Chicago Humanities Festival hosts Molly Shannon and Jonathan Van Ness

Chicago Humanities Festival will host two separate events at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance: the first with comedian Molly Shannon and the second with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, on Wednesday, April 13th. At 6 PM on April 13th, Molly Shannon will sit down to talk about her memoir, Hello Molly! Shannon is best known for her … Continue reading “Chicago Humanities Festival hosts Molly Shannon and Jonathan Van Ness”

Michael Shannon responds to Snyder’s ‘Justice League’

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

Michael Shannon set to star in Jim Sikora’s feature

ACTOR MICHAEL SHANNON’S manager Byron Wetzel has optioned Jim Sikora’s script for I’ll Die Tomorrow as a star vehicle for the Boardwalk Empire villain, Oscar nominee and sometime Chicagoan. 

Last summer at the Viaduct Theatre, Sikora shot a trailer for the film, set in the ‘90s punk scene, with actor Shannon fronting a band that included members of Pegboy. 

Actors Shannon and Bassett honorees

Now in its 21st year, the DePaul Theatre School Awards for Excellence in the Arts will be presented to actors Michael Shannon and Angela Bassett and director and alum Dennis Dugan April 28 at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The Awards are the major benefactor of the Theatre School Scholarship Fund, which funded 28% of the 163 scholarships dispensed in 2008.

Illinois launches On the Fence campaign to encourage vaccinations

The State of Illinois launched a new vaccine awareness campaign to explain the power of the life-saving vaccine. The ‘On the Fence’ campaign, produced by Tessa Films, features 18 meaningful stories from Illinoisans who were initially hesitant but are now fully vaccinated. As health experts continue to advise unvaccinated individuals to get their life-saving shot, … Continue reading “Illinois launches On the Fence campaign to encourage vaccinations”

Congratulations to the winners of the 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards

Congratulations nominees and winners! There were 71 categories this year with 80 award winners. The 63rd Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards, held on Sunday evening was a well produced virtual presentation hosted by comedian Pat McGann who paid tribute throughout the evening to the hosts of the past. Bob Newhart dropped by virtually for a delightlful … Continue reading “Congratulations to the winners of the 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards”

List of nominees for the 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards Dec 5

The 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards will be a virtual presentation held on Sunday, December 5 at 7:00 pm. Comedian Pat McGann, the South Side Chicago native who hosted the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards in 2016 and 2020, returns to emcee the show this year and legendary Bob Newhart is expected to make a guest appearance. The virtual presentation … Continue reading “List of nominees for the 63rd Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards Dec 5”

Art Director Anthony Palermo joins Almost Gold

Chicago-based Almost Gold welcomes seasoned creative Anthony Palermo as the studio’s Art Director. Palermo is a seasoned creative who has collaborated with countless brands, agencies, and creative studios to visually shape ideas with striking effect. The addition of Palermo is part of Almost Gold’s strategic growth, in which he will play a key role in … Continue reading “Art Director Anthony Palermo joins Almost Gold”

‘Always Jane’ Amazon’s trans coming-of-age docuseries premieres today

Amazon Prime Video has ordered the four-part coming-of-age docuseries Always Jane – a production of Amazon Studios, Mutt Film, and Union Editorial. The series follows transgender teenager Jane Noury and her family as she nears graduation and prepares to leave the nest in a poignant and positive coming-of-age story. Mutt Film’s Beth George and Shannon Lords-Houghton executive … Continue reading “‘Always Jane’ Amazon’s trans coming-of-age docuseries premieres today”

American Egg Board: Issues TikTok challenge

As the nation emerges from pandemic shutdowns and capacity limits, local restaurants around the country are getting an eggstra boost from a popular menu mainstay — the incredible egg — and a healthy dose of hometown competition. Igniting America’s pashttp://tiktok.comsion for eating out, the American Egg Board (AEB) has partnered with celebrity chef Connie Lovely … Continue reading “American Egg Board: Issues TikTok challenge”

Celebrity cast performs ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ table read

Karolyn Grimes, the original 6 year old Zuzu Bailey featured in the motion picture It’s a Wonderful Life  will relive the classical holiday story as she joins Ed Asner, Pete Davidson, Ellie Kemper and a star-studded team of actors. Michael Shannon, Mia Farrow, Maude Apatow, Carol Kane, Ed Begley Jr., Diedrich Bader, Bill Pullman, Richard Kind and BD Wong, appear for … Continue reading “Celebrity cast performs ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ table read”

‘Doll Eyes’ come to life for Chicago director Piñeiro

Felix Piñeiro has signed on to direct ​Doll Eyes​ written by award-winning screenwriter Amir Mohabbat. The horror film follows a developmentally disabled man who protects his sister from an abuser with “unique, desired eyes.” Piñeiro is a two-time DCASE Grant recipient and Finalist for the 2018 Chicago Filmmaker in Residence Award. His latest project is … Continue reading “‘Doll Eyes’ come to life for Chicago director Piñeiro”

Eggs are the holiday gift they are cracked up to be

Launching on November 10th, the American Egg Board’s new campaign, and our Reel Ad of the Week, is “The Gift of Eggs.” The LOL campaign from Energy BBDO pokes fun at holiday extravagances in order to celebrate what really matters during the season — family, friends, special memories together and FOOD! The campaign’s two short … Continue reading “Eggs are the holiday gift they are cracked up to be”

ECHO BOOMERS Chicago Premiere with Seth Savoy Q&A

Echo Boomers, the crime drama feature starring Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Knives Out, Nocturnal Animals, The Shape of Water) and Patrick Schwarzenegger (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) holds its Chicago Premiere at the ChiTown Drive-in followed by a live zoom Q&A with director Seth Savoy.  The story follows a crime ring breaking into the homes of … Continue reading “ECHO BOOMERS Chicago Premiere with Seth Savoy Q&A”

The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater released today

Filmed at locations throughout Valparaiso, Crown Point, and Chicago’s suburbs, The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater is produced by Binary Star Pictures, LLC. It tells the tale of Ava Moriarty (Lorrisa Julianus), an Art History PhD dropout-turned-dominatrix.  Director/Producer C.J. Julianus says, “We established Binary Star Pictures to tell the kinds of unique stories that we long to … Continue reading “The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater released today”

Saban Films releases trailer for ‘Echo Boomers’

The trailer for Echo Boomers, the crime drama feature starring Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Knives Out, Nocturnal Animals, The Shape of Water) and Patrick Schwarzenegger (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) has been released.  The story follows a crime ring breaking into the homes of Chicago’s most wealthy and destroying what they don’t steal. ALSO … Continue reading “Saban Films releases trailer for ‘Echo Boomers’”

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”

‘Echo Boomers’ picked up by Saban Films

The Chicago Feature Echo Boomers has found its home with Saban Films. The company has acquired the North American distribution rights to Seth Savoy’s directorial debut before the opening of the Toronto film market. The term “echo boomer” stands synonymous with millennial. Disillusioned by a world where economic odds seem stacked against them, the film’s … Continue reading “‘Echo Boomers’ picked up by Saban Films”


To celebrate the highly anticipated new series LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, HBO has announced Lovecraft Country: Sanctum, a series of exclusive virtual reality events transporting invited guests into a world inspired by the show. Join LOVECRAFT COUNTRY’s Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance and Michael Kenneth Williams For A Groundbreaking Virtual Experience. The series airs Sundays at 9:00 … Continue reading “HBO launches LOVECRAFT COUNTRY: SANCTUM, VR”

Cubs and White Sox read for CPL ‘Live From the Library’

Chicago Public Library announced that the upcoming group of celebrity readers for the popular “Live From the Library” program will celebrate the beginning of Major League Baseball. “Live From the Library” which features a combination of librarians, authors, celebrities, and notable Chicagoans, will highlight notable representatives of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox organizations, … Continue reading “Cubs and White Sox read for CPL ‘Live From the Library’”

Chicago area celebs join CPL’s “Live From the Library”

Chicago Public Library announced this week’s group of celebrity readers for the Live From the Library program, featuring a combination of librarians, authors, celebrities, and notable Chicagoans, reading stories to children and families daily at 10 a.m. CST. Actor Joe Mantegna (7/13), actress Denise Richards (7/14), and Inside Edition Chief Investigative Reporter Lisa Guerrero (7/15) will be the latest Chicago notables … Continue reading “Chicago area celebs join CPL’s “Live From the Library””

Lil Rel brings big laughs to NBC’s ‘Small Fortune’

NBC has named Chicago comedian, actor, writer and producer Lil Rel Howery as host of the new game show, Small Fortune. Howery, who will also serve as executive producer, joins the pint-sized series that will offer contestants the opportunity to amass large sums of money on the smallest of scales. “I’m really excited to host this … Continue reading “Lil Rel brings big laughs to NBC’s ‘Small Fortune’”

Move over Taco Tuesday… here comes WEGGSDAY!

Much like Taco Tuesday, WEGGSDAY embraces the popularity of marrying a day of the week with a popular food. A two-minute original music video, titled “Wednesday Is Officially WEGGSDAY!,” has been created to hilariously introduce the concept. The animated video also highlights the versatility of eggs, reminding consumers that eggs are an incredible meal solution … Continue reading “Move over Taco Tuesday… here comes WEGGSDAY!”

DCASE announces ‘Millennium Park at Home’

Millennium Park at Home begins Memorial Day weekend with House Music, Gospel Music and Blues Music concerts to launch the new online series of music, arts and recreation programming. Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced new virtual events for everyone missing Millennium Park’s renowned cultural programming. The new online Millennium … Continue reading “DCASE announces ‘Millennium Park at Home’”

Chicago Stunt Community punches COVID-19 in face

Right now, social distancing due to the horrendous coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, is now the norm. But the Chicago Stunt community is finding ways to still be creative while keeping a safe distance. Inspired by stuntman Aaron Toney, (Avengers: Infinity War/End Game and Black Panther), to create a “worldwide fight,” local stuntman Shawn Bernal (Batman … Continue reading “Chicago Stunt Community punches COVID-19 in face”

‘Echo Boomers’ wraps in Chicago, moves to post

You may not be as familiar with the term from which Echo Boomers gets its title as you are with “generation Y,” or the all too ubiquitous “millennials.” As the children of Baby Boomers, our lives have echoed out from theirs.   It’s no secret our generation gets a lot of grief, and it stands to … Continue reading “‘Echo Boomers’ wraps in Chicago, moves to post”

Sundance picks 12 Filmmakers for Screenwriters Intensive

Twelve screenwriters have been selected to participate in Sundance Institute’s eighth annual Screenwriters Intensive in Los Angeles, to take place March 4-5, 2020. One of the students selected is Chicagoan, Jason Park. The Intensive, a two-day workshop for select emerging writers and writer/directors from underrepresented communities, focuses on the development of first fiction features. Fellows … Continue reading “Sundance picks 12 Filmmakers for Screenwriters Intensive”

‘Moving Parts’ to premiere at Siskel Center in January

The Gene Siskel Film Center will screen the Chicago premiere of the award-winning film, Moving Parts, on January 3rd, 6th, and 7th. Sponsored by IFP Chicago, Moving Parts is a narrative feature written and directed by Emilie Upczak. Filmed in the Caribbean and finished in Chicago, it tells the story of Zhenzhen, a Chinese woman … Continue reading “‘Moving Parts’ to premiere at Siskel Center in January”

Picture North debuts new Special Olympics PSA

Director Martin Rodahl and Picture North continue their decade-long relationship with Special Olympics Illinois with their 2019 fundraising PSA Listen to the Mustn’ts. Weaving together small glimpses of an athlete’s life from infant to champion and incorporating a Shel Silverstein poem by the same title, the PSA provides a lens into the doubts people with … Continue reading “Picture North debuts new Special Olympics PSA”

One Club launches forum addressing gender equality

Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Ari Weiss among speakers for Right The Ratio Summit aimed at ‘decision makers with authority to advance workplace equality’ In line with the pillar of its mission to promote gender equality in advertising and design, The One Club for Creativity has launched its first annual Right The Ratio Summit, set for … Continue reading “One Club launches forum addressing gender equality”

iComfort is the place to be in new spot by Leo Burnett

Serta’s iconic sheep mascot takes a whimsical trip from sticky sepia to cool blue Leo Burnett offers consumers a journey to a better place in a new commercial for the iComfort by Serta Mattress. An iComfort Story about Cooler Sleep opens with a woman and a sheep in a heat wave. It is 7:30 in … Continue reading “iComfort is the place to be in new spot by Leo Burnett”

2019 Emerging Cinematographers Awards

The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG, IATSE Local 600) presents the 2019 Annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards (ECA) spotlighting promising cinematographers and providing crucial exposure needed to succeed in the motion picture industry. Now in its 23rd year, the Emerging Cinematographers Awards are the only awards in the industry that specifically celebrates the work of up-and-coming cinematographers, … Continue reading “2019 Emerging Cinematographers Awards”

The voice of America’s overlooked healthcare population

Picture North helps nonprofit managed care org Community Health Choice build a new platform for its members to speak Director Jake Zalutsky and Production and Editorial company Picture North have released their latest campaign for client Community Health Choice through Texas-based agency Langrand. For the underserved population of Texas, Community Health Choice has been a … Continue reading “The voice of America’s overlooked healthcare population”

Architecture, racecars, and the Blues

The ChiFilmFest 2019 program offers moviegoers art, thrills, and the music that inspired Buddy Guy The Chicago International Film Festival announced an ambitious schedule for its 55th annual run during a press event yesterday morning at AMC Theatres River East. Hosted by Artistic Director Mimi Plauché and programmers Anthony Kaufman, Alissa Simon, and Sam Flancher, … Continue reading “Architecture, racecars, and the Blues”

ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs

“Knives Out” starring Daniel Craig among first round of films announced for 55th run, October 16-27 Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director of the Chicago International Film Festival, today announced titles selected for the Galas and Special Presentations programs for the 55th edition of the Festival. Offering movie lovers a first look at the year’s most highly … Continue reading “ChiFilmFest unveils Gala & Special Presentations programs”

Inside the Music Box’s 90th Anniversary Video

The 12-minute film showcases one of the theatre’s greatest resources, its audience   Filmmaker Curtis Matzke shot a lot of interviews while helping to make the Music Box Theatre’s 90th Anniversary tribute video, and in doing so he captured one of the greatest things about the place: its audience. Since opening nearly a hundred years … Continue reading “Inside the Music Box’s 90th Anniversary Video”

Cinepocalypse unveils 2019 lineup

The June 13-20 Music Box Theatre fest opens with the World Premiere of Glenn Danzig’s “Verotika” Cinepocalypse, Chicago’s premiere festival for electrifying and provocative genre cinema, returns to the Music Box Theatre June 13th for eight days of features, shorts, events and surprises, including eight fantastic break-out world premieres! We’re proud to announce our new … Continue reading “Cinepocalypse unveils 2019 lineup”

Women of the Now Anniversary Showcase

The Chicago-based, collective presents a variety of films that explore the “complexity to the experience of being a woman.” On Saturday night, Women of The Now will showcase a variety of “femme-driven narratives made by some of Chicago’s top up-and-coming female-identified filmmakers,” for its Second Anniversary Screening at Chicago filmmakers. The program will begin with … Continue reading “Women of the Now Anniversary Showcase”

Kartemquin Oscar party celebrates a winning tradition

“Minding the Gap’s” Oscar nomination is part of a Chicago filmmaking tradition that dates back a half-century Although a pair of VIP’s were noticeably absent from Kartemquin Film’s Oscar party last Sunday night, Co-Founder and Artistic Director Gordon Quinn didn’t seem to mind. “It was great to celebrate Minding the Gap with the Kartemquin community … Continue reading “Kartemquin Oscar party celebrates a winning tradition”

2019 Academy Awards Review

Colin Costello recounts the thrill passion, and spectacle of Hollywood’s biggest night of the year There’s no way to prepare for the spectacle that is the Oscar celebration in Hollywood. Frankly, I was blown away. The, pomp, the limos, the security and the enormous amount of international press – the cameras, the microphones, the reporters, … Continue reading “2019 Academy Awards Review”

Dogs turn the tables on people for Avocados from Mexico

Chicago agency creatives are stuck inside from the below-0 temperatures, but that has not stopped them from releasing their spots for the Super Bowl which features the Patriots vs the Rams this Sunday, Feb. 3. Next up, is Energy BBDO’s fun Kristin Chenoweth spot for Avocados from Mexico. A few weeks ago, Reel Chicago debuted … Continue reading “Dogs turn the tables on people for Avocados from Mexico”

Kristin Chenoweth unleashes the dogs for Avocados spot

The actor pulls off some of the best four-legged humor this side of “Best in Show” in new Super Bowl teaser from Energy BBDO Energy BBDO unleashed a Super Bowl teaser video that features Kristin Chenoweth coaching a trio of canines on the proper way to sing the Avocados from Mexico jingle. The 15-second Chorus … Continue reading “Kristin Chenoweth unleashes the dogs for Avocados spot”

Energy B and Kerrygold celebrate the sound of cooking

Campaign pairs recipes with Spotify playlists to enhance the moods of preparation and dining What’s your cooking theme song? When I come home and catch a waft of Vegan goodness coming from the kitchen, it’s always my wife cooking and listening to probably, The Doors. For me, if I’m in the kitchen making my famed … Continue reading “Energy B and Kerrygold celebrate the sound of cooking”

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”

‘Related Destiny’ is a fresh take on an old theme

Will Thompson’s directorial debut combines excellent production values, authentic performances, and likable characters   Related Destiny — a powerful short film written, directed by, and starring Oak Park native Will Thompson — was released on Amazon last month. Described as an “urban tale chronicling three days in the life of brothers Marcus and Chris LaFair,” … Continue reading “‘Related Destiny’ is a fresh take on an old theme”

Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases 54th annual lineup

Big-budget premieres, exquisite docs, thoughtful shorts, special events, and a deep well of unsung gems create the “stunning variety” of this year’s program The Chicago International Film Festival announced the majority the films screening over its 54th annual run at the AMC Theaters earlier today. Culling from more than 6,000 submissions — the highest in … Continue reading “Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases 54th annual lineup”

Bing Liu on the making of “Minding the Gap”

“It’s sort of like watching a child grow up, ‘cause I’ve made hundreds of rough cuts over the years.” – Director Bing Liu Chicago-based filmmaker Bing Liu, the director of the Sundance award-winning Minding the Gap, sat down with Reel Chicago to discuss the making of his cinema-verite-style documentary. The film currently has a 100% … Continue reading “Bing Liu on the making of “Minding the Gap””

Pearle Vision uses Billie Jean King to inspire

The latest in the “Small Moments” campaign from Energy BBDO breaks from promotional-driven spots in the vision category to capture genuine moments   I got misty-eyed watching this new Pearle Vision spot from Energy BBDO. Brought on board through Energy’s continued partnership with Free the Bid, director Elle Ginter of Sanctuary has delivered an elegant, … Continue reading “Pearle Vision uses Billie Jean King to inspire”

Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless”

Aside from Macy and “Roseanne’s” Laurie Metcalf, Chicago connections went ignored: nothing for “The Chi,” “Empire,” and Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” series   Frank Gallagher is the worst father on TV, but for Two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy, the shiftless dad is pure gold. The talented actor scored his fifth Emmy nomination for his work … Continue reading “Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless””

Former FCB’rs celebrate songwriters with new doc

Former FCB Chicago creatives John Godsey and Anthony “Chusy” Jardine’s new documentary, It All Begins With A Song: The Story of the Nashville Songwriter, had a special public screening at the Nashville Film Festival on May 17. In production for two years, the 82-minute film explores Nashville’s songwriting community — their creative processes, their inspiration, … Continue reading “Former FCB’rs celebrate songwriters with new doc”

WGA Awards, Guillermo del Toro, weekend box office

“Get Out” and “Call Me By Your Name” win at WGA Awards “I’m your host Patton Oswalt or as Guillermo del Toro puts it, ‘The Shape of Pudding,’” said the comedian as he opened up his third year of hosting The 70th Annual Writers Guild Awards which took place simultaneously in Los Angeles at the … Continue reading “WGA Awards, Guillermo del Toro, weekend box office”

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””

“The Tale of Four” speaks to everyone

Truth, love, and dignity are just a few of the issues addressed in the 20-minute short film, “The Tale of Four,” directed by Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe (Empire, Precious), and completed with the expertise of Beast / CO3 / Method Chicago. Tracking the lives of four African-American women who live in the same apartment building, … Continue reading ““The Tale of Four” speaks to everyone”

MullenLowe, NFL, Johnson, Elizabeth in the news

MullenLowe L.A. wins Whole Foods According to Ad Age, Amazon finally finished shopping for a new creative agency for its newly acquired Whole Foods Market. The report says, the Austin, Texas-based grocery chain has chosen MullenLowe L.A., as its CAOR after a review. The review, which was run by SRI, began in late June. After … Continue reading “MullenLowe, NFL, Johnson, Elizabeth in the news”

Pittsburgh agency acquires Noble Communications

Forty-nine-year-old Noble Communications has been acquired by Pittsburgh-based Gatesman. The move expands Pittsburgh’s sixth largest agency’s footprint into both Springfield, Missouri and Chicago.

Noble which has committed itself to culinary thought leadership and cutting edge food marketing, developed CultureWaves, a proprietary system of taking the most cutting-edge behavioral aspects of life and turning them into relevant purchasing behavior.

“Clash of the Vampires” series to film in Illinois

An all-local production will hit Illinois in late February when the new Netflix series, “Clash of the Vampires,” begins filming the ten-episode, hour-long action fantasy from producer Eric DeShazer of DeShazer Films and co-writer, Michael D. Ballard.

DeShazer Films has partnered with Downstate Heroic Age Studios for series production in their full-service facilities in Decatur and surrounding areas. Other locations will be in Chicago and Indiana.

Crowdfunding film spoof screens tonight at Music Box

IT’S ALL GOOD,” a comedy feature from Aaron Fronk, Vinny Degaetano and Cooper Johnson of FND Films screens Oct. 20 at the Music Box Theatre and the next day it’ll be digitally released on on FND’s website.

“It’s All Good” follows three broke filmmakers (Fronk, Johnson and DeGaetano) who suffer the consequences of a fraudulent crowdfunding campaign.

CIFF debuts program of local directors’ short films

ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS of the Oct. 13-27 Chicago International Film Festival is the “Shorts 1: City & State” program of eight films produced by Chicago / Illinois filmmakers.

The program screens Oct. 18, 23 and 26 at the AMC River East 21 Theatres. Gender roles and identity, God, police brutality, the meaning of life and a Bosnian refugee experience are among the topics explored in the films.

Norton’s 15th film, a Hollywood spoof, is in post

Multi-award winning indie filmmaker John Wesley Norton of Boomstick Films of Downstate Maple Park, is “working tirelessly” to complete postproduction of his feature mockumentary, “Private Screening.”

The 85-minute comedy, about a Hollywood crowd that comes together to watch a new film from an up-and-coming director, is largely improvised by the talented cast, in the vein of Christopher Guest’s “For Your Consideration,” Norton says.

Reality web series seeks next “Great Street Musician”

PRODUCTION HAS BEGUN, literally, in the streets of Chicago for a new music-based web reality series, “In Search of the Great American Street Musician” – an “America’s Got Talent” meets “American Idol” concept, hosted by local actors, Shannon Novack and Keithen Banks.

The series follows the pair as they comb every nook and cranny of Chicago in order to find the best undiscovered musical talent. Needless to say, the production team will be in and around Lollapalooza next weekend.

Sundance selects two Chicago films for screening

Chicago earns its close-up at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, with premieres of the feature “Southside with You,” about Michelle and Barack Obama’s first date and Media Process Group’s documentary on Maya Angelou, screening during the Jan. 21-31 festival in Park City Utah. 

Wake and funeral services for Dennis Farina Monday and Tuesday

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

Playwright Saracho wins Sundance Theatre Lab slot

IT’S PROBABLY SAFE TO SAY that Mexican-born, Chicago-based playwright Tanya Saracho has emerged. She adds another impressive notch to her professional belt by being selected as a member of the 2012 Theatre Lab at Sundance Institute.

Saracho is in residence through July working on her play Song for the Disappeared, directed by Octavio Solis. It continues the theme of crime cartels in Mexico introduced in El Nogalar and is the second piece in her planned “Border Trilogy.”

‘Shakey’ is Cooper’s first feature, first local 3D film

Hollywood transplants to the Chicago area, DeAnna and Kevin Cooper, have produced Chicago’s first stereoscopic 3D feature and possibly the first 3D comedy anywhere so far.  The family comedy, I Heart Shakey in 3D, is Cooper’s directorial debut and their first Amarok Productions film.  It will be available OnDemand June 15 and domestic theatrical distribution starts June 29 via Phase 4 Films.

“Pure Michigan” spot campaign is pure perfection

If that day ever arrives when the great god of advertising (wherever he or she may be) must chose the greatest ad campaigns there ever were, surely — if there is any creative justice to be had in that heaven — the sublime  “Pure Michigan” campaign will land at or near the top of that hallowed list.

Over the course of the past six years, we have watched this rich and hugely intelligent tourism campaign from McCann-Erickson in Birmingham, Mich., evolve — growing ever more exquisite.  Ever more indicative of what advertising can be at its most artful.

John Mahoney to honor Kelsey Grammer at Hugos

AN ADDED SPECIAL TREAT for Hugo Awards attendees.  John Mahoney will be on hand to honor his “Frasier” co-star Kelsey Grammer at the Hugo awards ceremony Thursday, April 19 at the new Chicago Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 221 N. Columbus Drive. 

Mahoney, an Oak Park resident, and Grammer, star of Starz series “Boss,” played Dr. Martin Crane, father of Dr. Frasier Crane in the comedy series that ran a record-breaking 11 years on NBC. Tickets are $100 and may be purchased at or by calling 312/683-0121.

Odd Machine’s Fahey to direct “Nine Twelve” feature

Director Sean Patrick Fahey, of hybrid production studio Odd Machine, will direct and co-produce “Nine Twelve,” an indie feature which explores the lives of three people who must confront a tragedy related to events around September 11.

Sean’s newly formed Boat Tattoo Productions, LLC, will handle production in association with Chicago’s Odd Machine.  Budget is not yet determined.  Boat Tattoo plans to start filming in early spring 2012.

Utopic opens production side with director LaBellarte

With the signing of director Michael LaBellarte for its new production division, Utopic now has everything it needs under one roof to affirm itself as a full-service hybrid media company. 

“With the addition of Michael, we’ve rounded out our integrated content, production, post and all things web,” says Utopic’s executive producer/partner Michael Antonucci, who is also in charge of the company’s new production division.

Six weeks of non-stop TV show and feature filming

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

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

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

Burnett kills with 35 wins at NY Int’l Ad Awards

LEO BURNETT WORLDWIDE was not only the “Agency of the Year” at the International Advertising Awards in New York earlier this month, but it won a record 35 awards, including six of the total 24 Gold prizes, from 14 global offices. “This demonstrates yet again, the remarkable creative talent we have residing inside this network,” boasts Leo Burnett Global CCO Mark Tutssel.

Superman flies into Chicago to film here this summer

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

Jim Sikora feature “The Critics,” 12 years in the making

Twelve years after Jim Sikora shot his film adaptation of Adam Langer’s play “The Critics,” the caustic satire of theatre and the people who cover it finally sees the light of day in a premiere run Feb. 18 and 19 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Jim Donovan, Mark Vanesse, Juliet Schaefer, Mary Beth McMahon, James William Joseph, and Maht Wells play five theater critics and their editor at Chicago alternative weekly “The New Void,” sussing out who among them has secretly written a new play that excoriates thinly veiled caricatures of each of them.

Kit Woods didn’t stay retired for long

When Kit Woods retired last June after a total of 33 years working for SAG/AFTRA, her plan was to set off with her husband in their new RV “and travel where we can drive,” she said at the time. So much for planning ahead.

Woods was persuaded to represent the newly formed talent division of L.A.-based TEAM as its Midwest senior advisor/film, TV and digital media.

“I’m their mobile office; I have an RV,” Wood says.

“Leading Ladies” comes home to Champaign

THE BALLROOM DANCE COMEDY, “Leading Ladies,” from co-directors Daniel and ErikaRandall Beahm shot last summer in and around Champaign/Urbana, has been racking up accolades on the festival circuit since it premiered in June at the Sonoma Film Festival.

Real-life dance champion Melanie LaPatin stars as an overbearing stage mother nursing her two daughters’ dance careers. With Benji Schwimmer, Laurel Vail, Shannon Lea Smith and Nicole Dionne.

Randall Beahm co-wrote the screenplay with Jennifer Bechtel, based on Randall Beahm’s experience as a dancer.

Utopic hybrid digital shop bows

The partners of Chicago’s first hybrid digital media company, Utopic, officially opening for business Jan. 4 in River West, are perched on the crest of the first major transformation of the visual media industry in a decade.

“There’s a fantastic growth opportunity for hybrid models on the vendor side that leverage assets across different media,” notes Michael Antonucci, VP/executive producer.

Why not Chicago?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Michael Mann’s 1930s crime movie “Public Enemies,” which spent $25 million filming in Chicago and the state last year, will have various premieres, advance and special showings everywhere else except Chicago before the movie’s national July 1 opening.

Its world premiere will be the centerpiece of the Los Angeles Film Festival June 18-28.

In Wisconsin, which is already benefiting from tourism to movie locations, has at least two pre-release events planned so far.

Towers seeks real housewives for new series

REAL HOUSEWIVES OF CHICAGO are being sought for a Towers Productions reality series. According to Towers’ casting director Becky Cattie, the hope is to find women who could give this formula “a new twist,” showcasing a “really unique group of ladies to represent the Midwest.”

Towers is seeking “a dynamic group of ladies leading extraordinary lives ? modern housewives who juggle busy lives and look great doing it! No wallflowers please.”

Someone suggested Patti Blagojevich should audition.

Filmmaker Boris Wexler makes “Pillow Talks”

After producing five short films, Boris Wexler of Escape Films’ latest entry is “Pillow Talks,” a comedic 13-week webisode series seen on

Wexler produced and directed the 3-minute episodes, each of which revolves around the intimate bedroom adventures of an offbeat group of characters and their most private conversations in bed.

The actors ensemble is comprised of Marty Shannon, Kate Henley, Whit Spurgeon, Howie Johnson, Usman Ally, Ray Shoemaker, Susan Adler, Charlie Harris, Mary-Ann dela Cruz and Carlo Garcia.

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.

Compete to be “America’s Next Producer”

IF YOU’RE A PRODUCER with what you feel is a dynamite reality show idea, “America’s Next Producer,” wants to meet you Feb. 24, from noon till 4 p.m. at the Ambassador East Hotel.

Magical Elves, executive producers of “Project Runway” and “Top Chef,” is seeking contestants to showcase their talent on the new series for the TV Guide Channel.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes – 04/09/04

TRADEMARK CONFLICT NOT FUNNY. Second City Television (SCTV) took umbrage over the SCTV acronym of the new Stand-Up Comedy Television cable channel and told the upstart channel to cease and desist. Second City’s Andrew Alexander claimed the trademark unequivocally belonged to Second City and the use of “SCTV” the TV show. Since Second City’s SCTV trademark lapsed in 1989, Stand-Up Comedy TV properly registered SCTV March 11, 2004 with the Patent & Trademark Office and as such, counterclaimed Joseph Fox the trademark belongs to them.

Walgreen’s newsmagazine: a complex, network-scale, expertly made series

Walgreen’s opening graphic was art directed by Swell’s Nadia Hennrich.