a new free virtual series Sondheim @ 90 Roundtable with host Michael Weber, debuting Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. CST on Porchlight’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PorchlightMusicTheatre. The series, created and hosted by Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Weber, gathers talents from Chicago, Broadway and the world … Continue reading “Porchlight’s virtual series ‘Sondheim @ 90 Roundtable’”
Lock them up in a room for a while and Chicagoans will get into mischief. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has taken on the serious roll of protecting the citizens of Chicago from the spread of the coronavirus. She’s been driving a firm message for everyone to stay at home and they are poking back. Instagram has … Continue reading “Chicago gets creative with Mayor Lightfoot memes”
In a few short hours, the United Center will become the heart of the basketball universe as hoop fans around the globe witness the thrills of the NBA’s All-Star Saturday Night, airing on TNT at 7 p.m. Chicago time. The program will bring together a legion of NBA stars competing in a trio of events: … Continue reading “Chicago becomes center of basketball universe tonight”
I.A.T.S.E. Local 476 is sending VP Joe Connelly on a mission to forge partnerships with advertising agencies and commercial shops throughout the city. A production industry supplier with deep roots, the Chicago Studio Mechanics Union intends to reinforce a foundation it laid nearly a century ago. “This union is built on commercial work,” says Local … Continue reading “Local 476 appoints Connelly to increase commercial work”
America showed the world one of the things that it does best during the 92nd annual Academy Awards on Sunday night. Celebrating film with an internationally-televised, star-studded presentation, the country demonstrated beyond a doubt that the best movies on earth come from nowhere else but the good old US of A. Unless, of course, we’re … Continue reading “Bong Joon Ho scores a win for everyone at the Oscars”
Troy Pryor is the inaugural honoree for the 2020 Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. Troy Osborne Pryor is an award-winning producer, actor, and speaker from Chicago. He is a Chicago Scholars 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise TCX Fellow, and ADColor nominated Innovator of the Year. … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Troy Pryor, producer, actor, speaker”
This January, Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to present the Chicago premieres of three documentaries that explore current social and political issues around environmental justice, immigration justice, and reproductive justice in a program called Justice January. The films selected for the series — Last Man Fishing, Undeterred, and Our Bodies Our Doctors — reveal personal stories … Continue reading “‘Last Man Fishing’ to launch Chi Film’s ‘Justice January’”
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’”
Open Television author and creator is helping to bring marginalized creators and content into the spotlight of American culture Over the last four years, Dr. Aymar Jean Christian has inspired a community of artists and intellectuals to disrupt one of the greatest institutions in America. With analytical expertise, online manipulation, shrewd outreach, and boundless … Continue reading “Interview with OTV founder Dr. Aymar Jean Christian”
Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon will also feature exclusive preview of Steve James’ newest project Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago-based documentary not-for-profit behind films such as Hoop Dreams and Minding the Gap, announced today it will honor documentary legend and three-time Academy Award nominee Julia Reichert at the organization’s 2019 Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon on October … Continue reading “Kartemquin benefit to honor Julia Reichert”
Chicago’s award-winning restaurateur and media personality films a quest for family and food in Southeast Asia Billy Dec’s Food. Roots. Philippines. explores an ancient recipe for success on the other side of the world. Currently in post-production, the PBS project is a journey into the country, culture, and cuisine of his ancestors. The Southeast Asian … Continue reading “A sneak peek at Billy Dec’s ‘Food. Roots. Philippines.’”
Jared Stabiner, Cameron King join the growing Chicago-based experiential tech and interactive agency Award winning experiential technology agency NEXT/NOW — known for creating original AR/VR, Touch, Gesture, Motion Tracking, and Projection mapping content and software — has recently added agency veterans Jared Stabiner and Cameron King to continue to expand their growing national initiatives. … Continue reading “NEXT/NOW expands business development team”
Fourth annual fest of the best opens with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doc, “Knock Down The House” The 4th annual Doc10 Film Festival’s 2019 lineup is an entertaining variety of undeniable relevance taking place April 11-14 at The Davis Theater (4614 N. Lincoln Ave.) The program opens with Rachel Lears’ critically acclaimed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez documentary, Knock Down … Continue reading “Doc10 screens the year’s best at the Davis Theater”
Acting on Showtime’s hit series “The Chi” is just one of the versatile artist’s many career success stories Native Chicagoan La Donna Tittle is an accomplished actor, model, radio personality and CEO / producer / host of Cookin’ Wit’ Tittle … Bon Appetite, Let’s Eat, a spirited show about food and drink on CAN TV … Continue reading “Reel Black List: La Donna Tittle, Renaissance Woman”
The country’s 41st President passed away Friday night, just seven months after wife Barbara Bush. CAVU. According to CNN reporter Jamie Gangel, this was the code word that the Bush family used to let each other know that their patriarch and 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush had finally passed away. … Continue reading “President George H.W. Bush passes at 94”
Through decades of award-winning work, the Windy City journalist created a legacy of good will, sharp reporting, and strong friendships (Chicago — 19 June 2018) Journalist and Chicago Tonight host Elizabeth Brackett, who passed away Sunday afternoon, earned respect and affection throughout her career. A graduate of New Trier High School and Indiana University, … Continue reading “Chicagoans fondly remember Elizabeth Brackett”
Deadline is reporting that Black-ish star Anthony Anderson has come aboard to star in Netflix’s Beats, a coming-of-age drama set in Chicago’s South Side hip-hop scene. The pic, from Global Road Entertainment and 51 Minds Entertainment, just began filming with The New Edition Story director Chris Robinson helming Miles Orion Feldsott’s original script. A 2019 … Continue reading “‘Black-ish’ star joins Netflix South Side hip-hop movie”
Jenny Lumpkin is the international Artist Agent and Senior Producer for Quriosity Productions. Politely referred to as “Q #2”, she is armed with a BFA in both graphic design and creative writing from the Kansas City Art Institute. Besides offering an intimate understanding of the art of visual communication in advertising and entertainment, Jenny is … Continue reading “Reel Women: Jenny Lumpkin, Agent and Producer”
Elise Jaffe is the “spokes teeth” and Executive Producer of Big Teeth Productions, which she co-owns with her husband Gregg. She’s also known as “Little Miss Bossy Pants,” a title that appeared on her business card BEFORE Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants was published! Elise’s career began in Children’s Television at Reading Rainbow and Blue’s Clues. … Continue reading “Reel Women: Elise Jaffe, Executive Producer”
After earning a degree in advertising art design, Laura Roeper found her way into photography as a prop stylist, then as a studio manager. She eventually gained years of experience as an in-house art producer in the advertising industry before launching an extensive freelance career working with photographers as well as agencies. Seeking more … Continue reading “Reel Women: Laura Roeper, Assistant Prop Master”
Carey Lundin is a multi award-winning director, writer and producer specializing in comedic digital series, media for progressive candidates, and documentaries. Lundin recently directed and co-wrote The WORST Travel Show, a five-episode comedy / travel series for the newly launched Facebook Watch and WatchMojo. Her digital series, Citizen Kate, The Outsiders’ View of Inside … Continue reading “Reel Women: Carey Lundin, Filmmaker”
Ericka L. Mauldin, nicknamed “Media Maven,” is an Accomplished, American, Television Producer and the Owner of EDIT TALENT GROUP and Chicks That Pitch. In additon, the Visionary behind Black Girl Media Magic and Black Industry Makers. Ericka received a BFA in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Xavier Cincinnati and … Continue reading “Reel Women: Ericka Mauldin — MBA”
Sheila Brown is a Chicago native who is Executive Director of the CineCares Foundation at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Sheila developed a desire for professional success early in life. She obtained her first job at age 15. Seven years later, Sheila began her career in broadcast television where she was fortunate enough to work alongside … Continue reading “Reel Women: Sheila Brown — Media Entrepreneur”
Jonathan Desir is an Executive Producer at Optimus. He has been involved in post production for over a decade and is president of the board for Free Spirit Media as well. Jon achieved his B.A. in Psychology and minored in Business and Communication at Eastern Michigan University. Aside from studying, he was also involved with … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Jonathan Desir, Executive Producer”
Qadree Holmes has successfully risen from intern to production assistant to producer and, finally, to the Founder / Executive Producer of Quriosity Productions. While line producing, he recognized a significant shift in the market — clients and agencies were seeking integrated creative talent options to represent the different social channels now available. Conversely, they did … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Qadree Holmes, Visionary EP”
Ytasha L. Womack is an award-winning producer, director, author, and innovator. She is author of the critically acclaimed books Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture, Rayla 2212, Post Black: How a New Generation is Redefining African American Identity; and co-edited Beats Rhymes and Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Ytasha Womack, creative powerhouse”
Jim Glover has worked for general market and black agencies and his work has always been on the cutting edge, which many believe is why he has won so many accolades in the biz. Jim has had commercials on the Super Bowl, introduced McDonald’s breakfast to America, and convinced conservative Dockers that their khakis were … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Jim Glover, Creative Director/Writer”
On his way to becoming one of the hottest young filmmakers in America, Rhyan LaMarr has proven just about every self-motivational cliché in the book. He was raised by divorced parents who struggled in two separate households, went to a high school where almost nobody looked like him, buried more friends then he cares to … Continue reading “Rhyan LaMarr’s journey to “Canal Street””
Orbitz names Havas AOR Havas Chicago announced Tuesday that its culture-based approach was among the factors helping the Chicago shop earn agency of record status for Orbitz. Havas Chicago has created award-winning, culturally relevant campaigns for its deep roster of iconic American brands including Coca-Cola, Craftsman, Hefty, Reynolds, Ragu, and Sears. The decision follows a … Continue reading “Orbitz, SG+, Luci Creative, “Cartoon Pres” in the news”
Last night, the non-televised portion of The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards took place here in Pasadena. The celebration of outstanding work by African Americans in film, TV, music, and literature inspired the likes of Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Morgan Freeman, Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), and Kareem Abdul Jabbar to attend. While ten winners … Continue reading “The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards”
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”
Chicago-based SB Productions announces Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill, London has Fallen), last seen in the faith-based film, The Shack, alongside Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, will star and executive produce, The World Without You, based on Joshua Henkin’s best-selling novel of the same name.
The film represents the directorial debut of established actor Damon Shalit, who was the writer and producer of African Gothic and A-List.
One at Optimus director Duncan Wolfe is packing up his Washington, D.C. apartment after a 14-month gig at the Obama White House and will head for Los Angeles as his base for the next phase of his filmmaking/social media career.
“And I’m looking forward to the positive effect of sunshine,” adds the St. Louis native about his move to LA.
“AN EVENING WITH VALERIE JARRETT,” a presentation of The HistoryMakers, the massive archive of interviews with notable African American leaders now part of the Library of Congress, airs on WTTW/11 today and tomorrow.
The interview with President Obama’s senior advisor about her rich life and career will air on national PBS in February. The program is dedicated in honor of Gwen Ifill, the late PBS media journalist who had hosted many HistoryMakers’ interviews in Washington, D.C. over the past 10 years.
Thirty years ago last January, the 1985 Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was carried off the New Orleans Superdome turf after the Bears demolished the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26, 1986.
Now a feature-length doc brings that memorable victory back to life. “’85 Bears: The Greatest Team in Pro Football History” will premiere in for Chicago audiences Wednesday, Sept. 7 on WTTW/11 at 8 p.m.
THE MIDWEST PREMIERE of writer/director Robert Budreau’s “Born to be Blue” biopic of jazz legend Chet Baker will open the 7th annual Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, July 24-31 at the AMC Randhurst 12 in Mt. Prospect starting at 7 p.m.
AFTER 14 YEARS IN LA, talent agent Emily Rabinowitz of RTA has returned to the area and set up shop representing a roster of 75 exclusive actors, from juniors to seniors.
Hear this! Audio Recording Unlimited’s (ARU) engineering staff was nominated for a 2016 Motion Picture Sound Engineers’ (MPSE) Golden Reel award for their sound work on “The Great Chicago Adventure.”
Chicago earns its close-up at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, with premieres of the feature “Southside with You,” about Michelle and Barack Obama’s first date and Media Process Group’s documentary on Maya Angelou, screening during the Jan. 21-31 festival in Park City Utah.
Cinespace continues to expand its stage capacity, with four new sound stages now under construction that boost the total number of stages to 21.
“We took one big space that we had, not really a sound stage, and are in the process of constructing two stages, each 25,000-sq. ft. and two that are each 18,000-sq. ft.,” says Cinespace president Alex Pissios.
LAPIZ’ NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR is Brazilian Carlos Murad, moving to the Chicago headquarters of Leo Burnett’s Hispanic division, to lead brands Purina Latin America, Kellogg’s, Mexico Tourism Board and Nintendo, among others, after five years at WMcCann, Sao Paulo.
Julieanna Richardson, founder/executive director of TheHistoryMakers, the largest national archives of African American oral history, will be feted at a sell-out 500 guest dinner Saturday night, hosted by and at the Library of Congress Saturday night.
Bob Hercules, whose Media Process Group has been producing the only documentary about the life of writer and Civil Rights activist Maya Angelou, and felt very close to her, says he was devastated Wednesday upon hearing news of her death. Angelou, who suffered from COPD, was 86.
For the first time, CIMMfest is appealing to the advertising industry by featuring a panel directed weekend’s CIMMfest. Its May 3 CIMMCon panel features “How to Tell Stories across Platforms in the Social Era, Transmedia Storytelling and Brands: Where Media dollars are Moving,” aimed at helping agencies’ transitions.
Producer Bob Teitel of LA-based State Street Productions – Chicago native and Columbia College grad — is one of four can’t-miss speakers at this weekend’s 11th annual Creative Chicago Expo.
Chicago’s music, film and technology is stepping out in the world, starting with the 18th annual South By Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference and Festival, March 7-16 in Austin, Texas.
CUTTERS’ DICTIONARY FILMS division this week added Jon Moore, a former agency ECD/art director to its current directorial roster of six. He was with Leo Burnett for more than 20 years before joining mcgarrybowen, with Ned Crosley, as its first creative team when the agency opened here in 2009.
“Production was my favorite part of working on the agency side,” Moore says. “I thought, why not make the leap and put my art direction skills, literally in motion.”
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.
Some 2 million fans watched the Hawks’ celebration in 2010, and at least that many are expected for the Blackhawks’ victory parade and rally Friday — likely one of the biggest celebrations in the city’s history.
Over-the-air and cable outlets will pull out all the stops with personnel and equipment in covering the Hawks’ caravan of open-air vehicles from the United Center to Hutchinson Field in Grant Park starting at 10:15 a.m.
The Illinois Lottery and agency Downtown Partners/Chicago won what is the biggest and most prestigious award in the North America lottery business: the annual Fleurry Award for the Lottery commercial “Shopping.”
Presented by La Fleur Magazine, a worldwide lottery trade publication, “Shopping” was voted the best TV spot by lottery executives working in the industry, reports Lewis Lazare in Chicago BizJournals.
Last February, Columbia College associate professor Dan Rybicky brought together a core group of like-minded documentarians from at the school and industry professionals with the goal of “inspiring a deeper exploration into and the appreciation for the ways we collectively craft truth in stories,” he says.
“We all were enthusiastic about wanting to start conversations, examine the myriad of ways documentaries were being created, the approaches taken to issues, and how they were taught on campus,” he says.
“CHICAGO FIRE” EXECS – show co-creator/EP Michael Brandt and EP/director Joe Chappelle – will present the top awards to the winners of the Best of Midwest Awards Tuesday, Dec. 4 – an event that is totally sold out! Two other special guests are “Chicago Fire” star Lauren German and “Liberal Arts” producer Claude Dal Farra.
NEW TO FOUNDATION CONTENT is senior producer Tamara Bridges Rothschild who just joined Monday, Oct. 8 after a five year stint in New York as a freelance producer. Rothschild and her husband, Michel Rothschild, moved to Chicago earlier this year when Michel joined Draftfcb as SVP/group CD, director of multicultural.
With the Nov. 6 election right around the corner, ad/marketing specialists, Third Street Advertising, is doing its part to encourage young people to vote. A compelling non-partisan campaign that launched this week, humorously warns: If you don’t get out and cast your vote, don’t complain about the results.
The BIG art event in Chicago this summer is a major retrospective of the work of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. The exhibition has just opened at the Art Institute of Chicago and runs through Sept. 3.
A major — some might call it a blockbuster — art show in this modern era calls for a major web presence to enhance the experience for Lichtenstein aficionados who have already seen the show or plan on seeing it, as well as those who may not be so familiar with the artist and his work.
WOMEN IN FILM has invited me to be their guest speaker Tuesday, May 22 at its Annual Membership Meeting when it convenes at the Rock Bottom Brewery (where for many years we held SchmoozaRama, the film industry’s first networking party) at 6 p.m.
All are welcome to attend, to join and to re-up their current membership. Guests will hear nominees and returning board members present a brief overview of their committees and goals for the coming year.
Well that didn’t take long. The current push to turn around and reinvent J.C. Penney is fast proving to be one whopper of a fiasco. JCP, as it’s now referred to, released its first quarter financial results this week.
The numbers were bad on two fronts: The company lost $163 million in the quarter. But more troubling, sales also plunged to $3.2 billion from $3.9 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
Nobody puts more mirth into their marketing initiatives than the trio of Smithe brothers — Tim, Mark and Walter — who preside over the well-known local furniture store chain Walter E. Smithe.
The chain is so familiar to so many because for years the company has made a point of producing any number of wacky TV commercials — many of which cleverly tie in with iconic Chicago institutions (such as the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks) or pointedly spoof important local events.
THE COLONIE’S partner/editor Bob Ackerman edited a Draftfcb/San Francisco Levi’s clever Dockers’ spot, “Phone Booth” for release in cinemas throughout Europe and directed by Caviar Content’s Bram Coppens of Belgium.
BUSINESS HEATS UP NEXT WEEK when cameras start rolling for two pilots and a TV series. Both Dick Wolf’s “Chicago Fire” for NBC Universal and the second season of the Starz series “Boss” swings into action on the same day, Thursday, March 15. Both are headquartered at Cinespace.
A PRE-FEST PARTY Feb. 23 launches Percolator Films’ 4th annual Talking Pictures Festival from 7-10 p.m. at the Hilton Orrington Hotel’s Indigo Lounge, 1710 Orrington Avenue in Evanston. Talking Pictures Festival runs March 8-11.
In honor of International Women’s Day, the festival opens with Léa Pool’s timely Canadian documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc., an exposé on the saturated marketing campaigns and administration-heavy budgets of breast cancer advocacy group Susan G. Komen For the Cure.
What is it about CBS and round tables? When it comes to conceptualizing talk shows, somebody there must be hooked big time on seating people in a circle.
On Wednesday, that thought sprang to mind as we were watching “CBS This Morning,” the CBS network’s latest stab at getting a morning show right. For years CBS has been a perennial third-place finisher behind NBC and ABC in the network morning show competition.
A GUESSTIMATED 135 INDIVIDUALS went home with golden Emmy statuettes last Sunday, Nov. 6, at the 53rd annual Emmy Awards, the winners in more than 60 broadcast categories. About 30 of those categories were non-news, a la documentaries, PSAs, cultural and other programming. Out of these categories and sub-categories, we could only discern three shows that were not produced as a broadcasting entity.
To announce first-time in-flight WiFi connectivity on three airlines and selected flights on five others, Itasca-based GoGo Air, the world’s leader and only such provider, rolled out its first multiple national broadcast and internet campaign.
Come November’s 2011 Emmy Awards ceremonies, a very large number of broadcasting persons and entities among scores of contenders, will take home a coveted Emmy statuette as winners in 27 Outstanding Achievement categories.
Of those 27 categories, 15 will honor achievements in programming, commercials and crafts produced by 17 local and regional production companies other than broadcasters, as shown below.
For years the advertising industry has struggled in the grip of infamous holding companies such as IPG, WPP and Publicis. Without question, these global conglomerates have changed the face of advertising and forced everyone working in what was once a supremely creative business to focus, first and foremost, on the bottom line.
Michigan film workers will rally Sunday, April 17, for a non-stop, 15 hour webathon to raise money to fund a TV spot campaign, in an effort to influence the legislature to maintain Michigan’s film tax incentives.
The “Film Credits Work Webathon” was triggered by Republicans on a House subcommittee’s approval of a bill Wednesday to eliminate Gov. Rick Snyder ’s proposed $25 million incentives cap and thus bury any possibility of a continuing Michigan film industry.
Filmmakers seeking investors can offer them a federal tax credit that’s sprung back to life: Section 181, which permits a healthy 100% deduction for the cost of films, television shows, documentaries and other genres.
President Obama signed Section 181 into law effective through Dec. 31, 2011. The bill had been allowed to sunset on Dec. 31, 2009.
The Section 181 incentive was originally designed to thwart runaway film and television production, which took effect in October, 2004 as part of the American Jobs Creation Act.
Even as it works through Chapter 11 restructuring, the Show Department, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Resolution Digital Studios and The Screen Works, recent staged two high-powered benefit events.
One was for Chicago Community Trust’s 95th Anniversary Gala Oct. 12 at the Harris Theatre for Kurtis Productions and producer Scott Jacobs; the other for President Obama’s recent rally in Madison, Wisconsin.
COO Jeff Facklis says Show Department has done small projects with Kurtis over the years, but “this was our first major show with them.
BOB HERCULES AND KEITH WALKER’S Media Process Group celebrate their 25th anniversary with a retrospective screening of excerpts from six of their documentaries starting with 1989’s “Baseball’s Heirlooms” (1989) at the Gene Siskel Center Oct. 21.
Other films are “The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy ” (1999), “Forgiving Dr. Mengele” (2006), “Senator Obama Goes to Africa” (2007), “Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger” (2009).
Also screening is MPG’s in-progress “A Good Man,” Bob Hercules’s collaboration with Gordon Quinn, about choreographer Bill T.
When Bob Hercules and his two partners started Media Process Group (MPG), in July, 1985 in a small Wicker Park loft, they took part-time teaching jobs at Columbia College to support the new venture.
It looks like the 385,000-sq. ft. Michigan Motion Picture Studios — the former GM Pontiac plant — is finally coming to life. County officials have stated the sale for the property has closed and financing is nearly complete.
A 185,000-square-foot addition is planned for the facility, and studio heads are looking to hire as many local contractors as possible, according to the Oakland Herald.
County officials have put their own backing behind the project. The Oakland County Economic Development Corp. is in the process of selling $28 million in bonds to support the studio.
New York-based Vladar Company is coming to Chicago this June to shoot a 90-minute documentary about Chicago rapper Twista.
“I am looking forward to shooting in Chicago and telling the story about Twista, a great American artist,” director Vlad Yudin says. “We will reveal the rich music culture and tradition that Chicago has to offer the world.”
EMI Music Label Services is slated to release “Twista” in November as a companion to the rapper’s next album. “They’re targeting for TV and VOD,” says Vladar Company producer Edwin Mejia.
A quartet of happy campers returned from three days in L.A. talking to studio execs with big smiles on their faces and signed with collective relief, as it looks like Chicago’s dire draught of film activity may be ending.
Local 476’s Mark Hogan, the Teamsters’ John Coley Sr. and John Coley Jr., and the IFO’s Betsy Steinberg brought back news of possible studio productions.
Fox Television has given a greenlight to the Shawn Ryan pilot, an hourlong cop drama, “Ridealong,” a potential Fox series that could be shot in its entirety here.
Gov. Pat Quinn’s gubernatorial campaign attempts to mitigate the reduced impact of traditional advertising with “Quinn Stories,” a weekly series of two-minute webisodes designed to reach voters who might otherwise be overlooked by conventional campaign strategies.
“Quinn Stories,” produced by director Barry Poltermann’s About Face Media, began in November and will continue through the Feb. 2 gubernatorial primary.
Firebrand South Side pastor Rev. Michael Pfleger is the latest documentary subject for Bob Hercules of Media Process Group, whose prior films tell the stories of then-Senator Barack Obama, community organizing pioneer Saul Alinsky, and controversial Holocaust survivor Eva Kor.
Hercules’ “Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger” premieres Aug. 28 among the two documentaries, four features and eight shorts in the Gene Siskel Film Center’s 15th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video, running Aug. 7-Sept. 3.
DIRECTOR HAROLD RAMIS receives the “Just for Laughs” Lifetime Achievement Award at the red carpet screening of Columbia Pictures’ “Year One” at the Music Box, June 16.
The special screening is the kickoff for the TBS Presents A Very Funny Festival: Just for Laughs Chicago and is being showcased locally before its June 19 national release.
Veteran actor Steven Saltz has taken his online celebrity interview show to a late night TV show concept ? a half-hour of interviews and performances by local and visiting talent.
“The Chicago Actor Show” pilot was taped at RDI studios with veteran actor Frank Vincent and comedienne Lynne Koplitz, and the house band led by Daryl Stuermer, guitarist for Phil Collins and Genesis.
The show is a natural evolution from Saltz’ having interviewed celebrities on his ChicagoActor.com website for several years.
A week before the Presidential Inauguration, “U2 3D” producer Peter Shapiro surprised Sara Yule with a call asking her company, Wiggle Puppy Productions, to provide Chicago footage of the video that would play before the massive all-star Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial.
“We dropped everything we were doing to be a part of this, to be a part of history,” Yule said.
Mutual friends had recommended Wiggle Puppy to Shapiro. In turn, Yule recommended shooters in other cities to Shapiro. Washington, D.C.
IRONICALLY, GOV. BLAGOJEVICH was going to sign the Illinois 30% tax credit bill into law next Monday at Essanay Studios! The unconfirmed signing ceremony was being set up because the governor had the time to do so.
We can safely assume that the gov’s photo op signing will be put indefinitely on hold.
That doesn’t mean the bill will languish as it did earlier this year — delayed first by the senate action and then by Blago’s demand for a photo op surrounded by celebs, taking it into May.
Blagojevich will remain governor, however, for the forseeable future.
New Spotlight Crew payroll service started off auspiciously last month when it was hired to handle payment for the massive crew covering Barack Obama’s historic speech at Grant Park.
Spotlight Crew, Inc. is the new division of Tim Hale’s 9-year old Spotlight Business Affairs, Inc. the U.S.’ second biggest talent payment and business affairs company with offices in other cities.
Heading the new division is Crew Services director John Kramer, who with his wife, were Hale’s first employees when he started the company in 2000.
Razorfish, one of the world’s largest interactive marketing and technology companies, has a Chicago office employing 170-plus digital specialists, who work with top brands like Kraft, JC Penney and AT&T.
ReelChicago’s Tim Horsburgh spoke with Razorfish’s Julie Novack, SVP/general manager, about its future plans and how the Chicago visual media industry can stay ahead of the game.
ReelChicago: Razorfish’s new report notes that 76% of consumers welcome advertising on social networks. I’d say this is a big new trend.
THANKS TO THE TRIBUNE for giving the film industry a huge boost with its recent strong editorial supporting a 30% hike in the filmmakers tax credit.
The critical incentive will be introduced — and hopefully passed — during the legislature’s short, two-week Veto Session.
“If the bill is not renewed, it will expire on Dec. 31 and we will have to wait for January,” says IPA president Lars Ullberg.
The Second City is getting into the short film content business online, according to Andrew Alexander, Second City’s executive producer.
“We had been talking about it for at least two years and had been searching around for what we felt would be the right mix of partnership,” he said.
Second City will partner with Los Angeles-based Media Rights Capital (MRC), an independent film/television and digital studio, to create short pieces specifically geared for online distribution.
Second City made the connection with MRC through the Gersh Agency in New York.
“Kate,” one of 78 “reporters” vying for five finalist positions, is the highest rated candidate in the competition, and the only “reporter” who actually has been reporting on presidential candidates ever since Sen. Obama announced his candidacy way back when in January.
Unlike “Kate,” creator Lundin is no novice to the political scene. She has been produced political commercials for many winning candidates for 15 years.
The 5th annual Lake County Film Festival continues its steady growth this year to 17 narrative features, 17 documentary features and 100-plus short films.
The festival, Feb. 28 to March 3, is housed this year at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, where festival director Nat Dykeman also runs monthly independent screenings.
“We were able to program so much stuff this year, which is great,” Dykeman said. “I think we’re the second biggest festival in Illinois now in terms of number of screenings.”
RIVET PRESIDENT YVONNE FURTH announced she will retire from the agency Aug. 31 after 26 years with Draft/Chicago, Rivet’s parent company.
Lor Gold, also from Draft who formed Rivet with Furth last January, remains as Rivet’s CCO and new position of global managing director.
The 2005 Ad Woman of the Year, and possessor of an arms-length worth of awards, Furth previously was Draft/Chicago president/CEO. She joined Draft in ?81 as assistant account exec and ascended through the ranks to become president/COO in ’02.
CHICAGO CINE TECH, a home grown expo for visual media pros set for Sept. 27-29, will focus on new digital technology, its applications and content especially for emerging media.
Among the interesting speakers will be L.A.-based realty TV director and former Chicagoan Rich Kim (“America’s Next Top Model,” “A Simple Life,” “The Real World” ) who’s currently directing a new ABC primetime show called “Fat March.”
Cine Tech will be held at Columbia College’s new and improved eighth floor (walls have been removed to open exhibit space).
THE CHICAGO DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL returns in its biennial incarnation with more than 100 docs screening between March 30 and April 8 at eight venues throughout the city.
One of the highlights is an appearance by former Chicagoan Mike Gray and the showing of his “The Murder of Fred Hampton,” exposing the Black Panther leader’s assassination for Chicago police.
WHO SHE IS: Jorie Landfear, an in-house commercial producer with Bally Total Fitness since 2005.
Based out of Bally’s Cumberland corporate office near O’Hare, Landfear often travels into the city to film at Bally club locations. She works closely with Bally’s creative director and director of broadcast advertising.
HOW SHE VIEWS HER JOB: By filming commercials for Bally’s, “I’m promoting the importance of health and fitness,” she exudes.
Everyone knows the unparalleled on-court antics of the Harlem Globetrotters, but few today are aware of the team’s pivotal role in shattering basketball’s color barrier and transforming the sport in America and around the world.
TeamWorks Media pay tribute to the Globetrotters’ legacy with their new hour-long hi-def doc “The Team that Changed the World,” which premieres on PBS stations nationwide Feb. 24, with a local premiere at 8 p.m. on Ch. 11.
Eric Anderson and Amelia Dellos are out to prove that America isn’t as divided as it’s made out to be.
The husband-wife filmmaking team are poised to embark on a Midwest tour, interviewing everyday people across the political spectrum for their debut documentary “Red, White and Blue.”
“For the past year or so the rhetoric has been so hostile on both sides,” said Anderson, an award-winning screenwriter who runs the Oak Park graphic design firm EBA Creative.
“Hopefully our film will humanize the conversation and get the level of shouting down.”
By Jonathan Abarbanel
A warm and cordial welcome to Jonathan Abarbanel, whose regular columns many of you will remember from the Original Screen magazine. The theatre maven extraordinaire will keep ReelChicago readers updated on Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene on a semi-regular basis.
THE NEW SEASON among Chicago’s 200-or-so theater companies is in full swing, with more than 40 theater openings in September and another 40-plus in October.