Seed’s newest director, Matthew Underwood takes a road less traveled

Partnering closely with brands to create a true connection with the audience, Matthew Underwood creates stories that evoke emotion, rather than forcing it.  “This type of approach to storytelling makes Matthew a perfect fit here in Seed’s growing roster of highly talented directors and brand integration specialists.” says Roy Skillicorn founder of Seed Media Arts. Underwood’s filmmaking career started in … Continue reading “Seed’s newest director, Matthew Underwood takes a road less traveled”

Seed adds multi-talented Director, Kali Bailey to roster

Seed Media Arts announces the addition of Director, Kali Bailey, to its roster. This continues Seed’s recent run of partnerships with experienced cinematic storytellers all having expertise in numerous aspects of filmmaking. Bailey is an accomplished Director with a strong background in Writing, Cinematography, and Editorial that is proudly rooted in the LGBTQ+ community. Kali … Continue reading “Seed adds multi-talented Director, Kali Bailey to roster”

Director/Writer/DP Steve Conry joins Seed Media Arts

Award winning storyteller, Director/Writer/DP Steve Conry has joined the Seed Media Arts roster. This announcement comes days after a musical performance directed by Conry featuring JP Saxe and Julian Michaels aired nationally as part of the 2021 JUNO Awards.  Conry’s style of visual storytelling is becoming increasingly sought after by brands looking to grow their … Continue reading “Director/Writer/DP Steve Conry joins Seed Media Arts”

Skillicorn takes on partner moves Seed headquarters to LA

Seed Media Arts is expanding and moving their headquarters to Los Angeles. This originally Chicago-based company founded in 2011 by Roy Skillicorn has recently partnered with Los Angeles based Executive Producer Brad Johnson. As Johnson expands Seed to Los Angeles, Roy Skillicorn and Nathan Skillicorn are continuing in Chicago as the midwest representation.  “Chicago is where … Continue reading “Skillicorn takes on partner moves Seed headquarters to LA”

Seed adds Director/Photographer, Sam Ciurdar

Roy Skillicorn, owner and EP of Seed, envisions Sam Ciurdar making it big. “Sam has an artist’s eye for beautiful imagery that blends perfectly with his vision as a director and his interest in compelling storytelling. A true visual thinker and focused artist, he is the right fit for us.  His films capture emotion within the reality … Continue reading “Seed adds Director/Photographer, Sam Ciurdar”

Director, Mat Fuller joins Seed’s award winning roster

Seed adds Emmy nominated VFX artist, Mat Fuller, to their award-winning directorial roster. Fuller has worked as an on-set Visual Effects Supervisor, a live-action Director, and a Creative Director.   Following the model Seed established in 2011, each director on the roster has his or her own production company that does direct-to-client work. Mat owns Dark Matter FX. It will continue … Continue reading “Director, Mat Fuller joins Seed’s award winning roster”

Jeffrey DeChausse sows in with Seed

French / American director and artist combines documentary style with a strong performance background Emmy-winning filmmaker Jeffrey DeChausse has signed on to work with his long time friend, Roy Skillicorn, owner / EP of Seed Media Arts. Jeffrey was raised in Detroit, Michigan, and in the Loire valley in France, where he worked and lived … Continue reading “Jeffrey DeChausse sows in with Seed”

Director Magellan Rubin sets sail with Seed

Powerful storyteller “blends narrative sense with an impeccable eye for visual detail” Writer-Director Magellan Rubin has joined the directorial roster at Seed Media Arts’. Inspired by a passion for telling emotionally charged stories that are both visually distinctive and powerfully delivered, Magellan “blends narrative sense with an impeccable eye for visual detail,” according to Seed … Continue reading “Director Magellan Rubin sets sail with Seed”

“Rock star” director Erin Sax joins Seed

“Drug fueled fights, guns a-blazing, and middle of the night visits by Robin Williams defined much of her childhood” “Director Erin Sax is a ‘Rock Star’ in more ways than one,” says Roy Skillicorn, owner and EP of Seed Media Arts, the Chicago- and Los Angeles-based production company that recently welcomed Sax to its directorial … Continue reading ““Rock star” director Erin Sax joins Seed”

LA Director Anthony Pietromonaco joins Seed’s Roster

Multi-talented “Renaissance man” joins the Chicago-based international production company Award winning visual and narrative director Anthony Pietromonaco has found a home at Seed. Believing that practical experience helps build a solid foundation for film and commercial directing, Pietromonaco worked as a PA, grip, camera operator, cinematographer, editor, VFX artist, and producer before turning to professional … Continue reading “LA Director Anthony Pietromonaco joins Seed’s Roster”

Director / Writer George Mays joins Seed

The West Coast pro known for his work with Red Bull and Skrillex signs with the Chicago-based shop (Chicago — 31 October 2018) Los Angeles-based Writer / Director George Mays, best known for his work with Red Bull, has signed with Seed Media Arts. George also continues to direct freelance for Red Bull’s Media House … Continue reading “Director / Writer George Mays joins Seed”

Director Hans Emanuel sows in with Seed

Emanuel often incorporates contemporary, youthful lifestyles with body movement, dance and rhythm   Director / choreographer Hans Emanuel has rejoined Roy Skillicorn’s production company, Seed Media Arts. Having lived in Europe, Mexico and in the USA, Emanuel wields a cultural polish that few can claim. At the start of his career, he developed a sexy … Continue reading “Director Hans Emanuel sows in with Seed”

Chicago-based “Seeds” among Best at SeriesFest

The “seriously entertaining” show about four college-aged black women is on its way to the prestigious ​New York Television Festival   (Chicago — 5 July 2018) Chicago-based web series ​Seeds​ won big at the 4th annual competition of the acclaimed ​SeriesFest​ television festival last week in Denver, CO. A socially conscious portrayal of the misadventures … Continue reading “Chicago-based “Seeds” among Best at SeriesFest”

Seed wrestles a Cannes Lion for Novartis spot

“Pharma seems to have a lot of people walking down paths and petting their dogs,” says Roy Skillicorn. “This is totally different.”   Seed Media Arts and Klick Health elevated the traditionally mild energy of pharmaceutical ads to pile-driving levels of excitement in The Wrestler, a 30-second Novartis spot that won a Bronze Lion for … Continue reading “Seed wrestles a Cannes Lion for Novartis spot”

Easy Abby, Seed, Give a Shirt, DDB in the news

Viral Chicago series Easy Abby returns for season two Easy Abby, the “Lesbian RomCom Series” that scored more than 30 million views with thirteen episodes in its first season, returns Dec. 15 on Revry, “the world’s first LGBTQ+ digital streaming platform.” Created, written, and directed by Chicago filmmaker Wendy Jo Carlton, Easy Abby chronicles the … Continue reading “Easy Abby, Seed, Give a Shirt, DDB in the news”

Seed&Spark holds filmmaker crowdfunding class

Remember that awkward feeling of asking your parents for a loan? Even worse, asking to bum five or ten bucks from your friends? What could be worse? Try being a filmmaker and asking for money that your friends or family will never see again.

All to make a movie. Not a film. To the layperson, a movie.

Former DDB GCD Immesoete does double-duty at Backyard’s new Seed content company

Backyard Productions is never one to stand still, always finding a new way to serve emerging trends?like its newly-formed Seed, a content company led by former DDB award-winning group creative director John Immesoete.

Immesoete is Seed partner/creative director and also a director for Backyard.

Seed will concentrate on “entertainment opportunities such as TV shows and Web-based films,” said Backyard partner/principal Roy Skillicorn.

Since signing with Backyard in December, Immesoete directed the “Lady” Bud Light Super Bowl spot in collaboration with DDB.

Backyard plants Seed for future growth

Seed, a new L.A.-based commercial company, is the joint venture of Backyard partners Roy Skillicorn and Blair Stribley and Science+ Fiction founders Steve Mendelson and Kevin Townsend. Their focus is developing young directorial talent for commercials and programming content. Backyard COO Dan Bryant is Seed’s executive producer.

Seed starts sprouting with recent Pasadena Art Center grad Michael Chaves, who has directed McDonald’s and Char Broil spots, and Jim Byrkit, now helming a McDonald’s spot via Mad Films, which reps him in Canada.

Heart, Brains & Nerve adds Hue&Cry to their roster

Acclaimed design-centered animation studio, Hue&Cry, announces this week that Heart, Brains & Nerve has signed on to represent the award-winning Richmond, Virginia company for commercials, film, and content in the Midwest. The creative artist management company is led by its founder, Nathan Skillicorn, who brings Hue&Cry a wealth of diverse marketing experience from working with premier production and post-production talent across a broad spectrum of … Continue reading “Heart, Brains & Nerve adds Hue&Cry to their roster”

Entering the festival circuit? Here’s some smaller film festivals we love

Our friends at KitSplit put together a list of some of the smaller film festivals that we love, with a focus on those that have deadlines coming up. In doing their research, they noticed something funny – no one is talking about which film festivals are good for industry newbies & up-and-comers. We don’t all get a … Continue reading “Entering the festival circuit? Here’s some smaller film festivals we love”

Every bun has its dog

In response to Heinz Ketchup’s recent petition asking for bun and hot dog companies to come together with same-count packaging, iconic poppy seed bun maker, S. Rosen’s is taking a “hot dog” stand to gently remind the tomato condiment manufacturer how they already solved the mismatch in 2005.  Citing the trademarked “Piece Treaty of 2005, Every Bun … Continue reading “Every bun has its dog”

Highdive adds Isabel Long as Head of Growth Strategy

Highdive, an independently-owned, full-service creative agency based in Chicago announced that Isabel Long will join the agency as Head of Growth effective immediately. In her new role, Long will work closely with Highdive’s leadership team to run the agency’s new business operation and champion the firm’s exponential growth since its creation in early 2016.   … Continue reading “Highdive adds Isabel Long as Head of Growth Strategy”

Leo Burnett unveils 2021 Cannes Lions Predictions

For more than three decades, Burnetters have hedged their bets on Cannes Lions winners with 90% accuracy! After a supremely challenging 2020 and a year off for the Cannes Festival of Creativity, the industry’s most prestigious global awards show will have its virtual premire from June 21-25, 2021—complete with live-prgramming, on-demand content and more.  To … Continue reading “Leo Burnett unveils 2021 Cannes Lions Predictions”

Geletka+ welcomes designer Miriam Choi

Geletka+, Chicago’s fast-growing collaborative creative agency, today announced Miriam Choi has joined the team as a Junior Designer. Miriam comes to Geletka+ from the University of Texas where they recently finished their bachelors in arts, technology and emerging communications. Through their time as an undergrad, Choi was able to build an impressive design portfolio and … Continue reading “Geletka+ welcomes designer Miriam Choi”

37th Chicago Latino Film Audience Choice Award wins

The 37th Chicago Latino Film Festival announces the winners and runners-up for the Audience Choice Awards. The Audience Choice Award for Best Feature went to The Heist of the Century, Argentinian director Ariel Winograd’s heist comedy about the most famous and audacious bank robbery in Argentina’s history starring Guillermo Francella (The Secret in Their Eyes) … Continue reading “37th Chicago Latino Film Audience Choice Award wins”

IFA Chicago announces their 2020 Annual Soirée

Join SXSW Director of Film Janet Pierson and Director Sam Bailey for an engaging celebration to support IFA Chicago. The 45-minute virtual event includes networking, film-specific silent auction items, and entertainment just for YOU! Announcing the inaugural Independent Film Alliance Soirée, a virtual fundraiser happening December 3 at 7 p.m. CST!  Join SXSW Director of Film Janet Pierson, Director … Continue reading “IFA Chicago announces their 2020 Annual Soirée”

Lake County Film Festival complete lineup through Nov 16

The 10th Annual Lake County Film Festival (LCFF) has announced the full and complete lineup and details for this year’s 10th Anniversary edition of the film festival, taking place November 5-16. An ambitious program of 23 features and 96 short films will be presented in a virtual/in-person hybrid highlighted by a special double feature presentation … Continue reading “Lake County Film Festival complete lineup through Nov 16”

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”

212 and IFA collaborate for new streaming platform, Aha

212 Creative Network and Independent Film Alliance (IFA) have joined forces on a unique collaboration for 212’s streaming platform, Aha. The platform features creative professionals sharing their knowledge and expertise via filmmaker discussions, Q&As, webinars, panel discussions, and more. Additionally, Aha highlights talent in the Midwest to enhance their outreach, to potentially connect them to … Continue reading “212 and IFA collaborate for new streaming platform, Aha”

State of IL gives U of I Research Park an SBA FAST Grant

The State of Illinois announced that Enterprise Works, the tech incubator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Research Park, has been awarded a competitive grant through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support the growth and development of tech companies across the state. The university-based tech hub is one of 24 awardees nationwide … Continue reading “State of IL gives U of I Research Park an SBA FAST Grant”

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”

McDonald’s launches scholarship fund for HBCU Students

McDonald’s USA today announced the launch of its $500,000 Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Fund to help students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continue their education this fall, despite impacts of COVID-19. Facilitated by Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), scholarships will be distributed for the 2020-2021 academic year. The announcement comes in conjunction with the launch of … Continue reading “McDonald’s launches scholarship fund for HBCU Students”

Meet the brains behind Mind Exchange Music

As productions across the globe come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, most filmmakers have found themselves with a lot of time on their hands. Some have turned to sourdough bread baking and Tiger King, while others have decided to revisit back-burnered personal projects. Around the country, temporarily shelved footage has been brought to … Continue reading “Meet the brains behind Mind Exchange Music”

Cannabis operator Cresco Labs hires new CCO Greg Butler

Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, has hired Greg Butler as its first Chief Commercial Officer in the U.S. A graduate of the Harvard Business School and former marketing director for Miller Lite, Butler expressed enthusiasm for the groundbreaking nature of the newly created position, which … Continue reading “Cannabis operator Cresco Labs hires new CCO Greg Butler”

2nd annual “Chicago Shorts Night” & other news

Elevated Films’ 2nd Annual Chicago Shorts Night will light up the Chop Shop in Wicker Park on Wednesday, January 15th at 6 p.m. The special screening features ten Chicago-connected short films in a 100-year-old former auto body shop that is now the Windy City’s only sustainable butcher + deli + restaurant + bar. Be a … Continue reading “2nd annual “Chicago Shorts Night” & other news”

LatinX series ‘Border’d’ partners w/Creative Cypher

Border’d, a new Chicago-based web series, announced today their partnership with media company Creative Cypher to produce the first season of the show. Border’d focuses on the lives of a trio of Latinx siblings who are called to their hometown after a family tragedy and are forced to confront their ignored culture, hidden secrets, and … Continue reading “LatinX series ‘Border’d’ partners w/Creative Cypher”

ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch”

Five film projects to compete for $20,000 awards package of in-kind goods and services   The 55th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of five narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched in front of a live audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest announces slate for “The Pitch””

Nanfu Wang named keynote for DVID graduation

Award-winning filmmaker will help celebrate grads of the doc program organized by Kartemquin and the Community Film Workshop Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago are thrilled to announce award-winning filmmaker Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation, Hooligan Sparrow) will provide the keynote speech at the 2019 Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) graduation on … Continue reading “Nanfu Wang named keynote for DVID graduation”

McDonald’s brings international flavor to U.S.

New Worldwide Favorites campaign brings taste of Spain, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands to U.S.stores Ever wonder what McDonald’s menu is like around the world? C’mon of course you have. Well, now the fast food giant is allowing its customers to sample some of their global menu items. For real. Or as they say in … Continue reading “McDonald’s brings international flavor to U.S.”

Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley

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”

Cooney’s “Runner” leaps to distribution on Omeleto

For any artist who wants to make a really good short film on a single-grand budget, this thriller is required viewing Clare Cooney’s award-winning short film, Runner, obtained distribution and is today available on Omeleto — a curated YouTube channel that features groundbreaking short films and has nearly 1.5 million subscribers. Runner is a short … Continue reading “Cooney’s “Runner” leaps to distribution on Omeleto”

‘A Fine Line’ Chicago premiere gala, panel discussion

Female-focused chef documentary will screen with wine, food, and a host of industry leaders in Greektown’s Hellenic Museum A Fine Line — the critically-acclaimed, award-winning documentary chronicling the challenges and triumphs female chefs face in a male-dominated environment — will host a screening at the National Hellenic Museum, 333 South Halsted Street, in Chicago on … Continue reading “‘A Fine Line’ Chicago premiere gala, panel discussion”

OTV launches biggest season to date, April 4 at MCA

Open Television will premiere four of 40+ pieces of original content at the Museum of Contemporary Art at Cycle 4 on April 4 Diverse TV platform Open Television (OTV) will premiere Cycle 4 of its upcoming season at the Museum of Contemporary Art on April 4th. The event will launch four original series infused with … Continue reading “OTV launches biggest season to date, April 4 at MCA”

3% Movement: brand purpose will win Super Bowl

Together with Sprinklr, Twitter, and Papa John’s, the 3% Movement encourages fans to track purpose-driven campaigns by using the hashtag #3percentsb In its sixth year of generating real-time feedback to Big Game ads, The 3% Movement is now setting out to capture what that feedback suggests about brand purpose. Using sophisticated data analytics in partnership … Continue reading “3% Movement: brand purpose will win Super Bowl”

Rhea + Kaiser adds three to growing roster

The “slightly rebellious” integrated shop finishes a busy year by hiring two new staffers and welcoming the return of a third (NAPERVILLE, Ill — 20 December 2018)   Rhea + Kaiser (R+K) welcomes Account Supervisor Cheryl Winkelman, Senior Copywriter Ryann Flynn and Public Relations Assistant Account Manager Erica Ballmer.   Agency veteran Cheryl Winkelman has … Continue reading “Rhea + Kaiser adds three to growing roster”

‘Rendezvous in Chicago’ hometown premiere at the Siskel

“You can make a good movie for $20,000 and a good film for $100,000, but you shouldn’t use the same script for both.” Michael Glover Smith Michael Glover Smith’s Rendezvous in Chicago will make its hometown premiere with four screenings at the Gene Siskel Film Center in February 2019. On the festival circuit, the feature-length … Continue reading “‘Rendezvous in Chicago’ hometown premiere at the Siskel”

New series explores the effects of the prison system

Motion/Pictures Dance Project premieres a film about Laquan McDonald and Jason Van Dyke during the first week of December Chicago — 7 November 2018 | Motion/Pictures Dance Project is excited to announce the premiere of Better Off Dead at Links Hall on December 7th, 2018. Better Off Dead is a dance film loosely based on … Continue reading “New series explores the effects of the prison system”

Thanksgiving break: holiday viewing suggestions

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

Backyard Productions signs new Midwest, East Coast reps

“The best, most progressive, culturally relevant reps that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.” Roy Skillicorn, Backyard Productions Backyard Productions welcomes Nathan Skillicorn of Heart, Brains and Nerve for Midwest representation, and Perry Schaffer and Corey Rogers of Schaffer/Rogers for East Coast representation. Backyard’s founder, Roy Skillicorn, who recently rejoined the company … Continue reading “Backyard Productions signs new Midwest, East Coast reps”

Applications open for Kartemquin Diverse Voices in Docs

Kartemquin will award grants ranging from $5-$10K to individual DVID fellows (Chicago — 6 September) — Applications are now open for Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID), a mentorship program for Midwestern documentary makers of color organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. Eight Midwest filmmakers will be selected from those who … Continue reading “Applications open for Kartemquin Diverse Voices in Docs”

Jimmy John’s unveils new wheat sub in a wheat field

Sandwich giant announces menu addition with a pop-up store in a North Dakota wheat field Talk about getting your sales force into the field. Jimmy John’s, one of America’s fastest-growing sandwich franchises is adding a new bread to its lineup for the first time in over 20 years. The new 9-Grain Wheat Sub features a … Continue reading “Jimmy John’s unveils new wheat sub in a wheat field”

Roy Skillicorn returns to Backyard Productions

The former rep who helped put Chicago on the national production map while building a $50 million company brings it all back home. Roy Skillicorn is back leading Backyard Productions, the company he founded and guided for 20+ years, recently partnering with Kevin Allodi, President & CEO of Philo Media, which acquired Backyard in 2017. … Continue reading “Roy Skillicorn returns to Backyard Productions”

“Destroy Your Art” returns to Chicago

Following 2017’s sold-out event, hybrid film and performance art showcase returns with five local filmmakers and never-before-seen work   (Chicago, IL) For a unique night celebrating film and performance art, Destroy Your Art ​returns Friday, August 10th. Following the sold-out success of last year’s inaugural event, five Chicago-based filmmakers will again screen and immediately destroy … Continue reading ““Destroy Your Art” returns to Chicago”

39th annual Telly Awards winners unveiled

Vice, Condé Nast, Ryot, Great Big Story, Complex Networks, Radicalmedia, and Buzzfeed among next generation of multi-screen producers at this year’s event Winners reflect initiative to honor groundbreaking work “across all screens.” (New York — 22 May 2018) Marc Jacobs’ A-Z of Music, ESPN’s Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies 30 for 30, National Geographic’s Breaking 2, … Continue reading “39th annual Telly Awards winners unveiled”

Chicago premiere of the International Media Mixer

The Chicago Film Archives will host a cross-cultural evening of film and music at Millennium Park on July 17   (Chicago — 21 May 2018) The US premiere of Chicago Film Archives new International Media Mixer project will take place on July 17, 2018 as part of the Millennium Park Summer Film Series produced by … Continue reading “Chicago premiere of the International Media Mixer”

Ogilvy, Optimus, Mrs. Meyer’s show us flower power

Can gardening grow a more compassionate generation? That’s the question that SC Johnson’s Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, a home cleaning and personal brand inspired by gardening, along with agency Ogilvy Chicago and production company Optimus ask us in this installment of Reel Ad of the Week.   The answer is a hopeful yes. According to … Continue reading “Ogilvy, Optimus, Mrs. Meyer’s show us flower power”

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

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

The Reel Black List: Annette Galloway, Filmmaker

Annette Galloway is an admirable and accomplished filmmaker who has achieved success and notoriety in her profession. As a writer, producer, and director, she certainly possesses the ambition and determination to continuously create a memorable repertoire of masterpieces that showcase what she is passionate about.   Along with her pioneering spirit and a love for … Continue reading “The Reel Black List: Annette Galloway, Filmmaker”

Geoff Edwards tops busy week of moves in LA

CAA’s Geoff Edwards to helm R/GA Ad Age reports that Geoff Edwards, co-creator of peace coalition Saturday Morning and former CAA Marketing co-head of creative, has joined R/GA as VP Executive Creative Director of LA. Edwards, who spent a good deal of time in Chicago at DDB, FCB and Element79, is said to have a … Continue reading “Geoff Edwards tops busy week of moves in LA”

Things we learned from Reel founder Ruth L. Ratny

To commemorate the birthday of our late founder, Ruth L. Ratny, the Reel Chicago writing staff — along with publisher Barbara Roche and a few friends — fondly recall the wisdom that she shared with us. There’s a lot of it to go around. Besides founding Reel Chicago as well as Screen Magazine, Ruth lived … Continue reading “Things we learned from Reel founder Ruth L. Ratny”

AFI Closes with tribute to Aaron Sorkin

The 50th annual American Film Institute Festival came to a resounding close last Thursday night with a moving tribute at The Chinese Theater for writer/director Aaron Sorkin and his new (and directorial debut) film, Molly’s Game. AFI programming director, Jacqueline Lyanga, kicked off the tribute with a moving speech. “As Sorkin embarks on this next … Continue reading “AFI Closes with tribute to Aaron Sorkin”

Chicago producer’s take on the Weinstein scandal

As a young woman working in the film industry, I can’t say the Weinstein scandal surprised me. Instead, I’m experiencing the routine bittersweet cocktail of emotions I get every time a story of sexism and rape culture makes the news. I’m sad for the women who were abused and sadder still to think about the … Continue reading “Chicago producer’s take on the Weinstein scandal”

Director Rosen acts like a child while filming for DDB

To say that Seed Media Arts director David Rosen resorted to childish behavior on the set of a recent shoot is incorrect. That was his plan from the beginning.

“I’m a goofball,” he explains. “If I’m playful and spontaneous, then the kids are going to be playful and spontaneous as well.”

Working on a concept by DDB Chicago for global engineering firm Emerson, Rosen directed on-camera interviews with 70 kids aged five- to-sixteen-years-old in two separate locations over four days.

Lindsey directs series of short films for MillerCoors

Seed Media Arts director Jason Lindsey recently shot a series of MillerCoors short films to celebrate people who know what honesty and hard work is all about.

Created by Jacobson/Rost, the six mini-documentaries achieve heartwarming levels of charm from the get-go.

“They wanted stories from people who are committed to quality in the same way that MillerCoors is,” Lindsey explains.

Costello’s directorial journey part 4 – an essay

Editor’s Note — Our contributor, Colin Costello, recently enjoyed personal growth by moving from beyond a writer’s traditional role to actually directing and producing his short film, “The After Party.” We asked Colin to chronicle is journey.

Let me just start out by saying I HATE crowdfunding. I feel like it is the digital version of a homeless guy on the subway, wheeling his way through on a rolling board, with a 7-11 Big Gulp cup asking for money. Some people give. Others turn the other way. I personally have acted both ways.

Hundreds honor ReelChicago founder Ruth L Ratny

Humorous stories, fond memories and sincere gratitude for Ruth L. Ratny were expressed by hundreds of guests who attended a memorial celebration in her honor at Untitled, the River North Supper Club, on Tuesday March 21.

In the course of her four-decade career, Ratny often boasted that she had “forged a community where none existed before.” The evening’s lineup of guest speakers proved those words to be true.

SCC’s PSA campaign reminds about disaster preparation

SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH and it kicked off with Schafer Condon Carter (SCC), The Ad Council and FEMA’s Ready Campaign of PSAs and online videos that help families to be prepared before emergencies like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes occur.

This is the second year SCC has been involved with the Ready Campaign, advancing its 2015-produced 30-second “Don’t Wait Communicate” spot from traditional media to social media outlets.

Judy Baar Topinka: The film industry’s great friend

When she held the office of State Treasurer, Judy Baar Topinka, who died Tuesday of a stroke, was the Illinois film industry’s great financial friend. 

In looking for new, efficient ways to benefit the state, in 2001 she set up “Lights, Camera, Illinois!” (LCI) the only state-sponsored loan program for filmmakers in the U.S.

“Upstarts” OKRP lands $50 million Big Lots! account

CALLING THEMSELVES “SCRAPPY UPSTARTS” the boutique agency O’Keefe, Reinhard & Paul (OKRP) okrp.com – celebrating its first anniversary in March — landed the Big Lots! account which bills a big $50 million, following a review.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company is a closeout retailer with 1,525 stories in 48 states.  The agency’s first work for its new client will launch in early February.

Agency SCC’s New Year starts with a new account

AGENCY SCC starts 2014 with new business from Evanston-based Kerrygold USA, importers of Ireland-made butter and cheese.  Said Molly O’Loughlin, Kerrygold USA’s marketing director, in announcing their new agency: “SCC is a food expert that knows our consumers and most importantly, they are scrappy enough to help us grow our business in any kind of market.”

Kessler working on $200mm deal with China Film Group

Entertainment attorney Hal “Corky” Kessler says he’s 60-90 days away from finalizing a deal with Chinese private investors for Father John, the first in a $200 million slate of U.S.-Chinese coproductions.

Kessler says he’s working out the deal in cooperation with the government-backed China Film Group, which manages a $1 billion investment fund for projects with budgets up to $15 million.

Father John is a spy adventure set in “seedy nighttime Shanghai as a melting pot of shady expatriates,” producer David Minnihan says on the project’s website.

Sinnotts rebrand company; host CoffeeCON II next May

Kevin and Patricia Sinnott of Warrenville-based production company Sinnott Productions are gearing up for next spring’s year two of CoffeeCON, which they bill as the first coffee convention targeted to consumers (by contrast to industry driven shows like the Specialty Coffee Association of America Exposition and CoffeeFest).

“We plan to build on 2012’s success,” Patricia Sinnott says. “This will include even more exciting classes such as coffee and food pairings. Even more experts will be invited.”

BVI to learn filmmaking essentials from local pros

The island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands wants to become a serious contender for feature film production and invited Nate Grant of Lake Shore Film & TV Productions to start the ball rolling with a reprise of Grant’s surprisingly successful Feature Film Seminar.

Grant’s invitation was extended after a BVI representative attended the seminar (FFS) last February at Cinespace and told BVI film commissioner Rhodni Shelton having the seminar would be a good way to provide core information as a way of seeding their ultimate infrastructure.

Ex-Burnett creative veteran contemplates second act

What does one do for a second act in advertising?  It’s always a tough question.  Made even more so when one’s first act produced what may be the single best TV commercial from any Chicago ad agency since the new century began.

Still that’s the question ad maven Tim Pontarelli is mulling.   And he isn’t rushing blindly to find an answer.  He left Leo Burnett/Chicago in November of 2010, a little more than a year after the arrival of Susan Credle as the agency’s chief creative officer.

Hot McGarryBowen lands $100 million United account

McGarryBowen’s new business bonanza continued Wednesday.  The agency’s New York office won the high-profile and prestigious United Airlines advertising account.  According to a United spokesman, MB’s Chicago office, the agency’s only outpost beyond New York, may be used for meetings on occasion.

But the MB agency team attached to the United account will be based in New York. United, which is headquartered in Chicago, is expected to break its first ad campaign from McGarry at a yet-to-be-determined date in 2012.  

H. D. Motyl’s Cowboy Christmas doc lassos $25K grant

FILMING A TRIO OF COWBOYS as they traveled the exciting, high stakes rodeo circuit took documentarian H. D. Motyl and his crew through six western states, shooting steadily from the end of June up through the 4th of July when the circuit ended. 

“There are almost 30 rodeos throughout the Western states where professional rodeo cowboys can win big purses in a short time,” says Motyl. “They call this period ‘Cowboy Christmas,’” which serves as the title of his feature-length doc.

Success stories abound as Free Spirit Media turns 10

Jeff McCarter has no regrets about having left his successful film and TV career to start Free Spirit Media, which, since 2001 has put 2,500 underserved urban youth “on the path to tell their stories in this crazy industry.”

On Thursday, June 9, Free Spirit Media will celebrate its “10th incredible anniversary” at Café Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo, to help raise funds for FSM’s continuing work in its partner schools.  

Byrne doc follows Tamale’s bid for Leather Queen

When Tamale, an interdisciplinary artist and comedian, invited filmmakers C. Bryne and Nadia Oussenko to document her bid for the crown in the 25th annual International Ms. Leather fetish pageant, “I jumped at the opportunity,” Byrne says.

“Tamale is a fascinating and hilarious person with many layers and levels and we’re excited to explore those on screen.” 

For their documentary, “Leather Queen,” the filmmakers will show Tamale in the process of preparing for the competition, as well as her experience at IMsL.  

Two companies combine with a Mighty good idea

Backyard Productions and Optimus are sharing their mighty resources in a newly formed “creative production home,” operating autonomously out of Backyard’s Venice, California office.  

Backyard president Blair Stribley and Optimus president Tom Duff and his partners on Feb. 1 launched Mighty Film Co., as a separate new venture.  The two companies will share some overhead.

Around the New Year, Stribley says he approached Duff about a possible new venture.  “He got interested in it quickly and we decided to partner,” Stribley says.

Producer cashed in her IRA to fund film

“All truth passes through three stages,” Ky Dickens, a producer for commercial MK Films, says in her documentary “Fish Out of Water.” “First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. And third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

“Fish Out of Water” screened Sunday as the documentary centerpiece of the 29th Reeling: Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival.

Dickens interviewed religious figures, scholars and everyday Americans in more than 20 states about shifting religious, social and political views on homosexuality.

The write stuff from L.A. script expert

SCREENWRITERS WILL GET A CHANCE to quiz L.A. screenwriting consultant Phillippa Burgess on how to move their careers forward and other vital breakthrough info Dec. 7 at the Chicago Screenwriters Network meeting.

As a partner in Creative Convergence, a multifaceted entertainment company representing writers, directors, producers and the like, Burgess is certainly equipped to provide the answers.

History teacher’s doc “Facing Sudan” explores lives of ordinary people who made a difference

It was a near-chance meeting with his school’s janitor that set Bruce David Janu on the road to producing his first feature documentary, the 90-minute “Facing Sudan.”

Twenty-three year old janitor Brian Burns approached Janu after seeing flyers for the Teens Against Genocide group that Janu sponsors at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, where he teaches history.

Burns told Janu about the relief mission he’d volunteered for in Sudan.

Lebanese-tinged Taqueria Puebla makes Misty dream of her own restaurant on a Mexican beach

For weeks, my pal Lisa waxed poetic about a small Mexican restaurant that co-mingles the hearty influence of Lebanese cooking with the rustic bliss of homegrown Mexican cuisine.

Finally we made it over to a bleak section of North Ave. and Taqueria Puebla, 3619 W. North Ave. the only restaurant of its kind in Chicago.

The Puebla region just south of Mexico City has the influence of Lebanon blistering all of its dusty hills and many thanks to owner Tony Anteliz for bringing its fierce flavor to the rough streets of Chicago.

Wisconsin hopeful its incentives will be enacted retroactive to Jan. 1, 2007

Film Wisconsin is cautiously optimistic that its film incentives package will be enacted retroactively to Jan. 1, 2007 when the state legislature convenes in January.

The state lost $77.5 million of potential feature business when pre-election partisan politics pushed the incentives start date back by 18 months to Jan. 1, 2008 from May 30, 2006.

If the package is not enacted Jan. 1, “the worst case scenario would be a later date of July 1, 2007,” said Scott Robbe, one of the founders of private industry group Film Wisconsin.

City Lit richer thanks to John Logan cash gift in honor of new artistic director Terry McCabe

JOHN LOGAN, Oscar-nominated author of “The Aviator,” has made a $43,200 gift to the small City Lit Theatre Company, thereby eliminating a long-term debt that’s clung to City Lit since 1999.

Logan’s unsolicited gift was in honor of City Lit’s new artistic director, Off-Loop theatre veteran Terry McCabe, a long-time Logan friend and colleague.

John Logan

Three local independent feature films screen in Polish and Lesbian/Gay Fests

Three locally-made features screen this month at the Polish Film Festival in America and the Reeling: Chicago Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

The improv film collective Split Pillow showcases their second improv feature at Reeling. And Polish-born local directors Filip Rymsza, and Aleksanda Hodowany and Monika Szewerniak, screen their debut features at the Polish Festival.

Improvements in treasurer’s film loans

State treasurer

Producing pair launches animation festival and animation feature studio

It’s an idea whose time has come. A full-fledged, super-sized, international spotlight on animated films. And it’s being launched in late fall by a producing pair who brought their major studio feature to Chicago to be animated here.

The Nov. 6-9 Cineme’, The Chicago International Animated Film Festival, will be the largest venue of its kind in North America, said Lee Litas, partner with Brooke English in both the festival and their animation company.

Green’s indie feature starts
self-distribution route in Chicago

John Mahoney and Ian Gomez star in Terry Green’s “Almost Salinas.”

MBC short on renovation funds

MBC’s new home Kinzie & State.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC), the 15th most-visited cultural attraction in Chicago, will move into its new home at Kinzie and State next year. So far, so good.

Subscribe to ReelChicago.com

To receive our reader Elerts, delivering the latest, exclusive news of Chicago’s visual media industry, click here.