Nowhere can the pandemic’s financial impact be felt more than in the city’s once thriving production industry. Shows such as Empire, the Dick Wolf “Chicago” shows, Shameless and commercials positioned Chicago as the midwest hub for networks and studios. Once productions were forced to shutter, everyone from actors to craft services suddenly found themselves out … Continue reading “Alex Pissios talks future of Chicago production”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studio President Alex Pissios received the Distinguished Community Leadership Award from SOS Children’s Villages Illinois during the organization’s Annual Meeting last week. The event took place at Drinker Biddle & Reath, where staff, board members, and corporate partners gathered with friends were to celebrate the occasion and review the year. During the … Continue reading “Cinespace President Alex Pissios honored by SOS Illinois”
Cinespace President joins film, media, and arts leaders at event to benefit ASH’s ‘award-winning model to solving homelessness’ Cinespace Chicago President Alex Pissios will join a group of notable film, media, and arts leaders as Chair for tomorrow night’s A Legacy of Excellence, the 25-year Anniversary Gala for homeless support organization A Safe Haven (ASH) … Continue reading “Alex Pissios to chair A Safe Haven anniversary”
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”
Alex Pissios just finished giving a tour to a group of people who do not seem to be directly connected to the film industry. That’s fine with him. “My Uncle Nick was big on giving back to the neighborhood,” Pissios explains. “He used to tell me that, ‘these people have lived here a long time. … Continue reading “1:53 p.m. — Alex Pissios, Cinespace President”
Welcome home! The cast and crew of Chicago Fire, P.D. and Med have returned for the new season and are prepping at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios to begin filming this week. Last season was a struggle to get through the new Covid guidelines, a delayed start to filming and a reduced number of only 16 … Continue reading “Chicago Fire, P.D. and Med begin filming the new season”
Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med officially wrap today for the season. Congratulations to the cast and crew. You are our heroes! 2020 was a hard year for everyone on the planet. Keeping our favorite TV shows on the air through these difficult times was a HUGE endeavor for all involved. While the actors … Continue reading “It’s a wrap for the season on One Chicago”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios welcomes several new productions to its growing campus. As the Dick Wolf, One Chicago series prepares to wrap soon for the season, Cinespace announced four new series filming at its facilities. The Midwest’s production hot spot and second-largest film studio outside of Los Angeles in North America, recently added another 105,000 … Continue reading “Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more”
Production of new single-cam, mockumentary style comedy series Zen Room is set to commence early March after news of Cheri Oteri (former SNL cast member, Grown Ups 2) joining the cast as lead, executive producer, and writer. While plenty of film production has been shuttered due to Covid-19, actress and writer Ashley Joyce (Gilmore Girls, … Continue reading “Production set to begin on Zen Room this spring”
What a year, huh? 2020, which felt like a decade, will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst years ever. And who will argue? Certainly not the staff at Reel Chicago. This year, COVID forced productions to shut down. Then start back up. Then shut back down. Then start back up. It … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories”
In an announcement yesterday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) launched a new citywide strategy – “Protect Chicago” – an effort to help Chicago bend the COVID-19 curve for the second time. “Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that … Continue reading “Film Production not affected by new COVID restrictions”
Showtime’s longest-running series, Shameless was seen filming in town today for some pickup shots. A small crew filmed exterior drone shots of the infamous Gallagher house for VFX plates. The award-winning series was scheduled to air this summer, but like many other productions, shut down in March due to COVID-19. The cast headed back to … Continue reading “Shameless in town filming this week”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios‘ president, Alex Pissios has confirmed that the Michael B. Jordan AMC drama series 61st Street is on campus and they will begin shooting in 2021. 61st Street, which has been ordered as a two-season television event series with eight episodes per season, is a propulsive courtroom drama that follows Moses Johnson, a … Continue reading “Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street is on campus at Cinespace”
Sources tell Reel Chicago that the Chicago P.D. team will begin to return the second week of August with a scheduled Chicago shoot date on September 22. A few Chicago P.D. production personnel have begun to prep for COVID regulations before the crews arrive. Chicago Med and Chicago Fire are also said to follow the … Continue reading “Chicago PD, Fire & Med return to production in September”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios has released their own set of Production Safety Guidelines and announced their partnership with ServPro, which will be the exclusive cleaning service allowed on campus. These updates come as the City and State move further into Phase 3 of Re-opening. Among the industries reopening- with strict safety guidelines- are: childcare businesses, libraries, bars and outdoor dining at restaurants. Cinespace president, … Continue reading “Cinespace releases their Production Safety Guidelines”
NBC’s encore “Chicago” lineup won the night among the Big 4 networks in total viewers and tied for #1 in all key adult-female demographics. An encore telecast of Chicago Med (0.4 rating in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall from 8-9 p.m. ET) won the timeslot among the Big 4 networks in total viewers and was … Continue reading “‘Chicago Fire’ encore is Wednesday’s top show”
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials from around Chicago, today released industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers to follow as the city prepares to begin safely reopening in early June. Industry-specific guidelines include details such as how businesses can … Continue reading “Mayor Lightfoot releases guidelines for phase 3 reopening”
DePaul School of Cinematic Arts announced that Assistant Professors, Ronald Eltanal and Alireza Khatami, have been selected for the prestigious IFP Episodic Lab fellowship program for their project titled, Tenure. The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today twenty-six feature projects and series selected to participate across three labs over the next month: The IFP Filmmaker … Continue reading “DePaul’s Eltanal & Khatami chosen for IFP fellowship”
The New York Times Magazine was the biggest winner on the second day of the week-long online ADC 99th Annual Awards, when 55 prestigious Cubes were awarded in Experiential Design, Photography and Spatial Design. Best of Discipline for Experiential went to FCB Chicago with FCBX and Lord + Thomas, both Chicago for “Most Dangerous Street“ on behalf of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. The New York … Continue reading “FCB’s ‘Most Dangerous Street’ best Experiential Design”
Light Modifiers located at 2414 West Cullerton, Chicago, has been proudly serving Chicagoland and the Midwest for over 3 years, providing exceptional film and television lighting services with friendly union and non-union professionals. At Light Modifiers Rental, we are taking many precautions to ensure customer safety as our industry starts to slowly reopen. When COVID-19 hit … Continue reading “Light Modifiers uses UVC light in a new medium”
OddMachine is a full service production and post-production company founded in 2008, producing great creative content for brands and advertisers, located at 900 N Franklin St. Suite 850, Chicago. Times of unprecedented disruption can also be an opportunity to invest in expanded capabilities. Such was the case when Chicago based production and post hybrid OddMachine … Continue reading “OddMachine uses disruption to build a better ‘Machina’”
This week, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios surprised 200 healthcare workers and caregivers at Mount Sinai Hospital with a warm dinner from Inspired Catering & Events of the Stefani Restaurant Group. The nutritious meals were a gesture of gratitude from the Film Studio’s executives for all of the selfless work the teams at Sinai Health Systems have … Continue reading “Cinespace hosts dinner for 200 healthcare workers”
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”
Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. Karolyn Raphael, President of Winger Marketing, with more than … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Karolyn Raphael, Pres, Winger Marketing”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios is donating 20,000 square feet of studio space to the Greater Chicago Food Depository for storage of food boxes for families affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). On Friday, officials announced eight more deaths in Illinois related to the pandemic and 1,105 more cases statewide, raising the death toll to 65 … Continue reading “Cinespace donates 20,000 sq. ft. to Food Depository”
All three Chicago Dick Wolf shows Chicago Med, PD and Fire have halted production and will not be returning until next season. In addition to the Chicago shows, the list includes other Wolf series Law & Order: SVU for NBC and FBI for CBS, as well as NBC’s New Amsterdam — all from Universal Television — upcoming limited series for Peacock Angelyne starring … Continue reading “UPDATED: ‘Chicago Med, PD & Fire’ halt production”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, the second largest film studio in the country, with 36 studios and more than 2 million square feet on the west and south sides of Chicago, is pleased to welcome two pilots to its campus this season. NBC has greenlight Ordinary Joe and Fox has given a pilot offer for The Big Leap. Ordinary … Continue reading “Cinespace Studios welcomes new pilots for Fox and NBC”
A cohort of young professionals assured industry leaders that the future of Chicago production is in good hands at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on Monday afternoon. Highlighting the Wrap Party for the Mirkopoulos Internship Program, each member of the group had just finished working as temporary crew on Chicago Fire / PD / Med, and … Continue reading “CineCares’ Mirkopoulos Internship cohort keeps it going”
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios is proud to announce a five-year pledge of $50,000 to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital in support of the Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit. The doctor’s “office on wheels” takes primary care to children in underserved communities on Chicago’s South Side. The 38-foot-long Comer Children’s Hospital Pediatric Mobile Medical … Continue reading “Cinespace pledges $50K to UC Comer Children’s Hospital”
One day on the set of Chicago Fire, as star Eamonn Walker sat in a makeup chair and listened to the news before filming a scene at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, he learned that a nine-year-old boy from the south side had been shot the night before. Shocked and horrified, he had never witnessed such … Continue reading “NBC cast and crew launch ‘One Chicago Inspire Youth’”
The City of Chicago reigned supreme in 2019. Advertising agencies blended social justice with clever branding. Content creators reinforced Chicago’s reputation for inclusivity. Film studios entertained the nation while helping the local neighborhoods. And a handful of friends said goodbye. Below is a list of Reel Chicago’s top articles for 2019, separated by category and … Continue reading “The biggest stories of 2019”
World-class studio’s Manager of Ops, Dino Mirkopoulos, to attend 2019 Awards Screening at Music Box Theatre on September 25th The Chicago 48 Hour Film Project Premiere Screenings return to the Music Box Theatre September 22nd through the 23rd with the Red Carpet Best of Chicago Awards taking place on September 25th. The screenings spotlight 45 … Continue reading “Cinespace at the Chicago 48 Hour Film Project Awards”
Event produced by Latinos Progresando spotlights culture and contributions of Mexico and Mexican-Americans Latinos Progresando — a Chicago community development organization working on the issues of immigration, peace, health, and education — yesterday presented MEX talks, an exciting speaker showcase featuring a panel of Mexican-American filmmakers, authors, politicians, activists, and media personalities who delivered … Continue reading “Cinespace sponsors 7th annual Mex Talks”
Event auction prizes include lunch with IFO Director Peter Hawley, CFO Director Kwame Amoaku, and Cinespace Chicago President Alex Pissios IFP Chicago’s new associate board is proud to announce that their first annual fundraiser will be hosted by Lagunitas at the Lagunitas brewery facility near Cinespace Studios at 2607 W 17th St. on September 30, … Continue reading “IFP throws first annual fundraiser at Lagunitas”
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”
Chicago Film Studio partners with PAWS Chicago to spread awareness and showcase “amazing pets” available for adoption Production at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios was temporarily disrupted yesterday when a half-dozen dogs appeared in a patch of grass at Rockwell and 16th. Frolicking, rolling around, and generally being adorable without really trying, the pooches were … Continue reading “Cinespace goes to the dogs for a day”
“neXt” — a modern-day series about technology run amok — will start shooting in Chicago this Fall Cinespace Chicago Film Studios announced today that Fox’s new American drama series, neXt, will film at its West Side campus this fall. The studio announces the news less than 24 hours after unveiling its 2019 production schedule, adding … Continue reading “New Fox drama series to film at Cinespace”
The largest film studio in the Midwest prepares for a busy season of hit shows with 13 new interns Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, based on the west side of Chicago, and currently the second-largest film studio in the country, welcomes back many popular series and announces several new television shows now filming at its campuses. … Continue reading “Cinespace announces 2019 production lineup”
Photographer Natalie Lising has “grown up” around film sets while receiving a lifetime of support from the Pissios family To aspiring artists, a show at Cinespace marks a great milestone in one’s career. It can sometimes take years and many dollars to produce. Hundreds of blockbusters and classic television shows have been shot, organized, and … Continue reading “12 year old to host art show at Cinespace”
The woman who helped Illinois make hundreds of TV shows and generate $2.5 billion in revenue talks about the ever-changing Midwestern filmscape Christine Dudley joined the Illinois Film Office at the exact time when the Illinois Film Office needed Christine Dudley. Combining exceptional legislative knowledge with a “modest background in production,” she helped guide the … Continue reading “Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley”
#Voices4FosterCare supports the “ever-changing landscape of child welfare in Illinois and beyond” Christian Bale gave a heartfelt boost to foster children and foster families during a press conference at Cinespace Studios yesterday afternoon. Arriving via red eye from Los Angeles, the award-winning actor joined a five-member crew to kick off the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois … Continue reading “Christian Bale launches SOS campaign at Cinespace”
Coming-of-age comedic drama follows the lives of three roommates on the autism spectrum who are “striving for the same things that we all desire” Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, one of the largest film studios in the country, based on the west side of Chicago announced a deal with Amazon Studios to begin filming the half-hour … Continue reading “Amazon to film ‘On The Spectrum’ at Cinespace”
Chicago Film Studio’s generosity honors a tradition of community support established by Cinespace Founder, “Uncle” Nick Mirkopoulos Cinespace Chicago Film Studios will donate $25,000 to enable Greek schools to modernize curriculum and enhance student participation, as announced by the Chicago Greektown Educational Fund (CGEF). The announcement renews support from CGEF’s “Nick Mirkopoulos Scholarship” partner one … Continue reading “Cinespace donates $25K to educational foundation”
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 film campus will be home to the musical drama that became an “internet favorite” after last summer’s pilot premier Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, one of the largest film studios in the country, announced an agreement with Netflix to film ten episodes of the musical drama Mixtape, starring Jenna Dewan, Callie Hernandez and Madeleine … Continue reading “Cinespace signs production deal for Netflix’ ‘Mixtape’”
Digital content distributor to film Gillian Flynn-remake of the British thriller at Chicago’s West Side studio campus Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, a 1.45 million square foot studio facility on the west side of downtown Chicago with additional studios in development at 31st and Kedzie, has inked an agreement with Amazon Studios to begin production … Continue reading “Cinespace signs production deal for Amazon’s ‘Utopia’”
The Studio Mechanics’ record-setting year is is complemented by growing diversity in leadership and membership The Chicago Studio Mechanics Union Local 476, a chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), designated more than a dozen officers, board members, and trustees after tallying the votes of its December 10 election. Returning to positions … Continue reading “Local 476 elections reflect unprecedented growth”
The studio’s Mirkopoulos Internship Program grows stronger with legislation backed by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi A roomful of esteemed film industry leaders spent their lunch hours paying tribute to less than a dozen entry-level employees at Cinespace Studios last Friday afternoon. They came for a press conference hosted by Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who spoke … Continue reading “Cinespace community outreach gets Congressional nod”
The new Dub TV studio set includes elements of Cookie’s bedroom from season one of the hit show “Empire” Whitney M. Young Magnet High School’s Dub TV Studio received a major upgrade yesterday when Cinespace Chicago Film Studios donated a new set to the show that is created by students of the West Side … Continue reading “Cinespace donates studio set to Whitney Young’s Dub TV”
Each of the 31 stages on the 1.5 million sq.-ft. original campus are booked, so the studio had to expand. “It’s a good problem to have,” says President Alex Pissios. Chicago Cinespace Film Studios expanded its West Side campus by arranging to purchase a former steel factory at 3355 W. 31st St. last month. … Continue reading “Cinespace adds new Chicago facility”
The level of TV production in Chicago has grown from a boom to an era Over the past week, HBO announced its first series to film at Cinespace Studios, Dick Wolf’s Chicago shows got re-signed, and South Side comedian Lil Rel Howery inked a deal with 20th Century Fox TV. And those are just … Continue reading “Chicago production rolls through a week of success”
Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are bringing their new HBO series to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Titled Lovecraft Country, the series is based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name. According to IMDb, the story is about “a young African-American (who) travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search of his missing … Continue reading “Peele and Abrams bring new HBO series to Cinespace”
Chicago film industry scores one of the year’s most significant milestones while helping people wih disabilities Last night on the campus of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, hundreds of guests raised thousands of dollars for people with disabilities during the Anixter Center’s 7th annual gala, held this year in honor of Cinespace President Alexander Pissios. Temporarily … Continue reading “Cinespace helps Anixter raise thousands at annual gala”
Chicago filmmakers have longed dreamt about turning Chicago into a Midwest Hollywood. Now, Cinespace Studios‘ president, Alex Pissios, has taken the steps to make that dream a reality. What has been in the works for two years came to fruition this past Wednesday when City Council passed an ordinance allowing the 1.45 million sq. ft. … Continue reading “Chicago’s Cinespace Studios to add outdoor backlots”
Chicago lost a true star when DuShon Monique Brown passed away at Franciscan St. James Health Olympia Fields last Friday afternoon. Besides achieving considerable success in an acting career that included roles on Empire, Prison Break, and Shameless, Brown also formerly served as crisis counselor and leader of a drama program at Kenwood Academy High … Continue reading “Tribute to DuShon Monique Brown”
Showtime has ordered a second season of The Chi, a coming-of-age drama set in Chicago that has averaged four million weekly cross-platform viewers since debuting on January 7. Featuring an ensemble cast and multiple storylines, the series is not only produced entirely within the Windy City, but it also showcases a legion of homegrown talent. … Continue reading “Showtime: “The Chi” is on for season two”
There’s always something going on at Stage 18, and it’s usually pretty cool. Right now, the Public Relations director of Chicago’s Underground Film Festival is preparing to make a call for 2018 submissions, J Jack Productions is writing an inside scoop for the newsletter “Exposing the Crew,” and Digital Hydra is working on its latest … Continue reading “11:33 a.m. — Stage 18”
“It’s a good day,” says Sheila Brown, the Executive Director of the CineCares Foundation. “The interns will receive twelve weeks of on-the-job training.” Brown leads an effort to place young adults from nearby neighborhoods into paid internships at Cinespace. This morning, she learned that the first cohort participating in the foundation’s internship program will be … Continue reading “12:40 p.m. — Sheila Brown, CineCares Foundation”
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”
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”
In a last-minute turn of events, TNT has decided not to produce The Deep Mad Dark, a TV pilot that was slated to begin shooting at Chicago Cinespace Studios in October.
The decision was made Friday night, a day after the show’s impending arrival was reported in ReelChicago on August 24.
On Saturday, Cinespace CEO Alex Pissios expressed optimism that the deal will happen at some point in the future.
During an exclusive conversation with ReelChicago yesterday, Cincespace CEO Alex Pissios informed publisher Barbara Roche and editor Daniel Patton that the pilot for TNT’s The Deep Mad Dark will begin production at the Chicago studio this fall.
“They’re moving into offices September 11, shooting in October,” he said. “It’s a done deal.”
Seven Chicago-produced TV pilots for have been selected for the 2017 New York Television Festival, which will light up the Big Apple in the third week of October. From a candid glimpse at life in the projects to a personal crisis in a suburban basement, the themes reflect a dynamic and exciting Windy City production scene.
11 DOLLAR BILL, Bridges Media’s 2-year old post division, opened a branch facility in downtown Boulder, Colorado, run by partner / CCO Christian Robins, who recently moved to Boulder, and Managing Director Lisa Effress, a former agency EP and co-founder of the branded content engine F. Yeah & Associates in Boulder.
DePaul University, in the fourth year of its 10-year studio rental lease at Cinespace, added a second sound stage in the program the school informally calls “DePaul-to-TV pipeline” because of the jobs it offers students.
DePaul’s new Cinespace facility, 12,500-sq. ft. Stage 16/17, one of Cinespace’s 30 stages, is a further commitment to Cinespace’s and DePaul’s larger partnership with the School of Cinematic ARts in the College of Computing and Digital Media.
Fox Television announced that two of its four dramatic pilots that filmed in Chicago this winter were greenlit for series production. While not officially stated, there’s strong reason to expect new series will return to Chicago.
“That would be extraordinarily good news,” notes Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal. “This surge of activity points to the quality of our crews, talent and facilities and Chicago’s ability to be a major player in episodic television.”
Calling all independent filmmakers! Starting today, Nov. 10, you may apply online for shared work space in upcoming Stage 18 Chicago, the area’s first media and entertainment incubator at Cinespace Studios.
Chicago Deputy Mayor Steve Koch was among the speakers Thursday at a street-naming ceremony that honored the late Nikolaos “Nick” Mirkopoulos, the visionary owner of Cinespace Studios that transformed Chicago’s film industry and the studios’ North Lawndale neighborhood.
Fortunately, Cinespace is a monster-sized film studio so it can easily accommodate the hundreds of guests expected to attend GalaWeen, a bewitching costume party Halloween night, Oct. 31, 7 p.m. until midnight, to support CineCares Foundation.
Claire Simon Casting will be making the first major change to its business since Claire Simon opened its doors 19 years ago, by moving into what she claims will be “the Taj Mahal of casting offices” at Cinespace.
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.
Based on the success of DePaul’s Cinema School teaming up with Cinespace for on-site stage and classroom space, the studio is moving forward with plans to open the doors of a production incubator this fall.
New York-headquartered camera sales and service provider giant AbelCine will settle in at Cinespace in mid-summer, offering a unique Learning Point for on-going educational workshops and seminars, an interactive sales showroom space for hands-on equipment evaluation, and a welcoming center for community activities.
By the time Sun-Times had headlined Gov. Bruce Rauner’s demand that Cinespace return a $10 million state grant, studio president Alex Pissios had already sent the uncashed check, plus interest, to the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
If Chicago’s visual media industry is ending 2014 with a big smile of satisfaction from a profitable outpouring of work, then 2015 will have everyone positively beaming like the sun.
Seven more organizations are starting the New Year with new looks, staff and ideas.
For the past three years, Cinespace Studios has hosted a Holiday Party, with Santa Claus in attendance, games, gifts and good things to eat, for the children in the Lawndale neighborhood where the studio is located.
“CHICAGO’S COOLEST OFFICES” is Crain’s Chicago Business’ annual effort to bring forth the best places to work, among the workplaces nominated by hundreds of enthusiastic, satisfied employee.
Even when he was lieutenant governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn was out there promoting the film industry when and wherever he could. He is a strong proponent of the state’s 30% tax incentive and was the force behind the conversion of a long idle industrial plant into the biggest stage complex east of Hollywood.
New Pink Hippo Productions is possibly the first company formed in Chicago by film school grads, who say they are serious about living and working here and growing their business, in spot production and ultimately features.
NEW STAR IN TOWN will be Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson (“Person of Interest”) and Jussie Smollett (“On Our Own”) joining star Terrance Howard in Fox TV’s pilot, “Empire,” director Lee Daniels and Danny Strong’s hip-hop drama. It starts shooting at Cinespace in mid-to-late March.
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.
Phone calls and Emails of sympathy, gratitude and shock been pouring into studio executive Alex Pissios’ office at Cinespace since the news of the death of Cinespace owner Nick Mirkopoulos on Saturday swept film industries from Toronto to LA.
Plans for laying the first tangible foundation for a thriving, home-grown independent film industry will be announced at a private “Chicago-Hollywood industry reception” by new E.N.D. Productions and Cinespace executives, Nov. 18 at Cinespace.
“Law and Order’s” Dick Wolf, who’s here filming two NBC TV shows will be the keynote speaker at Sunday’s Chicago Film and Media Summit & Expo at the Cultural Center at 5 p.m. But be forewarned – his speech is open for registrants only so sign up to attend now.
With an incentive that will reduce Cinespace Studios’ real estate taxes to further enable it to “put more money into the infrastructure,” says president Alex Pissios, the studio will complete 25 stages, one of which will a rare “water stage.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel, a supporter of the film industry who understands its positive economic impact, proposed a property tax reduction of $3.5 million over 12 years for the studio.
The first new amendment to the Illinois Film Tax Credit since it was enacted in 2008 could give the state a competitive boost with other film states, especially as a destination for feature films with mid-range $10-$20 million budgets.
Besides 2013 being the year of Chicago’s major breakthrough as a favored location for Hollywood entertainment projects and a giant film spend increase pouring into the local economy — this summer also will mark the year of the biggest stage expansion ever.
Both Cinespace Studios and Chicago Studio City are gearing up for expansion to accommodate the anticipated new business from Hollywood that’s starting to head our wave in droves.
Illinois made a giant stride towards a higher place in the film production hierarchy with the announcement Friday that state film revenue generated a record $184 million in 2012, a significant jump from $161 million the year before.
Of that amount, $34 million was attributed to commercial production.
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.
The seven-year old Springfield-based Central Illinois Film Commission (CIFC) decided that the time has come to let people know that the area — “everything below I-80 to the Kentucky border” – has the goods to handle filmmaking.
CIFC aims to promote the area’s charms Oct. 26-28, with what it calls a “Film Expo and Trade Show,” but actually seems more like an informational and networking event, with film speakers lined up for Saturday afternoon.
RENETTA McCANN has returned to Leo Burnett after a four year absence in the important position of US chief talent officer, overseeing all Burnett’s recruitment, training and talent management, reporting to North American president Rich Stoddart.
She replaces Jeff Tritt, EVP-people and culture, who joined Resource Interactive, Columbus, Ohio as chief talent officer.
RETURNING TO CHICAGO in a big way this September is actor, standup comic, author and radio personality Steve Harvey, who started his career here in radio at WGCI-FM 20 years ago and is returning as the star of his own “Steve Harvey” TV show.
The show will originate in the 10,000-sq. ft. studio in NBC Tower in front a studio audience expected to fill the studio’s 200 seats – the same studio where Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones put Chicago on the daytime TV show map.
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.
WINDY CITY WEST’S PARTY Monday night in L.A. was the smash hit everyone expected from Brenda Sexton, whose Chicago-L.A. Link brought together 400 folks with Chicago connections jam-packed” at La Grande Orange restaurant in Santa Monica.
“We got rave reviews on everything, especially favorite food from Chicago which was fantastic,” an exhilarated Sexton told the Reel. To give the event a hot Hollywood vibe, TV cameras were placed around the room as guests were interviewed by columnist/Ch.
VINCE VAUGHN will team up with director Ron Howard for the first time this spring on an untitled comedy about infidelity. Vaughn always can be counted on to boost Chicago as the location whenever he can.
The last and only time Howard shot in Chicago was “Backdraft,” in 1991. Overall his experience here was a good one, except for a location conflict that so incensed the director that he vowed never to shoot in Chicago again. Vaughn, who has had excellent experiences here, may have helped Howard change his mind.
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.