Over the past week it’s safe to say that the Illinois film community is doing their best to ensure that their employees are safe during this unfortunate time. In light of worldwide health concerns about the impact from the COVID-19 virus, many have postponed production until further notice.
Starting Monday, Cinespace will close the secondary gates, leaving the main gate open on a limited schedule 6am-6pm Monday-Friday. TV and feature film production is at a stand still. Ordinary Joe and TV series Fargo, Empire, Chicago Med, Fire & PD, have all suspended production for the time being.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as many production houses and vendors will remain open to serve the Chicago film community.
On the Cinespace lot:
Periscope Post & Audio, COO, Michael Nehs assures the Chicago community that business will run as usual:
“Periscope Post & Audio will remain open to service our independent and advertising clients that are still working and have deadlines to meet. It is our pleasure to work in association with the great people at Cinespace to make sure all steps are taken to protect our clients, employees, and guests. We ask clients and employees who are not feeling well to stay home and put their health and well being before anything else.”
Keslow Camera will also remain open according to Chicago General Manager, Colette Gabriel:
“Yes, we are staying open. Many productions are wrapping early so we will be busy receiving their camera gear. Other productions are going on a two week hiatus and then reassessing at that point.”
Filmgear: We are open and plan to stay open. We have had a lot of cancellations but will take it day to day.
AbelCine, General Manager, Sales, Johnny Heatley, “Yes all offices are open but Chicago classes are cancelled for now.” :
“We are able to take orders and the warehouses have the ability to ship out and our website is still active as well. We also offer our online classes so people have those options. I also want to add that AbelCine NY and LA our rental departments and our service departments are still operating. So if people have downtime and want to send their lenses or cameras in for service than this might be a good time to do that.”
Also mentioned in an AbelCine email statement:
AbelCine offers practical online courses on a variety of camera and production topics. They offer custom training sessions by video conference and now offer new live streamed workshops. Check here for all virtual offerings. Their NY & LA service centers are open for you to send in your gear for maintenance, and they also offer online equipment sales.
321 Fast Draw, President, Diane De Re, “We are open but most of our office is working remotely today. But I’m here! It will be a very skeletal staff in the office but for the most part we are working remotely. And this is voluntary. Everyone took computers home and I told everyone only to come in if you need to. So at this point if someone does come in, it’s probably to get away from their wife or husband. Just joking!!”
Second City Sound , “We are here and operating hands on with a few people working remotely. We have three employees here today and we’re taking it day by day.
Cinelease Is open and business as usual.
BAM Studios, Executive Producer, Angela Peters, “Yes we are currently open in our downtown location right now.”
Our Cinespace offices are closed for now. Some of us are working remotely if they don’t have to be in the office, but as of right now we have been able to have a team there each day.
Simon Casting, Owner / Casting Director, Claire Simon says we are open for business;”
We re here to assist with any Casting needs. We are working from home at the moment and our sessions are virtual to ensure the health of our clients and our actors.
Elsewhere, continuing operations:
The Team Companies, VP of Marketing & Corp Communications, Mark Egmon describes the current situation as they keep their doors open:
“We are in the process of establishing business continuity protocols, like making sure that everyone is equipped with technology to work from home if need be. However, so far we are not shutting our offices across north America. While we are seeing commercial production impacted, the most noticeable change among our client base is in the concert tour and live event space. Now, with heightened concern in the U.S. and the temporary shutting of large venues, tours and music festivals are definitely feeling the impact.”
Bottle Rocket Media, Principal Producer Director, Dan Fisher says their staff will be at work remotely starting Monday:
“It is absolutely business as usual. Bottle Rocket Media was built on a remote foundation. When we started, everyone worked remotely, so it really was as simple as flipping a switch and moving a few computers. Additionally, if necessary our editorial suites can be open.”
ELEVEN04 has this statement on their website:
Eleven04 will remain fully operational and open for business, and we will still maintain our high-quality service standards across all the services we provide.
Resolution Studios Studio Manager/ Producer, Gene Townsend says they are open:
“We are still rocking and rolling with our four stages very safe and available. We are taking this virus thing day by day like everyone and hope it passes soon. To all the Chicagoland production community be well, stay safe!”
ProGear, “the main man” Peter Biasotti, says they are open:
At this time we are planning to keep ProGear open during normal business hours 8-6 M-F and evaluate our situation both from a business and health perspective. We have obviously stepped up our efforts to keep all of our gear clean and in 100% working order. We do not really have an option to work from home as we have to be here to provide our services. We foresee a VERY slow time period through April so we may adjust our schedule and daily staffing. We have a small and very dedicated staff here and plan to keep everyone on the payroll going forward.”
Light Modifiers Rental, Shop Manager, Geoff Mayer says “open as usual”:
“We are open as usual during this time. We are, as always, appointment only and do not have a storefront for walk-in customers. This allows us to continue working even during slow periods like the current industry hiatus.”
11 Dollar Bill, Executive Producer, Del Feltz “Yes, Chicago, Boulder and LA offices are open” :
“All three offices are working remotely. It was pretty seamless. Everyone walked with a hard drive. We’ve been able to remote into all the stations and keep pace with everything. We call them the 11 Dollar Bill Satellite offices. Everything is working well and in fact have two phone meetings with clients this afternoon.”
French Butter Executive Producer, Ivo Knezevic, yes, we are open for Business” :
We are technically open for business, in a sense, but trying to be respectful of what clients want to do. It’s not really our call to make. It depends on the clients, but we’re here.
Johnsonese, Owner and Founder, Chris Johnson “Yes we are up and running” :
“Everyone is working from home but we are very lucky that everything we do is in the cloud so it doesn’t really impact us at all to work remotely. At least this is happening now and not 1990 when we wouldn’t have the technology to deal with it.”
Mix Kitchen, Executive Producer, Sam Fishkin says “Yes we are open.”
Barbizon, Director of Marketing, Tobin Neis says, “We are open for business in all locations” :
There is a great post on our NY Facebook page… they are having people come in as far as the vestibule and the counter staff are acting as ‘personal shoppers.’ A guy came in wearing a mask, to pick up a C Stand and as Danny went to hand it over, the guy had a pocket thermometer gun and shot Danny’s forehead to make sure he didn’t have temperature before he would take it from him.”
“For the most part, our offices are open but we are just not letting people go beyond the showroom. There is info on our website for each office.”
From the Barbizon webpage:
Each Barbizon Lighting office is following a different protocol based on location and recommended precautions from local public health authorities. For office and event-specific updates, please see the city below. If you still have questions about office hours or availability, please contact that particular office.
Here is the information for the Barbizon Chicago location:
- Showroom open
- Non-employee visitors are currently prohibited from entering employee work areas other than showrooms or customer counter areas
- Guests are not permitted to travel to the employee areas of the building
Rounding out our list, the AICP members below are open for business:
As reported earlier by Reel Chicago
Avalon Films — Detroit
Bark Productions — KC
Cap Gun Collection
Little Saint Marie — Detroit
MK Films Group
One at Optimus
Medium Film — Detroit
We the People — Detroit
Chicago Athletic Hotel
Cathi Connor Inc
PS Extreme Reach
Free Hand Hotels
Jen Giles Reps
Gray Hotel Chicago
Monaghan Talent Rangers
Renee and Melissa
The Team Companies
Updates will follow. If you would like to add your information to this list, please contact our editor, Barbara Roche, Barb@ReelChicago.com.
Brian Soszynski is a contributing writer for Reel Chicago who will be covering Chicago Production Central every Monday.