“Transformers 4” makes deal to film in China

PART OF “TRANSFORMERS 4” will shoot partly in CHINA, in a deal struck between Paramount and two Chinese media giants! As part of the deal, the Michael Bay-directed epic will include Chinese actors and some of the post work will be done there as well. 

The deal was signed with China Movie Channel, which is operated by the country’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television and Jialfix Enterprises, headed by Sid Ganis, former studio head and president of the Oscars.

“Transformers 4” is expected to shoot in Chicago and Detroit June through October, although actual, official dates have not been reported for either location. 

WHO’S NEW. As part of its plans to increase staff and Chicago presence, Photo-real 3D Rethink Studios hired Sean Graves as director of marketing.  Graves joins the West Loop company from an 18-month stint as ARU’s social media marketing manager and has a background in post and short film production.

A native San Franciscan and graduate of Foothill College in the Bay Area, he also is a musician playing in local bands.  He comes from a musical family and says, “music is a passion I like to follow.”

Havas Worldwide has made a whopping total of 30 new hires since the beginning of the year to serve new business. The latest creative staffers are senior copywriter Jason Mann, formerly with Y&R and freelance;  senior production artists Joe Vanerio and Scott Suchta, also former freelancers. 

REP VALERIE GOBOS  was invited by the Counsulate General of Greece to host all five hours of Chicago’s “Neighborhoods of the World, A Greek Journey in the Windy City” Sunday at Navy Pier.  The afternoon of dance performances, music, wine tasting, Greek food and art exhibits run from noon until 5 p.m.

IN HIS FIRST COMMERCIAL, Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba is the lead in Burrell’s Only the Name Remains,” a dramatic, spy-themed campaign for the 2013 Toyota Avalon that bowed nationally April 1.

In the three spots, Elba’s secret agent character on the run from an old enemy, takes his Avalon on a citywide adventure, ending with a cliffhanger.  Director was award-winning Antony Hoffman, of Believe Media Film Production known especially for his automotive work.  Burrell has been the African American agency for Toyota since 2001.

COMPOSER/PRODUCER JEFF BOYLE of Catfish Music demonstrates all of his music chops for the score of a fast-moving spot for the University of Texas from Lipman Hearn agency.  He arranged his pop-alternative song, “Turn it Up,” and played most of the instruments, bringing in Bill Ruppert on electric guitar, sang the lyrics, mixed and recorded it. Copywriter was Craig Schwartz.

FOR FILM FUNDING LOW DOWN, Sunday’s Chicago Screenwriters Network meeting is the place to be.  Entertainment lawyer Hal “Corky” Kessler will provide insight and answer questions on how to finance your film, how to protect your ideas, investors and production, how tax laws benefit film productions and so much more of value to writers, filmmakers, producers and actors.

CSN VP Linda Frothingham will handle the interview.  At the Fifty/50!, 2047 W. Division, starting at 6 p.m. $15 at the door.

NAB BOUND: Zacuto sales and rentals  teamed with Kessler Crane to present more than 15 new camera accessory products at NAB, April 6-11 in Las Vegas. This year’s booth added a presentation stage where Zacuto partners/ product designers Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegan will demonstrate their new wares, ranging from little widgets to full-on rigs that they’ve been working on all year. 

Phil Contursi of Product Productions will work out of the booth of AAdyn Tech, the people that make the LED lights that Product Productions rent and represent.  He can bound at booth C7349 in the Main Exhibit Hall. 

NAB factoid:  About 30% percent of its 90,000-plus attendees come from outside the U.S., representing some 150 countries.

THE TV ACADEMY’S CAREER DAY takes place this Saturday at Ferguson Auditorium at Columbia College with leaders in their field talking all about jobs, what’s need to get them, how to find them and keep them. 

Panelists include  Kris Gutierrez, co-anchor of CBS 2 morning news; scenic designer Mary Margaret Bartley, M&M Productions; assistant art director Jeff Hinkle, WCIU; AD/director Kristina Ballas, WGN; general assignment photographer/editor Mike Locashio, WLS; interactive news producer Elyse Russo, WGN; producer Morning News, Rob Taylor, WLS and coordinating producer Bill Friedman, Big Ten Network.

Got news?  Share it with the Reel’s readers all over the place.  Send all to ruth@reelchicago.com.