rEvolution acquires Centigrade to broaden industry expertise

 rEvolution, the world’s largest independent sports marketing agency, has acquired Detroit-based integrated marketing agency Centigrade. The acquisition bolsters rEvolution’s current roster of global clients, joining others in the automotive, motorsports and lifestyle categories including Continental Tire, General Tire, Lucas Oil and Polaris. Specializing in marketing communications, public relations, experiential activation and motorsports, Centigrade boasts Lamborghini, … Continue reading “rEvolution acquires Centigrade to broaden industry expertise”

rEvolution horses around with Continental Tire

Chicago sports and lifestyle agency rEvolution created a horse mascot with high-flying basketball skills to score mad points for Continental Tire in a new campaign called Inspiring Confidence. The stallion soars over the airways on a 30-second broadcast spot titled, Training Days, and lands on the courts of select arenas in a slam-dunk spectacle called … Continue reading “rEvolution horses around with Continental Tire”

rEvolution on the rise

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

rEvolution acquires London sports marketing group

rEvolution expands global footprint, broadens reach in golf, tennis, motorsports, soccer and equestrian   CHICAGO & LONDON – rEvolution, the integrated global sports marketing agency, has acquired London-based sports marketing agency Revolution Sports Marketing Group. Founded in 2003, Revolution works with a variety of clients across golf, equestrian, tennis, motorsports and rugby, and counts SAS, … Continue reading “rEvolution acquires London sports marketing group”

rEvolution wins big at the Telly Awards, again

Chicago marketing agency rEvolution’s ‘micro-sitcom’ for Winnebago scored a pair of Silver nods from the 39th annual Telly Awards on May 22.   Meet the Maddons, an online sitcom by rEvolution for Winnebago, won Silver Telly Awards in both the business-to-consumer campaigns and the comedy webseries categories earlier this week. Breezing through everyday snippets of … Continue reading “rEvolution wins big at the Telly Awards, again”

rEvolution unites Winnebago and Maddon to get RAW

And here I thought Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon lived in the dugout.

Apparently not!

Turns out Maddon and his wife, Jaye, live in a $500,000 Winnebago Grand Tour. During the off-season, the two pal around the country in their spectacular home away from home.

Joe Maddon’s love of RVs became popularized three years ago, when he first introduced the world to his mobile home named, “Cousin Eddie.” It’s derived from the slob Randy Quaid played in the Vacation movies.

Four revolutionary ways to reach an indie audience

The days of begging distributors to take your work is over.  The days of receiving no money for your work is over.  Now, exciting new ways are emerging to reach an audience.

If you are an independent filmmaker, you must join this revolution in the cloud and stake out your own digital turf.  Get engaged with authentic conversations with your viewers and allow them a seamless and exciting digital cinema experience. 

Contursi intros revolutionary new LED lights at NAB

Phil Contursi of Product Productions says he will be spending all four days at NAB next week in the AAdynTech booth, where he anticipates being busy with visitors wanting to know all about “the explosive, game-changing, wave of the future LED lights” he’s helping AAdynTech introduce.

Post Magazine voted AAdynTech one of the “Top Five Companies” attending NAB, calling their LED product “good for the wallet and good for the environment,” an unbeatable combination.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire pad to revolutionize indie film access

The Reel is honored that award-winning indie filmmaker and Columbia College professor Julian Grant will be sharing his valuable insights as well as news about Chicago’s thriving indie scene.

CINEMA 2.0 IS ON ITS WAY, in the form of the new Kindle Fire from Amazon that was just announced and ships next month.  The much-in-demand tablet styled E-reader boasts a low sticker price of $199 and a gateway to all of your purchased Amazon content.

Liquidus Media revolutionizing TV ads

“The sky’s the limit for video production right now,” claims Liquidus Media’s Kirk Davis. “And we’re giving advertisers the ability to put video just about anywhere it will go.”

With its new Showbuilder service, Liquidus is turning advertisers into producers and program schedulers by providing the capability to create long-format advertising videos with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Screen Door Films counts on media revolution for distribution of its digital HD mini-feature

Seeing a future in mini-features for new media outlets, Screen Door Films’ “The Swing,” its first feature in a 30-minute time frame and shot in HD, will premiere Feb. 17 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Producer Bryan Carmody, who stars, and director John Versical said they chose a story that could be produced on $70,000 budget.

“The Swing” is the story of a northern Michigan family that never quite made it, and the struggles of its patriarch Jacob King to avoid the problems of his past, even as they come back to haunt him.

A Revolution of the Heart?Oscar Brown, Jr. doc gets Midwest premiere at Black Harvest Aug. 13

Filmmaker donnie l. betts first met Oscar Brown, Jr. at a workshop in Denver when betts was a young actor there.

“He inspired me to be the kind of artist I wanted to be, “an artist who has a social responsibility and a social awareness to do more than entertain but educate as well, and hopefully elevate,” said betts, now a theatre director, screen actor and documentarian.

25 years later, betts has completed the first full-length documentary ever made about the Chicago cultural icon who died May 29.

Director Greg Popp joins the roster at SEED Media Arts

Veteran Writer/Director, Greg Popp, has joined SEED Media Arts, bringing his outstanding comedic storytelling to their rapidly expanding roster. Popp’s seasoned experience and award-winning work is no doubt a very exciting addition to the SEED family. His recognizable portfolio includes well known work created for Head and Shoulders, Burger King and Anheuser-Busch, as well as … Continue reading “Director Greg Popp joins the roster at SEED Media Arts”

Creative agency, Battery hires a dozen new team members

Battery, the highly esteemed Los Angeles, Toronto and Chicago-based creative agency, experiences a wave of growth across every department, welcoming twelve new full-time hires plus internal promotions to the team.   Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer Philip Khosid speaks to the expansion, “Since the start of the new year, Battery has experienced great fortune via an … Continue reading “Creative agency, Battery hires a dozen new team members”

Two feature debuts take top honors at Chicago Latino Film Festival

The 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival announced today the winners and runners-up for its Audience Choice Awards. The slate of 50 features and 36 shorts from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States, included an array of premieres, stories of underrepresented communities, and an increase in LGBTQIA+ films. Even though the festival is a non-competitive … Continue reading “Two feature debuts take top honors at Chicago Latino Film Festival”

The Wachowskis auction memorabilia from The Matrix, Cloud Atlas and more

The Wachowskis will auction their collection of memorabilia, props, concept art, costumes, awards and souvenirs from their signature films such as The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, The Matrix Reloaded, Speed Racer, Jupiter Ascending, Ninja Assassin, Enter the Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions, V for Vendetta. Potter & Potter Auctions announces this can’t miss sale to be held … Continue reading “The Wachowskis auction memorabilia from The Matrix, Cloud Atlas and more”

Bye Bye Chicago world premiere at 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival

As the countdown for the 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival, presented by Corona Extra, begins, organizers unveiled the list of films that will receive their World, North American, U.S. and Midwest Premieres at the Festival, led by the locally produced Bye Bye Chicago. The Festival this year will feature two World Premieres, five North American … Continue reading “Bye Bye Chicago world premiere at 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival”

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”

REEL WOMEN: DDB Creative Director Carolyn Bergen

Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2022 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Women like Carolyn Bergen are making “Herstory.” A passionate, proven creative leader and writer, Carolyn is a … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: DDB Creative Director Carolyn Bergen”

VSA Partners launches new brand identity for global clean energy client

The decarbonization and hydrogen technologies developed by FuelCell Energy have been quietly helping to revolutionize the clean energy sector for decades. Now the company has worked with hybrid brand strategy and design firm, VSA Partners, on a brand refresh that emphasizes its leadership in combating global climate change. “There’s never been greater urgency in adoption … Continue reading “VSA Partners launches new brand identity for global clean energy client”

Chicago Filmmakers announces competition programs for Onion City Festival

Chicago Filmmakers announces the competition programs for the 32nd Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival, which will take place March 31 to April 3. The five competition programs will feature 35 short films exploring themes of digital media production, politics of memory, and the value of physical spaces from the United States, France, Canada, South … Continue reading “Chicago Filmmakers announces competition programs for Onion City Festival”

Our Top 10 Valentine’s Day Chicago films

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

Havas Chief Creative Officer Myra Nussbaum adds President to title

Less than a year after becoming Chief Creative Officer of Havas Chicago, Myra Nussbaum has been promoted to the dual role of President and CCO of the creative agency. Nussbaum, the first female CCO within Havas’ North American creative network, now adds agency leadership responsibilities to her current creative remit, which has been focused on … Continue reading “Havas Chief Creative Officer Myra Nussbaum adds President to title”

Lana Wachowski explains why now is the right time to return to The Matrix

We are only a couple of weeks away from the opening of the fourth, and long-awaited chapter, to The Matrix, the groundbreaking 1999 film that redefined a genre. That trilogy came from the visionary minds of Chicago-born writer/directors Lilly and Lana Wachowski. Now, Lana is out on her own as she brings The Matrix: Resurrections … Continue reading “Lana Wachowski explains why now is the right time to return to The Matrix”

Hornitos Tequila and the Black List announce grant recipients

Hornitos Tequila, a leading premium tequila brand founded on the belief that nothing great ever happens without taking a chance, and producer and screenwriter hub the Black List today announced the five recipients of the Black List x Hornitos Take Your Shot Short Film Program.  In April 2021, Hornitos Tequila and the Black List announced the program in … Continue reading “Hornitos Tequila and the Black List announce grant recipients”

Full festival schedule for the 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center announces the full festival schedule for its 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, which will take place both virtually and in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center from November 5 through December 2. The festival’s month-long showcase of Black stories will feature … Continue reading “Full festival schedule for the 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival”

How a trailblazing woman made Chicago the home of improv

Chicago’s greatest cultural export just might be improv theater, which was born at Jane Addams’ Hull House during the Great Depression and carried out into the world by the likes of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. While to most people improv might seem synonymous with comedy, the art form was devised … Continue reading “How a trailblazing woman made Chicago the home of improv”

FACETS announces late night series: Alternative Horror Essentials

FACETS, newly reopened and welcoming back the Chicago film community, will present a new late night screening series starting Thursday, October 7, 2021.  The series comes just in time for Halloween, starting off with an Alternative Horror Essentials program featuring 5 films. Tickets cost $5/person for each show, and FACETS Members get in free to the first two … Continue reading “FACETS announces late night series: Alternative Horror Essentials”

Chicago Entertainment Lawyer, Linda Mensch dies in tragic accident

Linda Mensch, Chicago entertainment attorney at the firm Mandell Menkes LLC, and board member with A Safe Haven, the homelessness prevention organization, died last week in a hit-and-run while leaving the Garfield Park Conservatory. Witnesses said that Mensch and a friend were crossing the street in the 300 block of North Central Park Avenue, near … Continue reading “Chicago Entertainment Lawyer, Linda Mensch dies in tragic accident”

Explore produces direct-to-brand creative for ‘We Can Help’

Creative production company Explore recently produced a commercial campaign for 1st Source Bank which aired during the 2021 Olympic Games, broadcast on the NBC network from Tokyo, Japan.  The spots were unique because they were contracted directly between the production company and the brand, but still exhibited an agency-level feel from both messaging, creativity, and … Continue reading “Explore produces direct-to-brand creative for ‘We Can Help’”

South Shore’s Regal Mile Studios receives city approval

The Regal Mile Studios, a proposed $60 million film studio planned for Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood received preliminary approval from a Chicago commission. The Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal for a “state-of-the-art media campus” with 220,000 square feet of studio space on a 6.5-acre plot in the far southwest corner of South Shore. A … Continue reading “South Shore’s Regal Mile Studios receives city approval”

Chicago Auto Show has better than expected attendance

The Chicago Auto Show opened to the public today better than anticipated attendance. The long awaited 2021 Special Edition is taking place July 15-19 inside McCormick Place’s West Building and outdoors along Indiana Avenue. This marks the first time in history that the show, traditionally hosted in February, will be held in the summertime, taking advantage of … Continue reading “Chicago Auto Show has better than expected attendance”

It’s CINEMA WEEK and The Logan Theatre is celebrating

It’s CINEMA WEEK and The Logan Theatre is celebrating movie-going with fellow theaters nationwide! The real treat is the return of the big screen—everything beyond is to thank you for being here to make it happen. Along with the premiere of F9, here’s what we’re looking forward to. ALL WEEK AT THE LOGAN THEATRE: Free Small … Continue reading “It’s CINEMA WEEK and The Logan Theatre is celebrating”

Chicago Med says goodbye to two original cast members

As NBC’s Chicago Med is nearing the end of their 6th season, Chicago says goodbye to two original cast members, Yaya DaCosta and Torrey DeVitto. The departures come as the initial contracts of Chicago Med’s original cast are up for renewal. DeCosta chose to leave at the end of her contract and quickly received an … Continue reading “Chicago Med says goodbye to two original cast members”

Havas Chicago appoints Myra Nussbaum first female CCO

Havas Chicago has announced the appointment of Myra Nussbaum as chief creative officer – the first female CCO in Havas’ North American network. Nussbaum brings more than 15 years’ experience making work that moves at the speed of culture based in the philosophy that creating a strong, simple message has the power to break through … Continue reading “Havas Chicago appoints Myra Nussbaum first female CCO”

‘One Chicago’ fans, get ready for May Sweeps

May sweeps are here and that is good news for One Chicago fans. Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Fire will run new episodes every Wednesday in May until the finale on May 26. The Reel Chicago staff has been planning a One Chicago finale party. If you’re planning to do the same, here’s a … Continue reading “‘One Chicago’ fans, get ready for May Sweeps”

Chicago Independent Producers Lab selects 5 producers

Full Spectrum Features, the Chicago-based non-profit committed to driving equity into the film industry, announced the five producers selected for its second annual Chicago Independent Producers Lab, a year-long project incubator designed to cultivate Chicago’s vibrant independent film industry. In partnership with the Chicago Film Office’s Independent Film Initiative, the Lab offers one-on-one customized mentorship … Continue reading “Chicago Independent Producers Lab selects 5 producers”

Skydeck Chicago reopens with new interactive museum

EQ Office announces the exciting reopening of Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower to the public on April 23 after completing an extensive redevelopment, raising the bar once again for the world-renowned experience. The revamped Skydeck Chicago—already rated a Top 10 destination by Tripadvisor.com—will provide a can’t miss, one-stop attraction to discover and see all that the city of Chicago offers from an incomparable … Continue reading “Skydeck Chicago reopens with new interactive museum”

OKRP promotes Aubrey Walker to Exec Creative Director

O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul is adding a level to its creative leadership with the promotion of Aubrey Walker to the new role of Executive Creative Director. He assumes leadership of the agency’s creative department from Laura Fegley who left the agency this summer. Walker has led the agency’s recent work for The Illinois Lottery, including … Continue reading “OKRP promotes Aubrey Walker to Exec Creative Director”

Pritzker announces commitment to digital equity

Governor JB Pritzker announced a new Digital Equity Package, enlisting state, local, nonprofit and philanthropic support to address gaps in digital access, adoption, and affordability for high-speed internet access. The comprehensive approach is designed to help communities identify and address existing broadband equity gaps, as well as to leverage new and existing sources of funding … Continue reading “Pritzker announces commitment to digital equity”

‘Chicago From The Air’ WTTW special filmed with drone

A new special narrated by Geoffrey Baer, filmed from above, explores Chicago and its history from a new and breathtaking perspective. Imagine if you could soar, swoop, dive, and spiral through and around Chicago’s landmarks, neighborhoods, and suburbs – with a familiar voice providing engaging commentary along the way. CHICAGO FROM THE AIR, a new … Continue reading “‘Chicago From The Air’ WTTW special filmed with drone”

Opening Night: 26th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival

A Black Harvest Feast, opening night program on Friday, November 6 at 7:30 pm, is hosted by NBC Chicago’s LeeAnn Trotter, our Master of Ceremonies, and features a unique parade of filmmakers in a virtual red carpet to kick off the festivities.  Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshlman serve as the honorary … Continue reading “Opening Night: 26th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival”

CIFF announces the winners of its 2020 competition

The 56th Chicago International Film Festival, North America’s longest-running competitive film festival, this morning announced the winners of its 2020 competition. In a virtual ceremony live-streamed on YouTube, prizes were awarded to films in the following categories: International Feature Film Competition; New Directors Competition; International Documentary Competition; Out-Look Competition; and Short Film Competition. The Chicago Award and the Roger Ebert Award were … Continue reading “CIFF announces the winners of its 2020 competition”

Interview: CIFF Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman

Today is the beginning of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival. Unlike other years, the prestigious festival is a bit different than the ones we have experienced in the past. With an ongoing pandemic and COVID on the rise in Illinois, the fest is combining streaming on-demand and appointment screenings and an in-person drive-in theatre … Continue reading “Interview: CIFF Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman”

Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals program lineup

The Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals (CoSAFF), a first-of-its-kind event to bring together seven established South Asian film festivals from the US and Canada, announces its industry programming lineup. The virtual festival is scheduled for October 3-17, 2020, which is entirely free to view for all audiences. CoSAFF 2020 is powered by Vimeo’s OTT … Continue reading “Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals program lineup”

2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List

Congratulations to our friends and advertisers who have received nominations for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy. The 62nd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will broadcast virtually in November. Regions covered by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter include Chicago, Illinois; Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin; and Madison, Wisconsin. Here is the complete list … Continue reading “2019-2020 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Nominations List”

Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival lineup

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”

LÜM adds virtual gifting system to music streaming

LÜM, a Madison-based tech startup that’s revolutionizing the way artists and fans stream and discover new music, has closed a Seed II round of funding. LÜM will continue its innovative launch of the first virtual gifting system implemented to help the development and profitability of independent artists in the music streaming industry. Over the past … Continue reading “LÜM adds virtual gifting system to music streaming”

Gov Pritzker announces $300k to support broadband

State of Illinois announces $300,000 public private investment to support community-driven broadband plans.New Illinois Connected Communities program will foster community engagement and planning for broadband access, adoption, and utilization across Illinois. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband today announced the first recipients of the Illinois Connected Communities grant program, created to … Continue reading “Gov Pritzker announces $300k to support broadband”

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss on returning to ‘Matrix’

While the three original films – The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions – seemed to conclude the series – Neo and Trinity do die – there has been speculation that the world would return someday. That someday began last August when Warner Bros. officially announced that a fourth Matrix would happen. After … Continue reading “Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss on returning to ‘Matrix’”

Lilly Wachowski admits “rage” inspired ‘Matrix’

Like other big budget productions, The Matrix 4, directed by Lana Wachowski, has shut down until the current Coronavirus pandemic has cleared enough for studios to feel safe to go back into production. That day seems like it will come sooner rather than later as sister outlet Reel 360 reports California will reopen for film production this Friday, June 12. … Continue reading “Lilly Wachowski admits “rage” inspired ‘Matrix’”

Zoom Interview: Richard Song of Eleven04

Asian Americans have been a silent voice in American Media since the birth of cinema.  While many other demographics have found a way to break through to mainstream markets, few filmmakers and actors of Asian descent have risen to the top.  Asians currently make up the majority of the world’s population, and continue to be … Continue reading “Zoom Interview: Richard Song of Eleven04”

‘John Wick’ directors help out with ‘Matrix 4’ stunts

When the Wachowskis’ The Matrix premiered in 1999, it gave film audiences some of the most ground-breaking, jaw-dropping action sequences of the time. Who can forget in the opening minutes, Trinity (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) springing into the air, freezing and the camera spinning around her? Even if the subsequent sequels were not as beloved, … Continue reading “‘John Wick’ directors help out with ‘Matrix 4’ stunts”

One Club announces finalists for ADC 99th Annual Awards

Design studios, ad agencies, production companies, brands and freelancers in 32 countries have made the cut as finalists for the prestigious ADC 99th Annual Awards, as announced today by The One Club for Creativity, the world’s foremost non-profit organization supporting and celebrating the global creative community. Entries in the global ADC 99th Annual Awards increased 6% from last … Continue reading “One Club announces finalists for ADC 99th Annual Awards”

REEL WOMEN: Laurie Adrianopoli, EP Sales/Mktg at Carbon

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. Laurie is a native Chicagoan who enjoys being a … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Laurie Adrianopoli, EP Sales/Mktg at Carbon”

REEL WOMEN: Christina Varotsis, producer, UPM

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. Christina has produced a wide variety of studio and … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Christina Varotsis, producer, UPM”

Reel Women: Award-winning filmmaker, April Wright

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. April Wright is an award winning filmmaker who brings … Continue reading “Reel Women: Award-winning filmmaker, April Wright”

Elijah McKinnon, Executive Director, OTV

Multi-talented artist, advocate, and creative leader Elijah McKinnon — who is from the future — joins the 2020 Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, House Music pioneer Vince Lawrence, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view … Continue reading “Elijah McKinnon, Executive Director, OTV”

Wayne Kubacki retires from Essanay Studios

Last month, Essanay Studio and Lighting Company co-owner Wayne Kubacki retired from the nationally recognized company that he co-founded decades ago. Widely admired for his extensive knowledge, punctilious care, and conversational efficiency, he leaves a vacancy that will reverberate far beyond the company’s Goose Island facility. “I’m going to miss him,” says Jules Tomko, Essanay’s … Continue reading “Wayne Kubacki retires from Essanay Studios”

Chaz Ebert named Laureate of Beethoven Spirit Award

The Chicago-based International Beethoven Project (IBP) announced today that entrepreneur, publisher, author, producer, and philanthropist Chaz Ebert is the 2019 Laureate of this year’s Beethoven Spirit Award. The Beethoven Spirit Award is given every year to an accomplished person who has lived a life of humanistic action connected to the arts. The honor is bestowed … Continue reading “Chaz Ebert named Laureate of Beethoven Spirit Award”

Interview with OTV founder Dr. Aymar Jean Christian

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”

Stop Us Before We Disrupt Again

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

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’”

Milos Stehlik, 1949-2019

Windy City film legend founded Facets Chicago, “a temple of great cinema” Chicago film legend Milos Stehlik passed at his home in Lincoln Park on Saturday, July 6. The 70-year-old founder of Facets Chicago died after a six-month battle with lung cancer. Besides founding the internationally celebrated cultural institution, Stehlik was also a frequent guest … Continue reading “Milos Stehlik, 1949-2019”

Chatter: Is new ‘Matrix’ filming in Chicago 2020?

If rumors are to be believed a new Matrix, helmed by the Wachowskis could be filming in town as early as next year There is a new rumor making the rounds that ComicBookMovie.com caught wind of. If it is to be believed, the once successful Matrix franchise will return to the big screen sooner than … Continue reading “Chatter: Is new ‘Matrix’ filming in Chicago 2020?”

Chicago shops score at the Telly Awards

AbelsonTaylor, Daily Planet, Delack, KemperLesnik, Mimi, rEvolution, Richter Studios, Spirit Juice, Strange Loop among 2019 winners The Telly Awards announced this year’s winners on May 21. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019, the awards represent the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens. Entries were judged by jury members from creative … Continue reading “Chicago shops score at the Telly Awards”

Audio pro Jordan Stalling joins Another Country

Award-Winning sound designer / mix engineer brings considerable advertising campaign experience to Chicago studio Managing Director John Binder, Executive Producer Tim Konn, and their colleagues at the acclaimed sound design studio Another Country are very proud to announce the addition of award-winning Sound Designer and Mix Engineer Jordan Stalling to their staff. Effective immediately, Stalling … Continue reading “Audio pro Jordan Stalling joins Another Country”

Werner Herzog to lead Master Class at Facets

Legendary director will discuss his career, philosophy, and approach to filmmaking Facets Chicago will present a master class with acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. With a body of work that spans over five decades and is still growing, Herzog has cemented his legacy as not only a trailblazer of … Continue reading “Werner Herzog to lead Master Class at Facets”

Millennium Park Summer Film Series 2019

From “Black Panther” to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Chicago’s outdoor movie schedule offers something for everyone The 2019 Millennium Park outdoor movie schedule is diverse and awesome. Taking place every Tuesday night from June 4 through August 20, it opens with Black Panther, finishes on My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and offers Moonlight, The … Continue reading “Millennium Park Summer Film Series 2019”

DDB’s new look is a celebration of the past

“This visual identity perfectly captures our heritage and legacy … and positions us for the future.” DDB CEO Wendy Clark DDB Worldwide unveiled a new visual identity in a brief, compelling, and informative video released today. The one-minute, 42-second piece references the agency’s history and branding while flashing through a whirlwind of legendary campaigns before … Continue reading “DDB’s new look is a celebration of the past”

The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival

The two-week event launches on March 28 with Icían Bollaín’s “Yuli” followed by a “Noche Cubana” celebration The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will take place March 28-April 11 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. and will feature over 100 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and … Continue reading “The 35th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival”

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”

Yearlong Cuban film series comes to Chicago

Cuban filmmakers, journalists, and scholars scheduled to interact with U.S. audiences Full Spectrum Features (FSF), Americas Media Initiative (AMI), and Athenaeum Theatre Productions are thrilled to present Cuban Visions, a year-long film series that will provide a unique window into both early revolutionary and contemporary Cuban life and culture. Six two-hour programs will be held … Continue reading “Yearlong Cuban film series comes to Chicago”

WTTW Chicago among first to air ‘Victoria’ season 3

The Masterpiece hit period drama series premieres Sunday January 13 at 8 pm on WTTW11 and wttw.com/watch (Chicago — 19 December 2018)    It is 1848, and revolution is breaking out across Europe. In Britain, one woman stands between order and chaos: Queen Victoria. Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) stars as the young but fearless monarch, facing … Continue reading “WTTW Chicago among first to air ‘Victoria’ season 3”

President George H.W. Bush passes at 94

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”

The 3% Conference rises in Chicago

Expert speakers, engaging activities, and sensational presentations helped to guide 1,300 industry attendees onto the same important long-term group project   Besides being informative, last month’s 3% Conference at Navy Pier was enlightening, collaborative, optimistic, intense, cosmopolitan, introspective, touching, intimate, raunchy, and hilarious. And that was just during the final few hours of the two-day … Continue reading “The 3% Conference rises in Chicago”

Horn From The Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story

John Anderson’s intimate documentary celebrates the Hyde Park native who introduced a generation to the swaggering energy of Chicago blues Chicago filmmaker John Anderson’s 2018 documentary, Horn from the Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story, is a detailed and passionate tribute to the life and career of Chicago vocalist and harmonica player Paul Butterfield. Known to … Continue reading “Horn From The Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story”

Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule

Headliners include Oscar-­winning director Steve McQueen, Emmy-­nominated writer Bashir Salahuddin, and award-­winning producers Albert Berger and Bob Teitel (Chicago — 26 September 2018) The complete program of Industry Days (Oct. 11­14) at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival was announced today with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the Midwest film … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule”

“Knockout” wins Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project

Like all the submissions, the dialogue, editing, and direction reflect a film that was revised, rehearsed, and shot over and over again Alley Cake Films’ short film, Knockout, was named Best Picture of the 14th annual 48 Hour Film Project Chicago during an awards ceremony at the Music Box Theater last night. The story of … Continue reading ““Knockout” wins Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project”

The GoPro of the 19th century

The “Pancake” Camera that changed film and natural history in Mr. Akeley’s Movie Camera exhibition   What do Hollywood directors, the US Army during World War I, and a taxidermist all have in common? A portable, easily maneuverable “pancake” camera invented by Carl Akeley, the Field Museum’s first chief taxidermist. To explore Carl Akeley’s contributions … Continue reading “The GoPro of the 19th century”

Talking hues with Company 3 Senior Colorist Tyler Roth

  One of Chicago’s busiest color pros looks ahead while remembering the past       As a Senior Colorist at Company 3, Tyler Roth operates in a spectrum that literally runs as wide as the eye can see. Mixing pixels of red, green, and blue at different levels of brightness and saturation, he’s got … Continue reading “Talking hues with Company 3 Senior Colorist Tyler Roth”

2112, Canadian Consulate help MDIIO come to Chicago

Songistry’s community-based collaboration, social, workflow, and metadata management resource is opening an office in the Windy City   (Los Angeles / Edmonton — July, 2018) Songistry, Inc., the parent company of MDIIO, is excited to announce its opening of a Chicago office within 2112, hiring Joan Schopmeyer as Engagement Specialist for the Midwest market. “2112 … Continue reading “2112, Canadian Consulate help MDIIO come to Chicago”

Esther Franklin named Ad Woman of the Year

  Franklin will be honored at a ceremony held in the fall     (Chicago — 28 June 2018) The Chicago Advertising Federation is proud to announce that Esther “E.T.” Franklin, Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Strategy and Cultural Fluency, Spark Foundry, has been selected as its 2018 Advertising Woman of the Year. This … Continue reading “Esther Franklin named Ad Woman of the Year”

Panasonic to award $6K to AU-EVA1 contest winner

The “Share Your Vision” video contest will select the best entries in the Fiction and Nonfiction categories   (Hollywood — 1 June 2018) Panasonic announced the AU-EVA1 Share Your Vision Video Contest, which is open to video professionals throughout the US and EU nations, at Cine Gear today. To participate, contestants should register by clicking … Continue reading “Panasonic to award $6K to AU-EVA1 contest winner”

The African Diaspora International Film Festival

The “most thought-provoking program to date in the Windy City” will light up Facets Cinematheque June 8-14, 2018   New York — 14 May 2018 To celebrate its 16th Anniversary in Chicago, the African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) — hosted by Facets Cinematheque and presented by ArtMattan Productionsts from June 8 to 14 — … Continue reading “The African Diaspora International Film Festival”

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 Underground Film Fest offers a taste of 2018

Opening night Julia Nash’s Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records Chicago premiere   Closing night Lori Felker’s Future Language: The Dimensions of VON LMO Chicago premiere   [Editor Note: The “Industrial Accident” screening sold out shortly after this story was published, but CUFF organizers are working to schedule another. Stay tuned to Reel … Continue reading “Chicago Underground Film Fest offers a taste of 2018”

Lexus pulls a fast one for an April Fool’s Day prank

If one had stumbled across Lexus’ press room this week, one would have read a new release about Lexus’ amazing new customization for new drivers. Through a partnership with Mountain View, CA-based 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, Lexus stated that they would, ahem, soon offer the ultimate answer to vehicle customization. Called “Genetic … Continue reading “Lexus pulls a fast one for an April Fool’s Day prank”

DP Carlson’s “Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There”

In many ways, filmmaker DP Carlson has been working on Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There — a 2018 documentary about one of the greatest radio storytellers in the history of American media — since the 1980s. “The Sunday night ritual was to hang out and listen to Joe Frank’s show with my fellow droogies in … Continue reading “DP Carlson’s “Joe Frank: Somewhere Out There””

Leo Burnett redefines the workplace

Leo Burnett recently transformed the 21st floor of its Wacker Dr. building into one of coolest spaces in Chicago. Following a thoughtful restoration that features two cafes, lush greenery, and partner rooms for Facebook, Google, and Adobe, the former reception area is now a cozy multifunctional setting that accommodates collaboration as well as privacy. The … Continue reading “Leo Burnett redefines the workplace”

“What’s On Tap” is all about the beer, and more

Kinzie Street Studio’s upcoming weekly series What’s On Tap adds a most essential ingredient to the food and travel show menu: beer. Lots and lots of beer. “Serving up stories about people who make beer, people who serve beer and people who drink beer,” the work-in-progress will be a thirst-quenching, host-driven trip through bars and … Continue reading ““What’s On Tap” is all about the beer, and more”

Reel LA: Doner, Deutsch, PGA, WGA in the news

Doner LA feasts on Del Monte Doner LA is starting off its 2018 pretty much the same way it ended its 2017 – with a win. The shop has now been named lead agency for California-based Del Monte Foods, one of the nation’s largest producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded food products, following … Continue reading “Reel LA: Doner, Deutsch, PGA, WGA in the news”

Behind the scenes of “Pottersville”

Director Seth Henrikson and writer Dan Meyer transformed an introspective remark by actor Michael Shannon into a holiday film that began streaming December 15 on Netflix. Pottersville is the story of a mild-mannered storekeeper named Maynard who gets mistaken for Sasquatch while drunkenly raging through the streets of a quaint but struggling New England mill … Continue reading “Behind the scenes of “Pottersville””

Energy BBDO calls up new smart phone for ZTE

On Friday, ZTE, the Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, released their most innovative, revolutionary device yet to market – the dual screen ZTE Axon M. To launch the product, which is exclusive to AT&T, the brand debuted an entertaining new marketing effort from Energy BBDO that features the simple … Continue reading “Energy BBDO calls up new smart phone for ZTE”

Cubs introduce W’ville

With the postseason here and the Cubs gearing up to #FlyTheW once more, it’s officially “W season” in Wrigleyville. And in a stroke of sports marketing genius, the Cubbies are converting Wrigleyville into a pop-up event right next to Wrigley stadium. ‘W’ville will feature free games, family-friendly entertainment, giveaways and opportunities to win 2017 Cubs … Continue reading “Cubs introduce W’ville”

“Before the Fall” makes fantastic film history

Producer/director Kamelya Alexan combined epic visuals, chilling suspense and a revolutionary VFX method to take Before the Fall into a place where no short has ventured before.

The eleven-minute Civil War fantasy tells the story of a young boy who tries to help his ailing mother by tapping the supernatural powers of a mythical beast in a nearby forest.

“The film is almost like two pieces in one,” says Alexan. “There’s a reality portion of the main character traveling through time, and a fantasy portion where he goes into a magical cave.”

Long forgotten Christmas song cheers local composers

When most people think about holiday songs, the usual suspects come to mind — “White Christmas,” “Silver Bells” and “Let it Snow.” Grammy and Emmy-winning composer Paul David Wilson, however, sings a different tune.

Wilson’s tune, “Funky, Funky Christmas, is a little-known track he composed with musician Charles “Chuck” Colbert, Jr., a founding member of the ‘70s soul band Rufus and member of American Breed.

Mauro’s tribute to fallen Marine to benefit veterans

The young man that Lucia Mauro met in St. Peter’s Square in Rome in 2009 wore shoes that didn’t fit and were torn to shreds.  Mauro, a Chicago arts critic, learned that the shoes had belonged to the man’s brother, a Marine killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

The man was carrying out his brother’s unfulfilled dream to backpack across Italy.

Siskel’s Black Harvest, Aug. 1-28, best ever at 20

It was 20 years ago that Gene Siskel Film Center director of programming, Barbara Scharres, first launched the Black Harvest Film Festival that continues to be the main theatrical exhibition vehicle for the underserved African American independent film market.

“We identified a cultural need in Chicago, and have been working to serve it ever since the first Black Harvest,” Scharres says.

New Holiday Channel reaches out for content

Award-winning producer Carey Lundin introduces the new Holiday Channel that will celebrate the myriad of holidays, from the obvious to the obscure, year-round, that’s now seeking produced content from indie filmmakers.

Holiday Channel’s creators — Denver-based Reesa Ryder, founder/CEO and Simone Nelson, CCO a Northwestern communications graduate — have the distinction of being the only women-owners of a network!

C-K adds chef’s favorite Vitamix to new business mix

Just when things seem darkest, a ray of light often materializes to indicate all is not lost.   And sure enough, that is what has happened at Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago.

As the agency is preparing to defend it Porsche North America account, the agency got the good news it has been named agency of record for Vitamix.  That means the agency will be adding an account with approximately $12 million in billings annually.

Brits blew great marketing coup with Olympics opener

Great Britain should be ashamed. The 2012 Summer Olympics host country and London, the host city, were given the marketing opportunity of this or any other lifetime. 

They had $40-million to spend on the Olympic opening ceremonies, as well as an eager television audience said to be in excess of 1 billion. 

And what did they do?  They blew it.

“Boss” an important show for director Van Peebles

Say this for Mario Van Peebles: Despite the dark themes of Startz “Boss,” the director presides over a festive set.  Before filming ended on the second season July 10, Van Peebles shot a final scene at in a private suite at Arlington Park racetrack.

Despite the chandeliers and gratuitous Doric columns, Van Peebles wore lime green shorts and boat shoes. The rest of the largely Chicago crew wore hats – fedoras, panamas, newsboy – in honor of their day at the races, darting off to make bets in between scenes. 

Mike Gray here for west side fest on social justice

Legendary Chicago native documentarian Mike Gray of Los Angeles will help open the first North Lawndale Sundown in K-Town Film Festival – a partnership between Facets and the Better Boys Foundation – when it opens Wednesday, July 10.

“This is a fully fleshed out film festival dedicated entirely to social justice and social issues,” says Mary Visconti, BBD chief executive director.  “It’s important to note that all ten films deal with issues of the city’s west side.

“The festival offers a venue for work that is amazingly important and yet rarely screened.”

Michael Francis gone from retailer like a bad Penney

Late Monday afternoon, J.C. Penney announced its president Michael Francis was immediately departing the company. Francis was wished well in an official statement. And that was that.

Yes, in a flash Francis was gone from one of America’s iconic department stores.  Gone less than eight months after he arrived to reinvent J.C. Penney largely through the magic of marketing and advertising.  

Three famous filmmakers here covering NATO protests

Three famous Chicago native filmmakers, who established their reputations during the shocking turbulence surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, are returning this week as a team to document the many political, economic and environmental protests of the NATO Summit. 

Two-time Oscar winner cinematographer Haskell Wexler, director Andrew Davis and writer/director Mike Gray, with local activist/filmmaker producer Suree Towfighnia and a contingent of 15 to 20 filmmakers, will capture stories about the people in the various movements.

Six trends now SOP in the way we do business today

This is a consolidation of the trends that are now firmly planted in our landscape. It’s a pretty clear that the largest influence on the marketplace has been the internet.

It has eliminated the value of the regional niche and flattened the world of competition and created a rapidly growing demand and opportunity in creative and affordable visual content.

More recently we have felt a huge impact from new technology, especially the astounding capabilities made accessible to everyone through the HDSLR revolution. 

Doubtful JCP’s new approach connects with audience

So all you advertising-savvy readers.   We’re now taking bets.  How long do you think J.C. Penney — oh excuse us, JCP — will stick with this absurdity that is the department store chain’s new ad campaign from Brandadvisors/San Francisco.  The shop is one of several now on the JCP agency roster.

We were flabbergasted when details about JCP’s new logo (a modernist monstrosity if ever there were one), the new company positioning and the first bits of a new ad campaign surfaced several weeks ago.

Stephen Baldwin to star in local $3 mm indie feature

More than a decade ago, local theatre and dance teacher and arts writer Lucia Mauro became intrigued with an equestrian statue on the Janiculum Hill in Rome: A woman wielding a pistol in one hand and cradling a baby in the other.

Mauro’s subsequent screenplay, “Mother of War,” reminiscent of Errol Flynn swashbucklers, brings to life Anita Garibaldi, the heroic woman memorialized in the statue. 

Regardless of DSLR popularity, Rosen stays sold on film

Film is better. So there.  Regardless of whether film has more resolution, or whether it is more or less convenient, whether it is cheaper or more costly compared to the newer digital data technologies, I still believe film is more authentic and organic with its genuine film grain and more complex soulfulness.  

Some top cinematographers also think that if you want the best you should shoot film. Wally Pfister, cinematographer of The Dark Knight, Inception and  the upcoming Moneyball, is emphatic.

Daufenbach takes delivery of two Red Epic-Ms cameras

Now Chicago shooters can be on the same page as stratospheric directors James Cameron, Peter Jackson and Bryan Singer, who are shooting their latest big-budgets 3D features with Red Digital Cameras’ breakthrough Epic-M.

Two Red Epic-Ms have just arrived at 3D specialists Daufenbach Camera – the only Chicago outlet to date that has them.

3D revolutionary James Cameron is the Epic’s biggest supporter, Daufenbach notes.  “He just bought 50 of them.”

RDS develops new HDR video imaging

When a Resolution Digital Studio client wanted to enhance the bland image interest of an interview subject, RDS executive producer Mitch Apley felt this was the perfect project for their new HDR (high dynamic range) motion video.

And he was so right about the imaging process RDS spent several months developing, a process exclusive to RDS in Chicago.

Producers Elise and Gregg Jaffe: ?We survived!’

Elise and Gregg Jaffe were all grins as 75 friends, family, vendors, freelancers, and clients celebrated their Chicago-based Big Teeth Productions’ five-year anniversary as a one-stop production shop.

The husband-wife duo described their momentous occasion with one simple word ? surviving. “We’ve scraped and clawed and come out alive,” says Elise Jaffe. “We’re really proud.”

Big Teeth Productions (BTP) landed its first “real” Twitter job with deal-of-the-day Chicago phenom, Groupon, last year.

AKA Media makes Inc. Magazine’s 2010 list

Video production and creative web firm AKA Media Inc., is Chicago’s sole privately held media company to make Inc. Magazine’s 2010 list of 5,000 fastest growing companies. The company was also listed in 2009.

“We’re a 12-year overnight sensation,” says CEO/ executive producer Andrew Krause, who is grateful for his company’s success despite the rough economy affecting the industry.

The company ranked #4,615 in 2010, thanks to a continuing 15% growth rate since 2006. Revenues reached $2.4 million in 2009, a $200,000 increase in 12 months.

PR pro Ken Droz leaves MFO end of August

Lansing — Ken Droz, communications consultant for the Michigan Film Office, who has been the public face of Michigan’s explosive film production since the incentives were passed in 2008, will leave the position the end of August.

His replacement, Michelle Begnoche, comes from the state house, where she served as press secretary to State Representative Bart Stupak (D-Menominee).

Zacuto to challenge 35mm in DSLR shootout

The great DP Philip Bloom of London, considered the world’s foremost Video DSLR shooter and evangelist of DSLR low-budget filmmaking, arrives in Chicago Sunday to participate in the first-ever shootout pitting new DSLR cameras against traditional 35mm.

The Feb. 1-4 evaluation is being conducted by Zacuto, makers of camera accessories, in association with Resolution Digital Studios and Filmworkers Club.

New futuristic Wachowskis movie rumored

THE SUPER SECRETIVE WACHOWSKIS may be ramping up their next movie, with Huffington Post publisher and politico Ariana Huffington, of all people, involved in it. Photos she posted on Twitter suggest she has a role in their story about the war in Iraq from the POV of a futuristic society.

Since their “The Matrix” triology in 2003, Andy and Lana Wachowski have directed only one movie, last year’s “Speed Racer.” If a new movie is in the works, count on all the special effects coming from their fortress-like high-tech studio at 5645 N. Ravenswood.

The Wachowskis’ new movie is rumored

THE SUPER SECRETIVE WACHOWSKIS may be ramping up their next movie, with Huffington Post publisher and politico Ariana Huffington, of all people, involved in it. Photos she posted on Twitter suggest she has a role in their story about the war in Iraq from the POV of a futuristic society.

Since their “The Matrix” triology in 2003,

Andy and Lana Wachowski have directed only one movie, last year’s “Speed Racer.” If a new movie is in the works, count on all the special effects coming from their fortress-like high-tech studio at 5645 N. Ravenswood.

How to prosper in these amazing new times

If you are spending all of your time, money and energy trying to support your old model, you are not investing proper resources into what form your future model might take.

The old model is toast. It was predicated in a culture of scarcity that no longer exists. Today’s landscape demands an urgent reinvention, a revolution.

Your organization or career’s new iteration will likely be lighter, more diverse and vastly more flexible.

Actors gain in AFTRA/SAG-advertising contract

Everybody was expecting a revolution, but the advertising contract AFTRA and SAG signed in the early morning hours of April 1 with the Joint Policy Committee of advertising agencies and producers looks a lot like ad contracts of years past.

There are some rate hikes ($36 million total) and some new Internet structures.

But in terms of wiping out the payment structure as we know it, that was tabled for study to be decided in 2012. Class A, pay-per-play commercials, in other words, have been preserved.

Actress Helen Hunt directed a spot here

ACTRESS HELEN HUNT was in Chicago last weekend with Chelsea Pictures/L.A. to direct a 60-second spot for Frito-Lay’s new TrueNorth healthy snack brand that will air on the Oscars’ Feb. 22 telecast.

TrueNorth launched a consumer contest last summer for stories that described how they or someone they know had the pursuit of their life’s passion. The winner, out of 2,300 entries, will be featured in a spot and receive a cash prize of $25,000.

The Oscars’ spot will kick off the brand’s 2009 ad campaign which will highlight real people who pursued their life’s passion.

How Razorfish stays way out in front

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.

NAB 2008: Record international visits, “evolutionary” systems and hardware changes

I didn’t go to NAB 2008 in Las Vegas this year for the first time in many years.

It now seems like I wasn’t the only one to stay at home and follow the biggest show in broadcasting while sipping a Margarita and navigating the show floor over the web.

Along with previously announced “no-shows” at NAB 2008, such as Avid and Apple, general attendance was down more than 5% from last year, to around 105,000 total visitors and hallways were sometimes nearly empty.

There was an even greater dip in U.S.

After many years in the works, Bendinger and Iltis premiere their ?amazing Czech Legion’ doc May 1

A documentary about a little known but heroic WWII legion, produced by former adman Bruce Bendinger and PR guru John Iltis, will premiere May 1 at the Chicago History Museum.

“We call it ?the most amazing story you never heard,’ said Bendinger of their film, “Accidental Army: The Amazing True Story of the Czechoslovak Legion.”

Through the 50-minute doc, noted Bendinger, “We are actually helping a country recover its history.

Filmmaker Nathyn Masters finds a new way to sell his screenplay?but was it worth the effort?

Could Ebay become the cyber age agent for screenplay writers? Filmmaker Nathyn Masters was willing to give it a try.

“Trying to sell via eBay is a way to reach a broader audience of filmmakers looking for screenplays in this niche,” says Masters, a producer of Christian horror and martial arts films.

He put the script for his latest Christian horror film on eBay.com Feb. 18 with a starting bid of $1. Almost 500 views and 13 bids later it sold for $28.15 to a buyer known only as “Dan Luza 37.”

“We’re a low budget micro cinema company.

Boyer Productions’ two-part doc bows on Ch. 11

PAULA ZAHN hosts “Retirement Revolution,” a two-part PBS documentary about the challenges and solutions of retirement that face America’s largest generation.

Produced and directed by Brian Boyer of Boyer Productions, the two-part doc will air on Ch. 11 on March 31 and April 7.

“Retirement” is the first-all HD documentary made for national prime time broadcast for the PBS system. Boyer began shooting some 33 experts in June 2007 and finished the project in early January.

Good news, filmmakers! Tax credit extension bill passes the House — now it’s on to the Sentate

THE TAX EXTENSION IS ON ITS WAY! The Illinois House voted 107-7 to extend Illinois’ generous 20% tax credits. The bill was introduced to the House by speaker Michael Madigan .

From there, the bill goes to the Senate and wends its way through committes and ultimately to the Senate floor for a vote ? assuming all goes according to plan. It’s difficult to say when to pop corks — everyone’s hoping before the end of the month — so stay tuned.

Robert Townsend leads the professionals who
will launch IFP’s first fund-raising Gala Sept. 28

DIRECTOR ROBERT TOWNSEND will be among the esteemed group of industry professionals celebrating IFP’s first Independent Film Gala, Sept. 28 at Salvage One. All proceeds will go to expand IFP’s services and programs.

They include the Production Fund of $100,000 in in-kind services, the annual Midwest Filmmakers Summit coming up Oct. 19-21, mentorship programs, the Flyover Zone Film Festival and more.

Tickets are $100 ($150) for two and membership is a low $80 a year. See chi.ifp.org for details.

Flashpoint, an innovative concept in digital arts education, to open state-of-the-art Loop campus

A school as advanced as the digital arts and entertainment technologies being taught will open Sept. 17 in the historical Burnham building in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.

Flashpoint, the Academy of Media Arts & Sciences will offer aggressive 40 hour, two-year programs focused on preparing students for jobs in the trillion-dollar digital entertainment industry.

Mayor Daley has been invited to walk across the street to from City Hall and cut the ribbon to the revolutionary new school, said Howard A.

Home from L.A. and CG work on blockbusters, Ryan heads collective of top visual artists

Senior Flame artist Chris Ryan?whose eye-popping list of Hollywood blockbusters includes “300” and “Titanic”?has set up Chaos Studios, a viral collective of some of the best 2D and 3D artists in the business.

“We work with the same hardware and software you’ll find at any large post house,” said Ryan of his associates.

But the big difference is, “We’re home-based for now. I have a fully-equipped studio in my basement and my partners?who I’ve freelanced with for the past 15 years?work the same way,” he said.

Arriflex taps Fletcher Chicago one of only three U.S. reps for its new Arri D-20 digital camera

Even before officially being named Midwest representative, Fletcher Chicago rented the revolutionary new Arriflex D-20 on two commercials and two features are lined up for rentals.

Four years in development, the D-20 is a high-end film-style digital camera that acts like a film camera but records with immediate digital acquisition.

It’s the first digital camera produced by ARRI, the leading German manufacturer known for its high-end motion picture equipment.

Producer Bob Teitel and partner George Tillman have three movies slated for Chicago production

With his Columbia College classmate, director George Tillman, producer Bob Teitel of State Street Films helped launch a quiet revolution in African American dramatic entertainment.

Their breakout film, “Soul Food,” became the longest-running African American TV drama ever and they are responsible for a big chunk of Chicago production in recent years with the “Barbershop” movies and “Roll Bounce.”

ReelChicago: You and George are known as part of the small group of Chicagoans who have succeeded in bringing Hollywood productions here.

Set designers find 2,000 classic modern tables and chairs for rent at the propshopchicago

When ’60s furniture expert Judyth Jacobs invites you to have a seat, she really means it.

Her company, propshopchicago, has 2,000-pluh tables and chairs for set rentals, contained in a massive 20,000-sq. ft. River North loft space. “It’s the only one of its type in the area,” said Jacobs, whose mother founded the parent company nearly 50 years ago.

What makes it unique are original modern design pieces from 1929 Bauhaus to the Scandinavian furniture revolution of the late ’60s and early ’70s to current trends in furnishings showcased in the vast studio loft.

Halperin of Epiphany Pictures is producing film version of Craig Harris’ TV drama “Skin Complex”

Dan Halperin of Epiphany Pictures is producing Craig Harris’ feature adaptation of Harris’ 2003 TV drama “Skin Complex” that garnered five Midwest Emmys, among other awards.

A Chicago native based in Los Angeles, Halperin is shopping “Skin Complex” to studio as well as actor- and director-affiliated production companies.

Wolfgang Bodison (“A Few Good Men”) starred in the TV version of “Skin Complex,” as an African American professor contemplating a revolutionary, irreversible “race change” operation. It aired nationally on WGN and PAX.

The Midwest’s biggest music/effects library is contained on BAM Studios’ new Dream Server

BAM Studio’s Brian Reed is a persistent cuss. It took him five years, never doubting, to achieve his goal of getting major music libraries to join in his quest for a better delivery service to audio houses like his.

The result is the BAM Dream Server, a revolutionary search engine for the Midwest’s largest music and effects library.

Twelve terabytes of content?500,000 music cuts and 200,000 sound effects?are contained on the Dream Server, in which media files, storage, database and efficient network have been fluidly integrated.

Cell cinema, online, international TV present a tremendous opportunity for short film producers

Short film production and sales is a genuine revolution?an opportunity for filmmakers to exploit an enormous market for 60-second to half-hour films.

This new market exists through a perfect storm of rapid bandwidth improvements, increasingly media-friendly delivery venues and a globalized network of sales outlets.

Hordes of well-known film and television production companies are stepping into the Online and Cell Cinema markets, but they can’t satisfy these new content demands on their own.

IPA to hold 25th Anniversary Reunion even though the pioneering post house closed five years ago

IPA, The Editing House, the little post house on Webster St. that for two decades catered to independent producers has been closed for five years now, but don’t tell Scott Jacobs, its founder and former president.

On Sunday, Sept. 18, Jacobs and his partners will hold a 25th anniversary of former employees, clients and friends at The Wishbone Restaurant.

“This isn’t a wake, this is a celebration,” Jacobs said.

Five Chicago features, two Sundance selections in Chicago Underground Film Festival Aug. 18-25

A heavy dose of hard-hitting politics joins the staples of transgressive and experimental cinema at the 12th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, which runs Aug. 18-25 in its new home at the Music Box Theatre.

CUFF 12 includes 13 narrative features, nine documentary features, 18 narrative shorts, 29 documentary shorts, 89 experimental shorts, and six animations.

Split Pillow launches doc project, shoots Dogme tribute, readies fourth feature, lands video deal

Six filmmakers will each contribute a short documentary about a different Chicago neighborhood to “Chicago360,” production collective Split Pillow’s first foray into non-fiction films this winter.

“We want to try to reflect the Chicago landscape,” said Jason Stephens, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Split Pillow, which runs the annual Memorial Day speed filmmaking Challenge and the “Cliffhanger” series of collaborative features.

Exclusive Quantel Midwestern deal puts Fletcher Chicago into post product sales for first time

The makers of products that revolutionized postproduction are doing it again. And to promote and sell its newly-engineered GenerationQ systems, Quantel has signed an exclusive sales partnership with Fletcher Chicago.

Fletcher now represents Quantel’s GenerationQ post systems in 13 Midwest states, an alliance that necessitates an immediate expansion of Fletcher’s sales department.

This is the first time in Fletcher Chicago’s 18-year history that it will sell dedicated postproduction equipment, and the first time that it represents Quantel products.

CFA seeks donated equipment for massive work ahead and home movies as archives addition

At the conclusion of the successful fund-raiser for Chicago Film Archives, guest speaker Haskell Wexler turned to founder Nancy Watrous and said, “This is just the start…”

Watrous, buoyed by the enthusiasm of the more than 200 guests who attended the May 13 event at the Cultural Center, happily agreed.

The fund-raiser, for which guests paid $100 a ticket, will cover general overhead expenses for CFA’s office at 329 W. 18th St. and to continue the cataloging process.

Doc maker, movie/TV writer Mike Gray to speak at May 13 fund-raiser for Chicago Film Archives

Just three days before the 1968 Democratic National Convention was to convene in Chicago, a riotous Viet Nam war protest erupted at Grant Park.

Mike Gray, then a spot producer, shot 7,000 feet of film over three days that resulted in shot the provocative documentary, “American Revolution II” and changed his life.

Gray’s “Revolution” and equally important “The Death of Fred Hampton,” are part of the Chicago Film Archives collection of 5,000 16mm films.

50th anniversary celebration of Chicago improv comedy dates back to Compass Players roots

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chicago improv that had its genesis in the legendary Compass Players, which in turn spawned The Second City.

Paying homage to that revolution in comedy, Chicago Improv Festival’s subtitle is “From the ?Compass’ to the World, Celebrating 50 years of Improvisational Theater.”

In 1955, University of Chicago alums Paul Sills and David Shepherd founded the pioneering comedy of the Compass Players in a converted storefront cabaret theatre near the U of C.

The first Second City revue show premiered in 1959.

Kartemquin’s Gordon Quinn directs doc based on Howard Reich’s “Prisoner of Her Past” Trib series

Kartemquin Films is teaming with Tribune music critic Howard Reich to document the life of Reich’s mother, Holocaust survivor Sonia Reich.

Howard Reich approached Kartemquin a year ago about adapting his 2003 Trib series, “Prisoner of Her Past,” into a documentary of the same name.

“There was some resistance at first because of the subject matter of the Holocaust,” said Kartemquin development director Joanna Rudnick, who is producing “Prisoner of Her Past” with Reich.

Lennix talks about politics, film, theatre and the one Hollywood super star he truly hates

While his “Ray” colleagues wait to see if the movie wins Best Picture and Jamie Foxx is acclaimed best actor, Harry J. Lennix is hanging out on the North Shore.

The native Chicagoan and “Ray” co-star is taking a break from his busy movie career to star in Northlight Theatre’s riveting production of Thomas Gibbons’ drama “Permanent Collection” through March 6.

Transcending his everyday self and disappearing into roles is something that Lennix has been doing on stage since his days at Northwestern University in the early 1980s.

Spank! Music founder Shafer, 53, succumbs after illness; hailed as Chicago admusic innovator

More than 300 persons attended funeral services Jan. 3 for admusic composer/producer Steve Shafer, 52, who was hailed as a visionary who revolutionized commercial music production through his early use of synthesized music.

Mr. Shafer, 52, died Dec. 30 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a long battle with kidney cancer that began last January.

He had been a founding partner in award-winning Spank!Music and Sound Design (with composers Greg Allan and Mat Morse) in 1997.

Meeting company ProActive finds new ways of serving corporate communications needs

Let’s take a step back in time in order to bring perspective to Catherine Rategan’s interview with Tony Lorenz, founder/president of 12-year old ProActive, Inc., a business communications company with a staff of 30.

Decades before the digital revolution, Chicago flourished “as the 16mm capital of the world” by virtue of producing more industrial films, or “trips through the factory,” than any other film market in the country, as tracked by Eastman Kodak.

Local, national docs get new prominence in expanded IFP Conference Oct. 21-24

Two local feature docs head up an expanded presence for documentaries at the 13th Annual IFP/ Chicago Filmmakers Conference that begins Thursday, Oct. 21.

“The heightened presence of documentaries is a reflection of the larger community,” said IFP/Chicago executive director Elizabeth Donius. “There’s a lot of really wonderful documentary work going on in Chicago and the Midwest, and we’ll show some of the work that’s been done in the past year.”

Independent Production Roundup

KYLE HARRIS of Liberty Movies shoots the first third of his experimental narrative feature “The Patriarchs” Aug. 7-25. The first section follows a romance between an older gay activist and a young anarchist punk. “I’m interested in the intergenerational conflicts and desires between the previous, ‘ACT UP generation’ that’s lived through AIDS, and the younger queer generation working on anti-capitalist struggles,” said Harris, who teaches film and video at Columbia College and through the After School Matters program.

Six films made on Macs featured at Apple Store’s new Film Week series, July 19-23

Six filmmakers who have created films on Macs and edited on Final Cut Pro will be featured in a new Film Week program of shorts, July 19-23, in the theater at The Apple Store at 679 N. Michigan Ave.

The films, ranging in length from 10 minutes to more than an hour, were made by directors Gary Adcock, Dave Skwarczek, John Borowski, Steve Ordower, Tom Trinley and editor Billy Sheahan, who will field questions after the screening of their films. As a bonus, Roger Ebert will discuss the revolution of digital cameras during Film Week.

Peters to direct second feature in July in Champaign for under $500K budget

Robin Peters of production and multimedia company Dreamscape Design is set to direct his sophomore feature in Champaign this July, the thriller “Disconnect” for an under-$500,000 budget he raised from private investors.

Peters’ script is about a young woman who discovers a phone that allows her to call the past, learns that her mother was murdered, and uses the phone to try to prevent the murder. “Everyone she calls winds up dead in the present,” Peters said.

Telling Truth in Chicago:
A Survey of Local Docmakers, Part I

Drawing on a rich tradition of bluntness and iconoclasm, Chicago is home to a wealth of documentarians, from TV powerhouses like Towers and Kurtis Productions to national theatrical and TV leaders Kartemquin to a range of small to mid-size companies capturing public imagination and affecting social change by telling true stories. This is the first in a two-part survey of the local docmaking scene. Part two, covering companies M-Z, in our next issue.

Silver Addy spurs video game scorer GameBeat’s expansion into spot music

Barely a year after its move into commercial music, Matteson-based GameBeat Studios picked up a Silver Addy last March from the Madison Ad Federation (MAF) for a theme for the Kalahari Resort Hotel near Wisconsin Dells.

GameBeat president Darryl Duncan was a staff writer from Warner Bros. and A&M in Los Angeles, writing and producing for artists including R. Kelly, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Chaka Khan. “I exited the mainstream music industry to have something where I didn’t need a hit record to feed my kids,” he said.

Up and Down the Avenue

THE WAGE TAX CREDIT BILL (HB 5180) is en route to a five-year extension, having passed the Illinois house and is now under consideration by the state senate. Originally a sunset bill, it was due to end Dec. 31.

NOBLE BBDS’ new EVP/CD is Allyson Hunter, who left Leo Burnett after 17 years where she worked on McDonald’s, P&G, Kraft et al.

VP STRIPES for DDB’s Mike Schif, CD on Home Depot.

THE TRIBUNE’S search for a new agency is down to Burnett, DDB, Draft and Y&R.

Features for 2004 show signs of life after worst movie/TV production year

IFO assistant director Bob Hudgins is “cautiously optimistic” about the possibility of three Hollywood features spending all or some time this winter.

While “The Weather Man” has not been officially greenlighted by Sony Pictures and Escape Artists, is proceeding along as if it were. Several departments have settled in and an office is pending. Nicolas Cage is set to star in the screenplay by Lakeview resident Steven Conrad and directed by hot, hot Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean”). Budget is $22 million.

Two features are in the “excellent possibility” column.

Novice filmmakers sell “Dot” dot com
mockumentary to Showtime

Following months of negotiations, the Chicago-made dot-com mockumentary “Dot” has its television premiere Sunday, Nov. 2 on the Showtime Network.

The film, by Sneaky Kings Productions, follows the meteoric rise and fall of a fictional Internet startup, culminating in the historic Nasdaq crash that officially ended the Internet bubble.

Dot-com veterans Brett Singer and Simeon Schnapper co-directed the digital video comedy over 13 days in 2001, setting up improvised scenes based closely on their own Internet startup experiences.

Iranian film bows at Film Center

Hossein Khandan’s film “Chrysalis” plays at the Film Center’s Films of the Iranian Diaspora.

Iranian film bows at Film Center

Hossein Khandan’s film “Chrysalis” plays at the Film Center’s Films of the Iranian Diaspora.