Asbury Shorts bridges ad, indie worlds with with 25th anniversary Chicago showcase April 7

A New York institution that has long brought together the advertising and indie worlds will make its Chicago debut Aprill 7 when Chicago spot producer Elise Kleinman puts on the 25th Anniversary “Best of Asbury Shorts” at the Vic Theatre.

Since 1980, New York commercial producer Doug LeClaire has culled award-winning short films from festivals across the globe for his annual showcase. LeClaire first brought Asbury Shorts outside New York with a 1996 show at Royal Festival Hall in London.

“A lot of the directors in Asbury Shorts are up-and-comers who do commercials,” Kleinman said.

“It’s an opportunity for the directors to show ad execs what they’re capable of. We hope some people will get commercial work out of it, but it’s our job to entertain everybody.”

Jason Reitman’s “Consent” screens in Best of Asbury Shorts April 7.

The Best Of program is still being finalized, but is expected to include favorites from the past 25 years, with an emphasis on recent offerings such as Jason Reitman’s Sundance finalists “Consent” and “Gulp,” Dirk Belian’s Belgian Oscar nominee “Fait d’Hiver,” and the Mary Louise Parker starrer “The Quality of Mercy,” a finalist in the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival.

Kleinman is funding Asbury Chicago through sponsorships. She’s still looking for a primary sponsor, as well as a host. Prospective hosts she mentioned include Harold Ramis, Richard Roeper, John Cusack, David Schwimmer or Jeremy Piven.

“This year we’re riding on the coattails of New York, but we want to make it our own,” Kleinman said. “Eventually I’d like to be involved in taking it on the road to other cities and college campuses.”

A Cleveland native and Indiana University graduate, Kleinman was a producer for Grey Advertising and their children’s boutique division G Whiz in New York. Since moving to Chicago in 2003, she has freelanced for J. Walter Thompson, for clients including Blockbuster, Kraft and Nestl?.

She’s running Asbury Chicago with associate producer Josh Taustein and intern Mike Weinberg.

Best of Asbury Shorts is Thursday, April 7 at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield. Doors open at 7 p.m., showtime 7:30. The program is two hours including intermission. $12.

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