New York-headquartered camera sales and service provider giant AbelCine will settle in at Cinespace in mid-summer, offering a unique Learning Point for on-going educational workshops and seminars, an interactive sales showroom space for hands-on equipment evaluation, and a welcoming center for community activities.
The new facility, extending throughout the entire 8,000-sq. ft. fourth floor of Cinespace’s Service Building at 2601 W. 16th St., “is in keeping with our commitment to technology, education and community building,” says company CEO Pete Abel.
AbelCine’s Learning Point, the facility’s core, will offer an on-going program of instructional classes and demonstrations “and some new educational programs that are specific to the Chicago market,” says Abel, in a spacious 90-seat classroom theatre.
The interactive showroom will feature the most relevant production related equipment from all major manufacturers including Sony, Arri, Canon, RED, Panasonic, Zeiss, Angenieux and Fujinon.
AbelCine has operated a regional sales office in Oakbrook Terrace since 2007. The company had been looking for appropriate space for expanded operations in the city for a long time. When it learned about the tremendous amount of production at Cinespace, Abel says, “We felt it was the right place at the right time.”
Remodeling of the new space began in early winter and it is expected to be completed for a July or August move-in. Unlike AbelCine’s New York and Los Angeles operations, Chicago will not rent or service equipment, but concentrate specifically on sales and training.
The sales department will be the province of Kari Hess, head of Chicago Production Sales, who opened AbelCine’s Chicago area sales office in 2007, after AbelCine acquired the sales division of Fletcher Cameras.
More than 50 major camera, lens, lighting and accessory manufacturers will be represented “by their most in-demand products – we’ll have it all covered for our customers,” says Hess. She and five staffers will relocate to the new space. “We expect to add new support staff as we move along,” she says.
Heading up the Learning Point, AbelCine’s educational arm, will be Camera Technology Specialist Megan Donnelly, who will lead classes and provide one-on-one training and consultations.
She is a working director of photography, with a formidable background in all visual media genres. She had been Fletcher Cameras’ director of digital media for the past five years and has led many camera-specific and tech workshops.
The Learning Point’s spacious training space “will also be utilized as a welcoming community place for local industry people, schools and associations to gather or hold functions,” Abel says.
“We are very open-minded about the space being used in the way that best meets the market’s needs.
He adds, “It’s a great way for industry folks of all levels to see what’s emerging, learn from specialists, and most importantly, learn from each other.”
Having long established and respected AbelCine on-site will be “a great local resource for the development of technical skills and industry training,” remarks Cinespace president Alex Pissios.
“It ties in with our goals of driving production and creating and filling jobs with local workers.”